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JS v. Macnhester Community Schools Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

December 23, 2019

JS et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
MACNHESTER COMMUNITY SCHOOLS CORPORATION et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Damon R. Leichty Judge, United States District Court

         Mr. Robert Sklar filed a pro se complaint on behalf of himself and J.S., his minor child, against the Manchester Community Schools (MCS), the Town of North Manchester, and the North Manchester Police Department. MCS filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), which the other defendants partly joined. ECF 9, 14. The defendants have argued several reasons why the complaint must be dismissed, including Mr. Sklar's unauthorized pro se representation of his minor child; failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; and the lack of jurisdiction because there is no actual controversy. Although Mr. Sklar filed his briefing late, even after being afforded forgiving extensions by the court, the court addresses his complaint on its merits given federal preference for this outcome. That said, the court now grants the motion to dismiss.

         BACKGROUND

         These facts assume the truth of the allegations within the complaint, as the court must given the procedural posture of this motion. On or about April 22, 2019, Robert Sklar (J.S.'s father) was contacted by North Manchester Police Department (NMPD) officers. ECF 1 at 4. Officer Houser, accompanied by an unnamed officer, wanted to speak with J.S. about an incident that had occurred at a local park. Id. JS was interviewed at the police station that afternoon. Id.

         Plaintiffs allege that later that evening the same officers entered the Sklar home without a warrant or permission. Id. The officers informed Mr. Sklar that a “No Trespass Order” had been issued as to J.S.. Id. The order banned J.S. from MCS property. Id. Mr. Sklar refused the sign the order and was denied a copy. Id.

         That same day, Mr. Sklar contacted the high school principal, Dr. Lippe, about the order. Id. Dr. Lippe responded that he did not approve the order. Id. Mr. Sklar also contacted Chief Kirk of NMPD regarding the order and the issuing officers entering his home without authorization. Id. Chief Kirk informed Mr. Sklar that the order had been requested by the School Resource Officer. Id. at 5. On May 30, 2019, Mr. Sklar wrote to Russ Mikel, Superintendent of Manchester Community Schools, and asked Mr. Mikel for clarification and for an opportunity to appeal the order. Id. Superintendent Mikel informed Mr. Sklar that the order was issued by a police officer, not the school. Id.

         Chief Kirk and Superintendent Mikel both informed Mr. Sklar that the order would expire on June 1, 2019. Id. Because of the order, J.S. was prohibited from attending school functions typically open to the public including athletic events, school board meetings, and a high school graduation. Id.

         J.S. alleges he was denied any ability to appeal the order. Id. J.S. alleges that the order, and his inability to appeal it, violated his constitutional rights and caused him irreparable harm. Id. Mr. Sklar alleges that officers violated his constitutional rights when they entered his home without permission. Id. The plaintiffs request the trespass order be lifted, $10, 000 per day J.S. was banned from school property, and any other relief the court deems appropriate. Id. at 3.

         STANDARD

         In reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Reynolds v. CB Sports Bar, Inc., 623 F.3d 1143, 1146 (7th Cir. 2010). A complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The statement must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face and raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A plaintiff's claim must be plausible, not probable. Indep. Trust Corp. v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 665 F.3d 930, 935 (7th Cir. 2012). Evaluating whether a claim is sufficiently plausible to survive a motion to dismiss is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).

         When evaluating a facial challenge to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1), a court must use the same “plausibility” standard; therefore, the court must accept alleged factual matters as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Silha v. ACT, Inc., 807 F.3d 169, 174 (7th Cir. 2015). The plaintiffs bear the burden of establishing the jurisdictional requirements. Ctr. for Dermatology and Skin Cancer, Ltd. v. Burwell, 770 F.3d 586, 588-89 (7th Cir. 2014).

         Of course, because the plaintiffs are proceeding pro se, the court must liberally construe the complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).

         DISCUSSION

         A. The Complaint ...


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