Ryan et al v. Mesa Unified School District et al

Filing 21

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 12 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. All Counts against the School District are DISMISSED; Count IV is DISMISSED as to Goodman as well as the School District; and Sidney Ryan's claims for declaratory relief in Counts I and III are DISMISSED. In all other respects defendants' motion is DENIED. The claims which remain for resolution are plaintiffs' remaining claims against Goodman in Counts I and III. Signed by Judge John W Sedwick on 12/5/14.(JWS)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 10 11 Sidney Ryan, et al., 12 13 14 15 16 Plaintiffs, vs. Mesa Unified School District and Joseph Goodman, in his individual capacity, Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 2:14-cv-01145 JWS ORDER AND OPINION [Re: Motion at Docket 12] 17 18 19 I. MOTION PRESENTED At docket 12, defendants Mesa Unified School District (“School District”) and 20 Joseph Goodman (“Goodman”) move pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21 12(b)(6) for an order dismissing plaintiffs’ amended complaint. Plaintiffs Sidney Ryan, 22 Jodi Ryan, and Jeffrey Hills respond at docket 14. Defendants filed a reply at docket 23 17. Oral argument was not requested and would not assist the court. 24 25 II. BACKGROUND Sidney Ryan, K.R., and B.H. are three former members of the 2014 Mountain 26 View High School varsity girls softball team. K.R. and B.H. are minors whose interests 27 are represented in this case by plaintiffs Jodi Ryan (K.R.’s mother) and Jeffrey Hills 28 (B.H.’s father), respectively. Mountain View is a public high school in Mesa, Arizona that is part of the Mesa Unified School District. Plaintiffs’ complaint alleges four causes 1 of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Count I alleg es a violation of the First 2 Amendment’s Establishment Clause against Goodman.1 Count II alleges a violation of 3 the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief 4 against the School District. Count III alleges a violation of the First Amendment’s Free 5 Speech Clause against Goodman and the School District. Count IV alleges a violation 6 of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments’ Due Process Clauses against Goodman and 7 the School District. 8 A. 9 Establishment Clause allegations i. Team prayer allegations (Count I) C 10 Defendants allow and promote prayer at Mountain View varsity girls 11 softball games. During the 2013-14 girls softball season, certain 12 players were appointed “prayer leaders” who led a team prayer at 13 the beginning of every game. C 14 Team captain Sidney Ryan announced that these team prayers 15 would cease. K.R. and B.H. supported this decision. All three 16 players were dismissed from the team. One of the reasons why 17 they were dismissed from the team was that the School District 18 found that they did not respect the religious views of others. C 19 20 ii. Released time allegations (Count II) C 21 Plaintiffs were effectively penalized for not conducting team prayer. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) 22 operates a seminary across the street from Mountain View. The 23 School District allows Mountain View students who are LDS Church 24 members to participate in a released time program whereby they 25 26 27 28 1 The Complaint is somewhat ambiguous as to which of the defendants is the subject of Count I. A reading of Count I itself discloses that it is directed solely at Goodman, but in the prayer for relief plaintiffs refer to Count I as well as Counts II and III as supporting their request for a declaratory judgment against both defendants. -2- 1 are released from school to the LDS Church seminary five days per 2 week for six periods of the day and then readmitted to the school. C 3 Mountain View is a “locked campus,” meaning that the school 4 gates are locked to all students during the school day except for 5 seniors during lunch period. C 6 When LDS Church seminary students are locked outside the 7 school gate, school personnel must open the gate to let them back 8 in. C 9 10 School District allows them to open the gate for seminary students. C 11 12 13 LDS Church personnel also have a key to the school gate, and the The School District does not adequately track the seminary students who leave or reenter campus. B. Free speech allegations (Count III) C 14 During a 2014 softball tournament “hip-hop and other popular 15 music . . . was played and used as expressive speech.”2 C.R., the 16 daughter of LDS Church member Terry Richardson, found this 17 music offensive to her “religious sensitivities.”3 C 18 During the same tournament, Terry Richardson read expressive 19 speech made by B.H. on Twitter.4 Certain LDS members reported 20 B.H.’s tweets to team coach Joseph Goodman. C 21 One of the reasons why plaintiffs were dismissed from the team 22 was because the School District found that they used improper 23 speech during off-campus events. 24 25 26 27 28 2 Doc. 8 at 7 ¶ 28. 3 Id. at ¶ 29. 4 See PeopleBrowsr, Inc. v. Twitter, Inc., No. C-12-6120 EMC, 2013 WL 843032, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 6, 2013) (“Twitter is an online communications platform that lets users share information through ‘tweets’ of 140 characters or less.”). -3- C 1 2 3 Plaintiffs were effectively penalized for protected expressive speech. C. Due process allegations (Count IV) C 4 The School District “has rules and procedures that are supposed to 5 be utilized in the event that a student is to be removed from” the 6 softball team based on charges that the student used improper 7 speech that could be deemed “bullying.”5 The School District did 8 not comply with these rules when plaintiffs were removed from the 9 softball team. 10 11 III. STANDARD OF REVIEW Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a plaintiff’s claims. In reviewing such 12 a motion, “[a]ll allegations of material fact in the complaint are taken as true and 13 construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.”6 To be assumed true, 14 the allegations “may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must 15 contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the 16 opposing party to defend itself effectively.”7 Dismissal for failure to state a claim can be 17 based on either “the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts 18 alleged under a cognizable legal theory.”8 “Conclusory allegations of law . . . are 19 insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss.”9 20 21 22 23 5 24 25 Doc. 8 at 16 ¶ 82. 6 Vignolo v. Miller, 120 F.3d 1075, 1077 (9th Cir. 1997). 26 7 27 8 28 9 Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 679 (9th Cir. 2001). -4- 1 To avoid dismissal, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to “‘state a claim to relief 2 that is plausible on its face.’”10 “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads 3 factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the 4 defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”11 “The plausibility standard is not akin 5 to a ‘probability requirement,’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a 6 defendant has acted unlawfully.”12 “Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely 7 consistent with’ a defendant’s liability, it ‘stops short of the line between possibility and 8 plausibility of entitlement to relief.’”13 “In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to 9 dismiss, the non-conclusory ‘factual content,’ and reasonable inferences from that 10 content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.”14 11 12 13 IV. DISCUSSION A. Plaintiffs’ Standing Defendants argue that all three plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the School 14 District’s released time policy and that Sidney Ryan lacks standing to obtain declaratory 15 or injunctive relief because she no longer attends school in the District. “The 16 oft-repeated ‘irreducible constitutional minimum of standing’ contains” the following 17 three elements: (1) “the plaintiff must have suffered an ‘injury in fact,’ which is both 18 concrete and particularized, as well as actual or imminent;” (2) “there must be a causal 19 20 21 22 10 23 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). 24 11 25 12 26 27 28 Id. Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). 13 Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). 14 Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009); see also Starr, 652 F.3d at 1216. -5- 1 connection between the injury and the conduct complained of;” and (3) “it must be likely 2 that a favorable decision would redress the injury identified.”15 3 Relying on Moss v. Spartanburg County School District Seven,16 defendants 4 argue that plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the District’s released time policy 5 because they fail to allege that the policy caused them to suffer an actual, particularized 6 injury.17 The plaintiffs in Moss were parents of students at a public high school that 7 allowed students to receive academic credits for off-campus religious instruction offered 8 by private educators. 18 Like the plaintiffs in this case, the Moss plaintiffs alleged that 9 the program impermissibly endorsed religion and entangled church and State, in 10 violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.19 In analyzing their standing 11 to sue, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals observed that courts must be cognizant of 12 the unique injuries that Establishment Clause plaintiffs typically suffer, which are often 13 “spiritual” and “value-laden” instead of tangible and economic.20 Yet, the court 14 cautioned against “efforts to use this principle to derive standing from the bare fact of 15 disagreement with a government policy” where the plaintiffs do not allege that the policy 16 affected them directly in some way.21 17 18 19 20 15 Sturgeon v. Masica, 768 F.3d 1066, 1071 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992)). 16 683 F.3d 599 (4th Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 623 (2012). 21 17 22 18 23 19 24 20 25 26 27 28 Doc. 12 at 6. 683 F.3d at 601. Id. Id. at 605 (quoting Suhre v. Haywood Cnty., 131 F.3d 1083, 1086 (4th Cir.1997); ACLU v. Rabun Cnty. Chamber of Commerce, Inc., 698 F.2d 1098, 1102 (11th Cir.1983)). See also Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights v. City & Cnty. of San Francisco, 624 F.3d 1043, 1049 (9th Cir. 2010) (en banc). 21 Moss, 683 F.3d at 605. See also Catholic League, 624 F.3d at 1052 (holding that mere disagreement with the government is insufficient injury, but exclusion or denigration on religious basis is sufficient). -6- 1 On one hand, the Fourth Circuit held that plaintif f Tillett lacked standing because 2 she did not allege that either she or her child had personal exposure to the release time 3 program, that the program caused them any adverse repercussions, or that the 4 program caused them to alter their conduct in any way. Thus, Tillett’s allegations 5 amounted to “little more than simple disagreement with the wisdom of the School 6 District’s policy.”22 On the other hand, the court held that the Mosses had standing . 7 Like Tillett’s child, Melissa Moss never attended the release time program nor was she 8 harassed for refusing to enroll. But the court held that she alleged sufficient spiritual 9 injury for three reasons. First, her father had discussed the program with her and both 10 “came to the view that it was part of a broader pattern of Christian favoritism” on the 11 part of the school and school district. 23 Second, the Mosses were not Christians, and 12 therefore the defendants’ alleged Christian favoritism made them feel like “outsiders” in 13 their community. And third, the Mosses testified that the program affected their 14 conduct. Melissa’s father volunteered less frequently at the school, and Melissa went to 15 college outside of the state because of their perceived outsider status. 24 16 Plaintiffs fail to address defendants’ argument that they lack standing to 17 challenge the released time policy.25 Indeed, they lack standing because they fail to 18 allege that the released time policy affected them directly in any way. None of the 19 plaintiffs allege personal exposure to the release time program, that the program 20 caused them any adverse personal repercussions, or that it caused them to alter their 21 conduct. Count II of plaintiffs’ complaint will be dismissed.26 22 23 22 24 23 25 24 26 27 28 Moss, 683 F.3d at 606. Id. at 607. Id. 25 Doc. 14 at 5-7. 26 In addition, plaintiff Sidney Ryan lacks standing to obtain declaratory and injunctive relief. “It is well settled that once a student graduates, he no longer has a live case or -7- 1 2 B. Plaintiffs’ Section 1983 Claims Against the School District Defendants argue that Counts I, III, and IV of the complaint fail to the extent they 3 are directed at the School District because plaintiffs do not sufficiently allege that the 4 School District is liable for any alleged constitutional violations under Section 1983. 5 Section 1983 prohibits “every person” acting under color of law from violating the 6 constitutional or legal rights of others.27 In Monell v. Department of Social Services of 7 New York,28 the Supreme Court held that the word “person” in Section 1983 includes 8 municipalities and other governing bodies, such as school districts. A school district 9 may be held liable under Monell pursuant to any of the following three theories: “(1) that 10 a district employee was acting pursuant to an expressly adopted official policy; (2) that 11 a district employee was acting pursuant to a longstanding practice or custom; or (3) that 12 a district employee was acting as a ‘final policymaker.’”29• 13 Defendants argue that plaintiffs fail to allege that their constitutional rights were 14 violated by any specific School District policies, customs, or practices.30 With regard to 15 Count I, plaintiffs agree—they assert that Count I is only directed at Goodman 16 personally.31 17 18 Regarding Count III, plaintiffs conclude without explanation that “the facts as alleged if proven can support liability sue [sic] to those practices and usages.”32 Count 19 20 21 controversy justifying declaratory and injunctive relief against a school’s action or policy.” Cole v. Oroville Union High Sch. Dist., 228 F.3d 1092, 1098 (9th Cir. 2000). 27 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 22 28 23 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). 29 24 25 26 27 28 Lytle v. Carl, 382 F.3d 978, 982 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Webb v. Sloan, 330 F.3d 1158, 1164 (9th Cir. 2003)). 30 Doc. 12 at 10. 31 Doc. 14 at 14. This removes the ambiguity recognized above in note 1; Count I does not plead a claim against the School District. 32 Id. at 15. -8- 1 III alleges that defendants penalized plaintiffs by removing them from the softball team 2 because of protected speech. 33 Plaintiffs assert that this act subjects the District to 3 liability, but fail to specify any basis for this liability. In other words, plaintiffs neither 4 allege in their complaint nor argue in their opposition that a School District employee 5 removed plaintiffs from the team pursuant to an official District policy, or that a District 6 employee was acting pursuant to a longstanding practice or custom, or that a District 7 employee was acting as a final policymaker. Without one of these allegations, the 8 complaint merely pleads facts that are consistent with the District’s liability. Count III 9 will be dismissed as it relates to the School District. 10 Plaintiffs fail to address defendants’ argument with regard to Count IV, which 11 alleges that the School District “did not comply with its own rules to comply with the 12 Plaintiffs [sic] due process rights.”34 As with Count III, plaintiffs failure to specify any 13 basis for municipal liability dooms their claim. Count IV will be dismissed as it relates to 14 the School District. 15 C. 16 Claims Against Goodman–Qualified Immunity Goodman argues that he is entitled to qualified immunity regarding plaintiffs’ 17 claims against him (Counts I, III, and IV). 35 In determining whether a government 18 official is entitled to qualified immunity the court must consider “(1) whether, taking the 19 facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the government official’s 20 conduct violated a constitutional right, and (2) whether the right was clearly established 21 22 23 24 25 26 33 27 34 28 35 Doc. 8 at 15 ¶ 74. Id. at 16 ¶ 84. Doc. 12 at 10-13. -9- 1 at the time of the alleged misconduct.”36 “If the answer to either is ‘no,’ the official 2 cannot be held liable for damages.”37 3 1. Count I 4 Goodman argues that Count I fails both prongs of the qualified immunity test. 5 First, “private student prayer” is not unconstitutional; second, plaintiffs’ constitutional 6 rights were not clearly established at the time of Goodman’s alleged misconduct. 7 Goodman’s first argument mischaracterizes the complaint. The complaint alleges that 8 Goodman is liable for more than private student-led pre-game prayer; the complaint 9 alleges that Coach Goodman, a government official, appointed certain students as 10 “prayer leaders”38 and later issued a directive at the behest of LDS Church members 11 that penalized plaintiffs for not conducting a team prayer.39 Goodman’s argument does 12 not address the constitutionality of either of these alleged actions. 13 Turning to Goodman’s second argument, when determining whether a 14 defendant’s conduct violated clearly established federal law, courts look to whether the 15 state of the law at the time gave the defendant “fair warning” that his conduct was 16 unlawful.40 “Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make 17 reasonable but mistaken judgments,” and “protects ‘all but the plainly incompetent or 18 those who knowingly violate the law.’”41 In order for an official to be liable, the “contours 19 of the right must be sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that 20 21 36 C.F. ex. rel. Farnan v. Capistrano Unified School Dist., 654 F.3d 975, 986 (9th Cir. 22 2011). 23 37 24 38 25 39 26 27 28 Id. Doc. 8 at 6 ¶ 18. Id. at 9 ¶ 38. 40 Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 741 (2002). 41 Stanton v. Sims, 134 S. Ct. 3, 4–5 (2013) (quoting Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 131 S.Ct. 2074, 2085 (2011)). -10- 1 what he is doing violates that right.”42 This does not require a plaintiff to point to a 2 previous case holding that the exact same conduct was unlawful; it requires a showing 3 that in the light of pre-existing law the unlawfulness of the conduct was apparent. 43 4 Whether the state of the law was clearly established is a question of law to be 5 determined by the court in the absence of genuine issues of material fact.44 6 Plaintiffs argue that Goodman’s promotion of student-led prayer at a public 7 school sporting event was clearly unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s 8 decision in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe.45 Santa Fe involved a high 9 school’s practice of allowing a student to deliver a prayer over the public address 10 system before each varsity football game.46 The Supreme Court found that these 11 prayers were government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause 12 forbids, because the “degree of school involvement” made it clear that the prayers bore 13 the “‘imprint of the State.’”47 The court based this finding on the fact that the prayer was 14 delivered “as part of a regularly scheduled, school-sponsored function conducted on 15 school property,” over the school’s public address system that was subject to school 16 control, and in a setting that was “clothed in the traditional indicia of school sporting 17 events,” which included (among other things) school uniforms that bore the school’s 18 name, a field with the school’s name written on it, and a crowd adorned with school 19 colors.48 This was unconstitutional because it would cause an objective Santa Fe High 20 21 22 42 Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640 (1987). 43 23 Id. 44 24 25 Act Up!/Portland v. Bagley, 988 F.2d 868, 873 (9th Cir.1993). 45 530 U.S. 290 (2000). 26 46 27 47 28 48 Id. at 294. Id. at 305 (quoting Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, 590 (1992)). Id. at 307-08. -11- 1 School student to “unquestionably perceive the inevitable pregame prayer as stamped 2 with her school’s seal of approval.”49 3 Goodman argues that he is entitled to qualified immunity on Count I because 4 “[t]he law on student prayer is not established with sufficient clarity.”50 The prayer at 5 issue in this case, he argues, is “far from the prayer found unconstitutional” in Santa Fe 6 because this case does not involve a public broadcast, District endorsement, a captive 7 audience, or official oversight of the prayers.51 Further, he argues, Santa Fe did not 8 clearly establish that “voluntary, private, student-led team prayer before softball games” 9 is unconstitutional. 52 In sum, Goodman argues that he is entitled to qualified immunity 10 because the law regarding “the intersection of public schools and religion is far from 11 clearly established.”53 12 Goodman’s argument that government officials are entitled to blanket qualified 13 immunity in cases involving student prayer is untenable. Even if defining the contours 14 of the intersection between one student’s First Amendment right to free speech and 15 another student’s First Amendment Establishment Clause rights requires courts and 16 government officials to navigate a “legal labyrinth,”54 “[i]t is beyond dispute that, at a 17 minimum, the Constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to 18 support or participate in religion or its exercise . . . .”55 Thus, assuming the truth of 19 plaintiffs’ allegations and drawing all inferences in their favor, the court cannot conclude 20 21 22 49 Id. at 308. 50 23 Doc. 12 at 11. 51 24 25 Id. 52 Doc. 17 at 4. 26 53 27 54 28 55 Id. at 2. Nurre v. Whitehead, 580 F.3d 1087, 1090 (9th Cir. 2009). Lee, 505 U.S. at 587. -12- 1 that disciplining a student for not conducting a religious exercise was not clearly 2 unconstitutional. Goodman’s motion with respect to Count I will be denied.56 3 2. Count III 4 Count III alleges that plaintiffs were dismissed from the softball team in part 5 because of B.H.’s tweets, as well as certain music that was played at a softball 6 tournament, both of which LDS Church members found offensive. As with Count I, 7 Goodman argues that Count III fails both prongs of the qualified immunity test. First, he 8 argues that Count III fails to allege a constitutional violation because a school may 9 regulate offensive speech and playing music “to get in the zone” is not expressive 10 speech. And second, Goodman argues that he is entitled to qualified immunity 11 because he reasonably believed that plaintiffs’ conduct “posed a substantial disruption 12 and was not appropriate in the school setting” and reasonably believed that plaintiffs’ 13 music was not protected, expressive speech.57 14 Turning to Goodman’s first argument, Goodman cites no authority to support his 15 assertion that playing music to “get in the zone” is unprotected by the First Amendment 16 because it is not intended to convey a message. This argument lacks merit. Music is 17 protected by the First Amendment regardless of whether it contains an overt 18 message—even instrumental music is protected.58 Thus, the symbolic speech case 19 20 21 22 56 See Groten v. California, 251 F.3d 844, 851 (9th Cir. 2001) (“[A] Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is not appropriate unless we can determine, based on the complaint itself, that qualified immunity applies.”). 57 Doc. 12 at 12. 23 58 24 25 26 27 28 See Cinevision Corp. v. City of Burbank, 745 F.2d 560, 567 (9th Cir. 1984) (“[I]f the [City Council] passed an ordinance forbidding the playing of rock and roll music . . ., they would be infringing a First Amendment right . . . even if the music had no political message—even if it had no words—and the defendants would have to produce a strong justification for thus repressing a form of ‘speech.’”) (quoting Reed v. Village of Shorewood, 704 F.2d 943, 950 (7th Cir.1983)); id. at 569 (“[C]onstitutional safeguards are not applicable only to musical expression that implicates some sort of ideological content. Rather, all—political and non-political—musical expression, like other forms of entertainment, is a matter of first amendment concern.”). -13- 1 upon which Goodman’s argument relies, Spence v. State of Washington,59 is 2 inapposite. Further, Goodman’s argument that schools can regulate disruptive speech 3 relies on the premise that the speech at issue was disruptive—a fact that is neither 4 alleged in the complaint nor one that can be inferred in the context of a Rule 12(b) 5 motion. 6 Turning to his second argument, Goodman relies primarily on Doninger v. 7 Niehoff, a case where the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that school officials 8 were entitled to qualified immunity regarding their decision to bar the plaintiff from 9 wearing a t-shirt that the defendants thought would cause a disruption at a school 10 assembly.60 After reviewing the record at summary judgment, the court concluded that 11 under the circumstances “reasonable school officials could disagree about the potential 12 for a substantial disruption of the assembly as a result of permitting students to wear 13 the t-shirts inside.”61 Doninger is distinguishable because it was decided at summary 14 judgment, not pursuant to Rule 12(b). Here, the com plaint does not describe the music 15 that was played at the tournament, the content of B.H.’s tweets, or any facts showing 16 how either could be considered objectionable. Given the paucity of detail, it is 17 impossible for the court to determine whether Goodman reasonably believed that 18 plaintiffs’ conduct was not constitutionally protected. Goodman’s motion will be denied 19 with respect to Count III. 20 3. Count IV 21 In pertinent part, Count IV alleges that Goodman violated plaintiffs’ due process 22 rights by not following School District rules and procedures when plaintiffs’ were 23 disciplined for bullying. Goodman argues that even if he failed to follow these rules and 24 25 26 59 418 U.S. 405, 405 (1974) (involving flag with peace symbol attached to it). See also Anderson v. City of Hermosa Beach, 621 F.3d 1051, 1061 (9th Cir. 2010) (holding that tattoos, the tattooing process, and the business of tattooing are each purely expressive speech). 27 60 28 61 642 F.3d 334, 355-56 (2d Cir. 2011). Id. at 356. -14- 1 procedures, plaintiffs do not have a constitutionally protected interest in participating in 2 interscholastic sports or in protecting their reputations. 62 Plaintiffs respond by asserting 3 that the complaint does not allege a constitutional right to participate in athletics. 63 4 Further, plaintiffs argue that labeling a high school student a “bully” and “broadcasting 5 that allegation, if unfounded, is egregious, unacceptable conduct.” 64 Maybe so. But 6 plaintiffs fail to respond to Goodman’s argument that the due process clause does not 7 protect against reputational harms.65 Goodman’s motion with respect to Count IV will 8 be granted. Count IV will be dismissed. 9 V. CONCLUSION 10 Based on the preceding discussion, defendants’ motion to dismiss at docket 12 11 is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as follows: All Counts against the School 12 District are DISMISSED; Count IV is DISMISSED as to Goodman as well as the School 13 District; and Sidney Ryan’s claims for declaratory relief in Counts I and III are 14 DISMISSED. In all other respects defendants’ motion is DENIED. The claims which 15 remain for resolution are plaintiffs’ remaining claims against Goodman in Counts I and 16 III. 17 DATED this 5th day of December 2014. 18 19 /s/ JOHN W. SEDWICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 20 21 22 23 24 25 62 Doc. 12 at 12. 26 63 27 64 28 65 Doc. 14 at 12. Id. at 13. See Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693, 712 (1976). -15-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?