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Megan Runnion, A Minor, Through Her Mother and Next Friend, Edie Runnion v. Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

October 26, 2012

MEGAN RUNNION, A MINOR, THROUGH HER MOTHER AND NEXT FRIEND, EDIE RUNNION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GIRL SCOUTS OF GREATER CHICAGO AND NORTHWEST INDIANA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint and Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. For the reasons stated herein, the Court grants Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and denies Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Megan Runnion ("Plaintiff") is a twelve-year-old girl from Schaumburg, Illinois who is hearing impaired. Plaintiff requires the assistance of a sign language interpreter to communicate in group settings.

In or about Fall 2005, Plaintiff began kindergarten and joined Girl Scouts Troop #40795. Plaintiff attended the troop's monthly meetings and outings, and alleges that the Girl Scouts (hereinafter, the "Defendant") provided Plaintiff sign language interpreter services from the date she joined Troop #40795 until approximately August 2011.

On August 29, 2011, Plaintiff alleges that her mother requested sign language interpreter services for Plaintiff as she previously had done from 2005-2011. However, this time, Defendant denied the request. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant informed her that her request was denied because Defendant no longer paid for these services.

Upon receiving this notification, Plaintiff's mother contacted Equip for Equality and the National Association of the Deaf for assistance. These organizations sent Defendant a letter requesting a sign language interpreter be provided to Plaintiff for an upcoming rock climbing outing that Plaintiff's troop had planned. On November 17, 2011, Defendant responded to this letter. In it, Defendant denied that it was subject to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as the organizations claimed, and also informed the organizations that it was in the process of developing a uniform policy pertaining to sign language interpreter services for its individual troop members. Subsequently, Defendant provided Plaintiff a sign language interpreter for the rock climbing event and one of Plaintiff's troop meetings.

On January 8, 2012, the leaders of Plaintiff's troop announced that the troop was disbanding. Plaintiff alleges that troop leaders told Plaintiff that the troop was disbanding because of Plaintiff's requests for sign language interpreters.

On August 1, 2012, Plaintiff filed her Complaint against Defendants. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Section 504") for failing to provide her sign language interpreter services. Plaintiff also alleges Defendant violated Section 504 by retaliating against Plaintiff when it disbanded her troop.

Currently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6).

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction-Rule 12(b)(1)

On a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), the Court must accept "as true all facts alleged in the well-pleaded complaint and draw[] all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Scanlan v. Eisenberg, 669 F.3d 838, 841 (7th Cir. 2012). If however, the complaint is formally sufficient but the contention is that there is in fact no subject matter jurisdiction, the Court may consider matters beyond the allegations in the complaint. Capitol Leasing Co. v. F.D.I.C., 999 F.2d 188, 191 (7th Cir. 1993). The burden of proof is on the party who seeks to establish ...


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