Bradley v. Jefferson Cnty. Pub. Sch.

Decision Date18 April 2022
Docket NumberCIVIL ACTION NO. 3:20-CV-00450-GNS-CHL
Parties Jacob "Jack" BRADLEY, et al., Plaintiffs v. JEFFERSON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, et al., Defendants
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of Kentucky

Marianne S. Chevalier, Chevalier & Kruer, PSC, Fort Mitchell, KY, for Plaintiffs.

Ashley S. Lant, Kentucky Department of Education, Frankfort, KY, for Defendants Gretta Hylton.


Greg N. Stivers, Chief Judge

This matter is before the Court on Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendants Kentucky Department of Education and Morehead State University (DN 10, 12). The motions are ripe for adjudication. For the reasons stated below, the motions are GRANTED .

A. Statement of Facts

Plaintiffs Jacob "Jack" Bradley ("Jack") and his parents, Daniel Bradley and Judith Bradley (collectively the "Bradleys"), have sued Defendants Jefferson County Public Schools ("JCPS"), Kentucky Department of Education ("KDE"), and Morehead State University ("MSU"). (Compl. 1-2, DN 1). The Bradleys’ claims arise out of the purported failure of JCPS, KDE, and MSU to implement the "individualized education plan" ("IEP") prepared for Jack by JCPS under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"). (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 7-9, 49-50, 60-64 (citing 20 U.S.C. § 1400, et seq. )). The Complaint also alleges violations of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ( 29 U.S.C. § 794 ), the Americans with Disabilities Act ( 42 U.S.C. § 12132 ), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 7-9, 51-64).

The Complaint alleges that JCPS identified Jack—who resided with his parents in Jefferson County, Kentucky, within the boundaries of JCPS—as a student with disabilities who required special education and related services under the IDEA.1 (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 5, 15, 16). Further, JCPS identified Jack as a gifted student—under KRS 157.200 —who was entitled to a "free and appropriate public education" ("FAPE") which included special education and related services pursuant to his IEP and gifted student services plan ("GSSP"). (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 5, 17). JCPS implemented Jack's IEP and GSSP during his 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years. (Compl. ¶¶ 17, 19).

The Bradleys claim that Jack took a dual credit University of Louisville course during the 2016-17 school year, and his IEP was implemented by JCPS during this course. (Compl. ¶ 20). Additionally, with the encouragement of JCPS teachers and administrators, and with the knowledge of his JCPS Admission and Release Committee ("ARC"), Jack applied to the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics ("Craft Academy"), an accelerated residential school for exceptional eleventh and twelfth grade students, hosted by and located at MSU in Morehead, Kentucky. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 21-22, 26). He was accepted to participate in the Craft Academy. (Compl. ¶ 21).

The Complaint asserts that Jack was dually enrolled as a high school student at duPont Manual High School within JCPS and Craft Academy during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 5, 10, 22, 26). Jack's IEP purportedly included a transition plan that required a residential college experience, and JCPS initially agreed to implement his IEP while he attended the Craft Academy. (Compl. ¶¶ 23, 28). The Complaint asserts, shortly thereafter, the KDE directed JCPS not to implement the IEP while Jack attended the Craft Academy. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 28). Additionally, MSU refused to implement the IEP while Jack attended the Craft Academy. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 29). As a result, Daniel and Judith Bradley were allegedly forced to provide for the special education and related services called for in Jack's IEP at their own cost. (Compl. ¶ 1).

The Complaint also contends that Daniel and Judith Bradley sought relief by utilizing the IDEA's dispute resolution procedures and requested a due process hearing. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 6, 33-34). The due process hearing officer reportedly dismissed their claims against JCPS, KDE, and MSU without conducting a due process hearing. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 35). On appeal, the Exceptional Children Appeals Board ("ECAB") upheld in part and reversed in part the hearing officer's decision. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 36, 37). The Bradleys seek a de novo review of these decisions and their rights. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 49-50). Additionally, the Bradleys request an award of damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for injuries they sustained as a result of violations of their constitutional, and statutory rights. (Compl. 11-12).

B. Procedural History

The Bradleys filed this lawsuit claiming denial of FAPE and procedural protections under IDEA ( 20 U.S.C. § 1400, et seq. ), as well as violations of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ( 29 U.S.C. § 794 ), the Americans with Disabilities Act ( 42 U.S.C. § 12132 ), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. ¶¶ 1-64). KDE and MSU separately moved under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) to dismiss the Bradleys’ claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. This matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for decision.


The Court has federal question jurisdiction over this matter. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343, 2201, and 2202 ; 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(3)(A) ; 42 U.S.C § 1983.

A. Dismissal Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)

To survive dismissal for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citation omitted). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. This "plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) ). "Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Id. (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955 ) (internal quotations omitted).

When considering a defendant's motion to dismiss, the Court will "accept all the [plaintiff's] factual allegations as true and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the [plaintiff]." Hill v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mich. , 409 F.3d 710, 716 (6th Cir. 2005). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (internal quotation marks omitted) (citation omitted). Thus, to survive a 12(b)(6) motion, "[the] complaint must contain (1) ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible,’ (2) more than ‘a formulaic recitation of a cause of action's elements,’ and (3) allegations that suggest a ‘right to relief above a speculative level.’ " Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC , 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955 ). Ultimately, this inquiry is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937.

B. Consideration of Documents Not Attached to the Complaint

Generally, courts may not consider matters outside the pleadings in reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss except when the motion is treated as a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56. Stein v. HHGregg, Inc. , 873 F.3d 523, 528 (6th Cir. 2017) (citing Gavitt v. Born , 835 F.3d 623, 640 (6th Cir. 2016) ); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). As the Sixth Circuit has noted, however:

[A] court may consider exhibits attached to the complaint, public records, items appearing in the record of the case, and exhibits attached to defendant's motion to dismiss, so long as they are referred to in the complaint and are central to the claims contained therein, without converting the motion to one for summary judgment."

Gavitt , 835 F.3d at 640 (citations omitted).

The parties have filed numerous exhibits pertaining to the pending motions, some of which can and cannot be considered:

1. Attached as an exhibit to MSU's motion to dismiss is a copy of the Final Decision and Order of the Exceptional Children Appeals Board, which is attached to the Complaint, referred to in the Complaint, and central to the claims contained in the Complaint. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 36-48; MSU's Mot. Dismiss Ex. B, at 1-17, DN 12-2). Accordingly, the Court may consider Exhibit B without converting KDE's and MSU's motions to dismiss to motions for summary judgment. SeeGavitt , 835 F.3d at 640 (citations omitted).
2. The Bradleys, in response to the Rule 12(b)(6) motions, have submitted the following exhibits: an unofficial copy of an April 15, 2014, Kentucky State Senate Resolution declaring Craft Academy, inter alia , is a residential high school program; Jack's Craft Academy High School Transcript; and an October 18, 2019, News Release from MSU referring to Craft Academy as a residential high school for gifted and talented students. (Pls.’ Resp. Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss 2, DN 17 [hereinafter Pls.’ Resp.] (citing Pls.’ Resp. Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss Ex. A, at 5-7, Ex. B, at 8-10, Ex. C, at 11-13)). The Bradleys’ exhibits are not attached to the Complaint. Further, the Bradley's exhibits are not referred to in the Complaint and are not central to the claims contained therein. Therefore, the Court declines to consider these exhibits when reviewing KRE's and MSU's motions to

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