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Nathaniel Nixon and v. Galesburg Community Unit School District 205

July 20, 2011

NATHANIEL NIXON AND ANJEANETTE MCKEE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GALESBURG COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT 205, GALESBURG HIGH SCHOOL, AND TEVIN TEEL, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge

E-FILED Wednesday, 20 July, 2011 04:14:40 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

ORDER

Now before the Court is Defendants Galesburg Community Unit School District 205's (hereinafter "the District") and Galesburg High School's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion [#5] is DENIED.

JURISDICTION

The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as a claim asserted in the Complaint presents a federal question under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This Court has supplemental jurisdiction over the claims asserted under Illinois state law pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, as they are so related to the claims within the Court's federal question jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Nathaniel Nixon ("Nixon") was a 17-year-old student at Galesburg High School in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois on December 7, 2009.*fn1 On that date, Defendant Tevin Teel ("Teel"), a fellow male student, attacked Nixon as class was beginning in the Agricultural Sciences room at Galesburg High School. As a result of the attack, Nixon incurred injuries, experienced pain and suffering, was disfigured, and incurred medical expenses. Teel was known to be a troublemaker, bully, fighter, and had previously threatened and injured other students. Previous to December 7, 2009, Nixon was repeatedly harassed by Teel on the school's premises, and he had informed supervisors, teachers, and counselors of Teel's threatening behavior. The students were under the supervision of teachers and other employees on December 7, 2009, and previous to that date. Plaintiff Anjeanette McKee ("McKee") is Nixon's mother and was his legal guardian, responsible for his medical charges and bills on the date of the incident.

On December 7, 2010, Nixon and McKee filed their Complaint against the District, Galesburg High School, and Teel in his individual capacity, alleging a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, willful and wanton conduct by the District and High School, an Illinois Family Expense Act claim, and battery by Teel against Nixon. Defendants Galesburg Unit School District 205 and Galesburg High School filed the instant Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The matter is fully briefed and this Order follows.

DISCUSSION

A complaint must provide a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). That statement must be sufficient to provide the defendant with "fair notice" of the claim and its basis. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). This means that (1) the complaint must describe the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant "fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests" and (2) its allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a "speculative level." EEOC v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). Conclusory allegations are "not entitled to be assumed true." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1951 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)). The Seventh Circuit has recently explained that it understands the Supreme Court's reasoning in Twombly and Iqbal to be saying that, "the Plaintiff must give enough details about the subject-matter of the case to present a story that holds together." Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 403 (7th Cir. 2010).

I. Galesburg High School as a Named Defendant

The District and High School initially argue that the latter is an indivisible part of the school system operated by the District, and so it is not an independent legal entity with the capacity to be sued. Plaintiffs agree that the District is the appropriate defendant in this matter and so agree to dismiss the High School as a defendant in each and every ...


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