Ramos v. Los Rios Community College District

Filing 18

MEMORANDUM and ORDER signed by Senior Judge William B. Shubb on 10/17/2017 DENYING 4 Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (Kirksey Smith, K)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ANGELA RAMOS, an individual, 12 13 14 15 16 17 CIV. NO. 2:17-01458 WBS KJN Plaintiff, v. LOS RIOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT, a public entity, THOMAS KLOSTER dba METRO-MATH TUTORING SERVICES, a company, THOMAS KLOSTER, an individual, DOES 1-50, inclusive, 18 MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTION TO DISMISS Defendants. 19 Plaintiff Angela Ramos brought this action against 20 21 defendants Los Rios Community College District, Metro-Math 22 Tutoring Services, Thomas Kloster, and Does 1-50 asserting 23 federal and state claims arising from alleged sexual harassment 24 she experienced by Thomas Kloster. 25 Before the court is defendant Los Rios Community College 26 District’s Motion to dismiss plaintiff’s Complaint under Rule 27 12(b)(6). 28 (Compl. (Docket No. 1.).) (Def.’s Mot. (Docket No.4).) In January 2016, plaintiff enrolled in Algebra 30 at 1 1 Cosumnes River College (“CDC”), a college in the Los Rios 2 Community College District (“District”). 3 Thomas Kloster (“Kloster”) worked as a professor at CDC and 4 taught Algebra 30. 5 Kloster asked plaintiff to work as a recruiter for his tutoring 6 business, Metro-Math Tutoring Services. 7 approximately April to the end of June 2016, plaintiff alleges 8 defendant attempted to kiss her, sent her inappropriate and 9 threatening text messages, and stalked her on and off campus. (Compl. ¶ 19.) (Compl. ¶ 9, 13.) Around mid-January 2016, (Compl. ¶ 20.) From 10 (Compl. ¶¶ 22-40.) 11 harassment, she did not take her final exam in Kloster’s class, 12 her grades suffered, she was placed on academic probation, she 13 enrolled in summer classes, and she began taking classes at 14 another city college. 15 Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the (Compl. ¶¶ 34, 39, 46, 48.) On June 13, 2017, plaintiff filed her Complaint in the 16 Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County 17 of Sacramento for damages against defendants for violation of 18 Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) and enumerated supplemental state 19 law claims. 20 this court under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). 21 dismiss is the first response to the complaint. 22 On July 13, 2017, the district removed the action to The district’s motion to On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim 23 under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must accept the allegations in the 24 pleadings as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of 25 the plaintiff. 26 overruled on other grounds by Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 27 (1984); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972). 28 motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead “only enough facts to See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), 2 To survive a 1 state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” 2 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 3 Bell “While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion 4 to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a 5 plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his 6 ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and 7 conclusions,” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted), and 8 “the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the 9 allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal 10 11 conclusions,” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Under Title IX, “[n]o person in the United States 12 shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be 13 denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under 14 any education program or activity receiving Federal financial 15 assistance.” 16 of sexual harassment by a student against a teacher. 17 Franklin v. Gwinnett Cty. Pub. Sch., 503 U.S. 60, 75, (1992). 18 state a sexual harassment claim under Title IX, the plaintiff 19 must allege the district “(1) had actual knowledge of, and (2) 20 was deliberately indifferent to (3) harassment that was so 21 severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it (4) deprived 22 the victim of access to the educational benefits or opportunities 23 provided by the school.” 24 Colo., 186 F.3d 1238, 1246 (10th Cir. 1999). 25 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). Title IX encompasses claims See To Murrell v. Sch. Dist. No. 1, Denver, While the dates are unclear, plaintiff alleges she 26 reported the sexual harassment to a teacher, professor, dean, and 27 Title IX officer. 28 of the harassment “unless an official who at a minimum has A school district does not have actual notice 3 1 authority to address the alleged discrimination and to institute 2 corrective measures on the recipient's behalf has actual 3 knowledge of discrimination and fails adequately to respond.” 4 Gebser v. Lago Vista Indep. Sch. Dist., 524 U.S. 274, 290 (1998). 5 Plaintiff pled sufficient facts that the district had actual 6 notice of Kloster’s conduct. 7 While the exact response and the dates of action in 8 response to learning of Kloster’s conduct are unclear, the 9 shortest amount of time the district responded to learning of the 10 harassment was eight days. 11 deliberately indifferent “only where the recipient's response to 12 the harassment or lack thereof is clearly unreasonable in light 13 of the known circumstances.” 14 Monroe Cty. Bd. of Educ., 526 U.S. 629, 648 (1999). 15 indifference is a very high standard—a showing of mere negligence 16 will not meet it.” 17 Cir. 2001) (citations omitted). 18 period of time is by its nature a question of fact, and this 19 court cannot say as a matter of law at this stage of the 20 proceedings that eight days was or was not an unreasonable period 21 of time. 22 School administrators are Davis Next Friend LaShonda D. v. “Deliberate Baynard v. Malone, 268 F.3d 228, 236 (4th What constitutes an unreasonable Defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claim under 23 Title IX, as well as her supplemental state law claims, must 24 therefore be DENIED. 25 26 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 17, 2017 27 28 4

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