United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
JANICE R. SHANNON and TIMOTHY J. RIORDAN, Plaintiffs,
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF MILWAUKEE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
William E. Duffin U.S. Magistrate Judge.
R. Shannon and Timothy J. Riordan, wife and husband, filed
this action on January 18, 2019, alleging claims against
“School District of Milwaukee Public Schools”
(which the court will refer to as MPS). MPS has moved to
dismiss the complaint. The plaintiffs are proceeding pro se,
although Riordan identifies himself as a “prior
attorney.” (ECF No. 1 at 21; see also ECF No.
2, ¶ 1. a.; ECF No. 1, ¶ 2.L. (17).)
to the complaint, the allegations in which the court accepts
as true at this stage of the proceedings, Shannon was an
elementary school substitute teacher with MPS and was twice
assaulted by a female student, A.B. (ECF No. 1, ¶ 2.H.) On
November 17, 2016,  A.B. again assaulted Shannon, pushing her
and causing her to fall. (ECF No. 1, ¶ 2.J.) Shannon
developed pain and other symptoms that she attributes to the
assault. (ECF No. 1, ¶ 2.K.)
plaintiffs' complaint is an expansive criticism of an
alleged lack of discipline in MPS, generally, and as to A.B.,
specifically. They ask the court to impose on MPS various
procedures they believe are necessary for effective student
discipline. Shannon attributes her injuries to MPS because
MPS did not effectively discipline A.B. for her prior
conduct. Shannon is also dissatisfied that A.B. received only
six-months of probation in the delinquency proceedings that
resulted from the assault. She attributes this
“‘less than a slap on the wrist' for
permanently crippling Janice Shannon and leaving her for the
rest of her life with constant chronic high-level pain”
(ECF No. 1, ¶ 2.I. (2)) to MPS because the video
surveillance did not record the assault and administrators
allegedly deleted A.B.'s disciplinary records.
October 16, 2018, Shannon filed a complaint with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that MPS
subjected her to harassment and different conditions of
employment because of her sex and age. (ECF No. 10-1.) The
EEOC on October 22, 2018, dismissed her complaint, finding
that it was not timely filed. (ECF No. 1-1.) MPS presented
Shannon's EEOC complaint as part of its motion to
dismiss, which the court can consider without converting the
motion to dismiss to one for summary judgment because it is a
record of a prior administrative proceeding and is referred
to in the complaint. Goodwin v. Teamsters Gen. Local
Union No. 200, No. 17-CV-1377, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
35903, at *6 (E.D. Wis. Mar. 6, 2018) (citing Woltring v.
Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC, No. 14-CV-222, 2014
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81433, at *4 (E.D. Wis. June 16, 2014);
188 LLC v. Trinity Indus. Inc., 300 F.3d 730, 735
(7th Cir. 2002)). Shannon filed her complaint in this court
on January 18, 2019.
Motion to Dismiss Standard
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim “has facial plausibility
when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. A claim satisfies this pleading standard when
its factual allegations “raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555-56. The court accepts “all well-pleaded facts as
true and constru[es] all inferences in favor of the
plaintiffs.” Gruber v. Creditors' Prot.
Serv., 742 F.3d 271, 274 (7th Cir. 2014).
are a myriad of problems with the plaintiffs' complaint,
including a general lack of clarity and an apparent
misunderstanding of the scope and breadth of federal
antidiscrimination laws, as well as the role and authority of
the EEOC. The gravamen of her complaint is that MPS does not
do enough to discipline its students and protect its teachers
from those students. That does not suggest any plausible
federal cause of action.
this case was preceded by a claim to the EEOC, the court
presumes that Shannon intends to allege some type of
employment discrimination. The EEOC complaint alleges
discrimination based on sex and age. (ECF No. 10-1.)
Therefore, it is most likely that Shannon intends to allege
age and sex discrimination in this action.
the court must liberally construe the pleadings of pro se
litigants. Therefore, the court reads the plaintiffs'
filings broadly with an eye toward discerning other possible
or intended claims. In this regard, the court notes that
Shannon identifies herself as female, over 40-years-old, and
disabled, all of which are statuses protected by various
federal employment laws. However, she does not identify how
she allegedly suffered any adverse employment action on
account of any such status. In fact, she does not identify
any adverse employment action she allegedly suffered. Rather
than addressing these substantive defects in her complaint,
MPS has moved to dismiss on the narrow grounds that any
discrimination claim is untimely.
also refers to “due process, ” and thus the court
considers whether she might have any plausible claim under
the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.