Roseboro v. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board (Lawyers Weekly No. 14-03-0973, 19 pp.) (L. Patrick Auld, USMJ) 1:14-cv-00455; M.D.N.C.
Holding: Plaintiffs have attempted to clarify that they did not intend to assert any federal-law claims in their amended complaint; however, at the time of removal to this court, plaintiffs had pled two 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims, thereby providing this court with subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Plaintiffs’ motion to remand should be denied. Defendants’ motions to dismiss should be granted as to plaintiffs’ federal-law claims. It is recommended that the court decline to exercise jurisdiction over plaintiff’s state-law claims.
A school board cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a respondeat superior theory. Furthermore, plaintiffs have not alleged that any official custom or policy of the defendant-school board caused the alleged constitutional deprivations. In any event, plaintiffs do not adequately allege a deprivation of procedural due process or equal protection.
The amended complaint alleges neither that the school board denied plaintiffs an opportunity to be heard nor that the school board failed to adopt proper procedures. Plaintiff Ardeal Roseboro alleges only that he tried to meet with the individual defendants, not that they rebuffed his efforts in any improper way. As such, plaintiffs have failed to allege a deprivation of procedural due process.
Plaintiffs make the conclusory allegation that “because of [plaintiffs’] race, Black Americans, and Gender(s), Black Man and Black Woman,  they were subjected to treatment that white or non-Black people would not be subjected to.” Since the amended complaint does not allege any facts to show how defendants treated plaintiffs differently compared to similarly situated individuals – non-Black American guardians of children placed in a high school alternative learning center – the conclusory statement that defendants treated plaintiffs differently does not by itself make the claim plausible. Thus, plaintiffs have failed to allege a deprivation of equal protection.
For similar reasons, plaintiffs have failed to state claims against the defendant-city and the defendant-county.
As to the individual defendants, plaintiffs have not alleged how they acted personally in the deprivation of plaintiffs’ rights. As such, plaintiffs cannot maintain a § 1983 claim against the individual defendants.
It is recommended that the court deny plaintiffs’ motion to remand, grant defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ federal-law claims, and remand plaintiffs’ state-law claims to state court.t