Dillon v. University of Arkansas at Little Rock et al
ORDER granting 2 Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff's 1 complaint is hereby dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Judge James M. Moody on 6/27/2012. (dmn)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
DELBERT EDWIN DILLON
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK
and ANN SCHLUMBERGER, CHAIRMAN OF UALR
NURSING PROGRAM and INDIVIDUALLY
Pending is Defendants’ motion to dismiss. (Docket # 2). Plaintiff has filed a response
and Defendants have filed a reply.
The Court has reviewed the pleadings and finds that
Defendants’ motion should be GRANTED.
Plaintiff, Delbert Edwin Dillon filed suit against the University of Arkansas at Little
Rock (“UALR”) and Ann Schlumberger, Chairman of the University’s nursing program under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. §
1232(g)(“FERPA”). Plaintiff alleges that while he was enrolled as a student in the Department
of Nursing at UALR, he made a written request to review test documents and other documents
that entered into his final grade for the course 2510 Obstetric Nursing. Plaintiff claims that
nursing department officials prevented him from reviewing his educational records in violation
of FERPA. Plaintiff claims that the Defendants failed to implement a policy and procedure for
granting a student access to his educational records in violation of FERPA; and in fact had an
unwritten policy of denying nursing students the right to inspect their educational records.
Plaintiff claims that Defendant Schlumberger has an unwritten policy to prevent the correction of
grading mistakes; failed to implement a policy to allow a student an appropriate mechanism to
challenge the content of a student’s educational records; and implemented a policy of denying all
students enrolled in the nursing program the right to inspect the student’s educational records.
Plaintiff also complains that “on more than one occasion clinical instructors informed [him] that
he would not become a nurse due to his sex and ‘demeanor’ towards younger nurses. These
instructors actively engaged in conduct to bring about his dismissal from the program and used
the policy to that effect.” Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint because no private
right of action exists under FERPA and Plaintiff failed to state a claim for equal protection
Dismissal is proper where the plaintiff’s complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). At this stage of the litigation, the Court must accept as
true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, and review the complaint to
determine whether its allegations show that the pleader is entitled to relief. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S.544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007). The plaintiff need not provide specific
facts in support of their allegations, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200
(2007) (per curiam), but they must include sufficient factual information to provide the
“grounds” on which the claim rests, and to raise a right to relief above a speculative level.
Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65 & n. 3.
Applying this standard, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims pursuant to the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act must be dismissed. No private right of action exists under
FERPA and violations of FERPA are not actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Gonzaga
University v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273 (2002). As to Plaintiff’s equal protection claims, the Court finds
that Plaintiff has failed to state sufficient factual information to provide the grounds to an equal
protection claim. The majority of Plaintiff’s complaint identifies policies and conduct relating to
access to educational records which Plaintiff describes as applying equally to all nursing
students, regardless of sex. Plaintiff’s complaint contains only one allegation that he was treated
differently based upon his sex. He alleges that certain unnamed instructors informed him that he
would not become a nurse due to his sex and demeanor and that they actively engaged in
conduct to bring about his dismissal from the program and used the policy to that effect.
Plaintiff does not identify the alleged conduct of the instructors, whether this conduct was
applied only to male students, the identity of the instructors, the policy to which he refers, or
how this alleged conduct resulted in his dismissal from the program but did not result in the
dismissal of female students. The Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to provide factual
allegations sufficient to show more than just a speculative right to relief.
Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to dismiss is GRANTED. Plaintiff’s complaint is
hereby dismissed with prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 27th day of June, 2012.
James M. Moody
United States District Judge
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