United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
CHARLES F. JONES, Plaintiff,
ANDERSON COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION, JOSEPH CRONK, Individually and in His Official Capacity as Director of Operations for the Anderson Community School Corporation, NANCY FARLEY, Individually and in Her Former Official Capacity as Director of Transportation for the Anderson Community School Corporation, MARY ANN HEINEMAN, Individually and in Her Official Capacity as Assistant Director of Transportation for the Anderson Community School Corporation, BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES OF THE ANDERSON COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION, Individually and in Their Official Capacities, Defendants.
EVANS BARKER, United States District Court Judge
Charles F. Jones (“Jones”) brought this
employment discrimination action under 42 U.S.C § 1983
against the Anderson Community School Corporation (“the
School”), its Board of Trustees (“the
Board”), and three of its employees (“the
Employees”), all in their individual and official
capacities (“Defendants”). Before the Court
is Defendants' motion to dismiss the official-capacity
claims for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons below, the motion
is granted in part and denied in part.
and Procedural History
its allegations taken as true, Jones's complaint reveals
the following. Jones is a teacher and school administrator
holding associate's, bachelor's, and master's
degrees in education and administration. Pl.'s Am. Compl.
¶¶ 26-27. Jones serves or has served as the
principal and transportation director for the Delaware
Christian Academy, and also works or has worked for the
public schools of Muncie, Indiana. Id. ¶ 27. He
is also a school-bus driver. Id. ¶ 13. Jones is
2005, Jones was hired by the School as an independent
contractor to drive school buses in Anderson, Indiana.
Id. ¶¶ 9, 13. For the 2006-2007 school
year, Jones applied to be a “Fleet Operator” for
the School, one of “four or five” contractors
“which operate multiple school busses.”
Id. ¶ 14. Jones's application was rejected
in favor of a white contractor's. Id. ¶ 15.
year from then on until before or during the 2015-2016 school
year, when Jones left the School, Jones applied to be a fleet
operator. Id. ¶¶ 14, 30. Every year his
application was denied, id. ¶ 15, despite
Jones's “perfect safety record” during his
ten- year tenure. Id. ¶ 19. Every new
fleet-operator contract was awarded to white or white-owned
contractors, the majority of which were formed after Jones
began driving for the School. Id. ¶¶ 15,
16. One such contractor, at the time its fleet-operator
contract was awarded, had “recently been cited for
safety violations by the Indiana State Police.”
Id. ¶ 19. “When Jones inquired about this
[hiring pattern], he was told that ‘seniority and
performance are not factors in awarding
contracts.'” Id. ¶ 17. When Jones
asked what factors were used in awarding contracts, he
received no answer. Id.
2011, Jones was assigned a new bus route. Id. ¶
18. His old route served primarily white students; his new
route served primarily black students. Id. When
Jones inquired about the reason for his reassignment, he was
told it was because he could “handle those kids
better.” Id. Jones's old route was
reassigned to a white bus driver. Id. Jones believed
this reassignment was retaliatory for his “repeated
complain[ts]” to the Board about being subjected to
race and sex discrimination. Id. ¶¶ 31,
2014, the School had an opening for a new Transportation
Supervisor. Id. ¶ 22. The School published the
opening in early 2015, but not on its own website.
Id. ¶¶ 22, 23. Jones heard of the opening
through his work at another school and applied. Id.
¶ 22. In April 2015, Jones was scheduled to interview
for the position, but the interview was canceled the night
before for “budgetary reasons.” Id.
¶ 24. The Transportation Supervisor position apparently
was never filled and was later abolished. See Id.
¶¶ 24, 25.
in May 2015, the School created a new position, Assistant
Director of Transportation, for which the School hired Mary
Ann Heineman (“Heineman”). Id. ¶
25. Heineman is a white woman with “no college degree,
no teaching or other education credentials, and no prior
transportation management experience.” Id. The
opening for the position of Assistant Director of
Transportation “was never posted in [the School]
addition to Jones's applications for a fleet-operator
contract and for the Transportation Supervisor position
during the 2014-2015 school year, Jones applied for a
position as the School's Human Resources Director.
Id. ¶ 28. That application was rejected as
well, making three rejections for him during that school
the 2015-2016 school year began, “Jones learned that
Heineman had changed Jones's individual [driver] contract
in such a way that he would be paid $1, 000 per month less
than he had been paid the year before.” Id.
¶ 30 (emphasis omitted). Again Jones believed this
reduction in pay to have been retaliatory for his complaints
to the Board. Id. ¶ 59. In any event, Jones
found the new pay rate intolerable and “was
compelled” to give up his driver's contract.
Id. ¶ 30.
Jones left the School, he was the last nonwhite contractor
there. Id. After awarding Jones his first
driver's contract in 2005, the School never thereafter
awarded a driver's contract to a nonwhite contractor.
Id. ¶¶ 15, 21. Jones believes that no
fleet-operator contract has been awarded to a nonwhite
contractor since 1989. Id. ¶ 21. Though the
School district is 40 percent nonwhite, its “Central
Administration” is entirely white, as are all but one
principal in the district. Id. ¶ 32.
brought the instant action in this Court on August 11, 2016.
Dkt. 1. After Defendants answered and moved for partial
judgment on the pleadings, Dkt. 8, 12, Jones filed an amended
complaint on November 28, 2016. Dkt 14. The amended complaint
pleads for relief for unlawful discrimination on the bases of
race and sex under the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment, Pl.'s Am. Compl. ¶ 2, and for
unlawful retaliation, ¶¶ 58-59, a claim we construe
as arising under the First Amendment.
seeks to hold Defendants liable as follows: Count One, for
race and sex discrimination in the awarding of fleet-operator
contracts from the 2006-2007 school year through the
2014-2015 school year; Count Two, for race and sex
discrimination in rejecting Jones's 2015 application for
the Transportation Supervisor position and hiring Heineman
for its successor position; Count Three, for race
discrimination in the 2011 route reassignment; and Count
Four, for retaliation in the 2011 route reassignment and in
the 2015 pay reduction. Count Five pleads the School's
municipal liability for Counts One through Four.
moved to dismiss the official-capacity claims on January 3,
2017. Dkt. 23. Jones failed to respond to that motion, and it
is therefore considered unopposed.
pleading that states a claim to relief must contain . . . a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a); Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720,
728 (7th Cir. 2014). A motion to dismiss for failure to state
a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
“test[s] the legal sufficiency of a complaint.”
Triad Assocs., Inc. v. Chi. Hous. Auth., 892 F.2d
583, 586 (7th Cir. 1989), abrogated on other grounds by
Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs v. Umbehr, 518 U.S. 668 (1996).
To survive dismissal,
a complaint must “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, (2009).
Factual allegations are accepted as true at the pleading
stage, but “allegations in the form of legal
conclusions are insufficient to survive a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion.” McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch & Co.,
Inc., 694 F.3d 873, 885 (7th Cir.2012) (citing
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). . . . “Where a
complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent
with' a defendant's liability, it ‘stops short
of the line between possibility and plausibility of
entitlement to relief.'” [Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678] (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557) . . . .
Adams, 742 F.3d at 728.
as here, the deadline for amending a complaint as of right
has passed, Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(B), further amendment
requires leave of court or the defendants' consent.
Id. at (a)(2). “Although leave to file a
second amended complaint should be granted liberally, a
district court may deny leave for several reasons including .
. . futility of amendment.” Dubicz v. Commonwealth
Edison Co., 377 F.3d 787, 792 (7th Cir. 2004)