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Ryan v. Dist.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 5, 2014

Sidney Ryan, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Mesa Unified School District and Joseph Goodman, in his individual capacity, Defendants

For Sidney Ryan, Jodi Ryan, Mother and Natural Guardian of Minor/ on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated on behalf of K.R., Jeffrey Hills, Father and Natural Guardian of Minor/ on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated on behalf of B.H., Plaintiffs: Robert Evan Trop, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office of Robert Evan Trop, Phoenix, AZ.

For Mesa Unified School District, Joseph Goodman, in his individual capacity, Defendants: Robert D Haws, Shelby Mae Lile, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Gust Rosenfeld PLC - Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ.

Page 1357

ORDER AND OPINION

JOHN W. SEDWICK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

[Re: Motion at Docket 12]

I. MOTION PRESENTED

At docket 12, defendants Mesa Unified School District (" School District" ) and Joseph Goodman (" Goodman" ) move pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for an order dismissing plaintiffs' amended complaint. Plaintiffs Sidney Ryan, Jodi Ryan, and Jeffrey Hills respond at docket 14. Defendants filed a reply at docket 17. Oral argument was not requested and would not assist the court.

II. BACKGROUND

Sidney Ryan, K.R., and B.H. are three former members of the 2014 Mountain View High School varsity girls softball team. K.R. and B.H. are minors whose interests are represented in this case by plaintiffs Jodi Ryan (K.R.'s mother) and Jeffrey Hills (B.H.'s father), respectively. Mountain View is a public high school in Mesa, Arizona that is part of the Mesa Unified School District. Plaintiffs' complaint alleges four causes of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Count I alleges a violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause against Goodman.[1] Count II alleges a violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against the School District. Count III alleges a violation of the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause against Goodman and the School District. Count IV alleges a violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments' Due Process Clauses against Goodman and the School District.

A. Establishment Clause allegations

i. Team prayer allegations (Count I)

o Defendants allow and promote prayer at Mountain View varsity girls softball games. During the 2013-14 girls softball season, certain players were appointed " prayer leaders" who led a team prayer at the beginning of every game.
o Team captain Sidney Ryan announced that these team prayers would cease. K.R. and B.H. supported this decision. All three players were dismissed from the team. One of the reasons why they were dismissed from the ...

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