United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the court is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants
Alabama State Department of Education (“ALDOE”),
June Barrett, and Perry Fulton. Doc. 8. Plaintiff Martin
Brooks filed this lawsuit on June 7, 2018, alleging several
state and federal claims arising out of his attempt to have a
barbeque sauce sold to public schools in Alabama. Doc. 1.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 73, the parties have consented to the jurisdiction
of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge. Docs. 16
& 17. After careful consideration of the parties'
submissions and the applicable law, and for the reasons
discussed below, the motion to dismiss (Doc. 8) is due to be
GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims in this
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and § 1367. The
parties do not contest personal jurisdiction or venue, and
the court finds adequate allegations to support both.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
facts as alleged in the complaint are as follows. Brooks is
the owner and sole proprietor of DatGoodSauce. ALDOE oversees
and supervises the Child Nutrition Program for public schools
in Alabama. Barrett is the Program Coordinator for the Child
Nutrition Program with the ALDOE and Fulton is the former
alleges that in February 2011 he contacted a public high
school in Birmingham, Alabama about purchasing his barbeque
sauce. He was told to contact the Child Nutrition Program
with ALDOE, and did so. Fulton, of the Child Nutrition
Program, told Brooks to check back in November 2011. Brooks
did as requested. At that time Brooks was told that he would
receive correspondence on how to present product information
to the state. After subsequently meeting with the state's
purchasing committee, Brooks received correspondence from
Fulton stating that Brooks' product would be taste tested
by students. Brooks alleges that he was not informed about
the bid process or prebid requirements and was not provided a
bid document. Doc. 1 at 5. Brooks became concerned about the
legitimacy of the taste testing. He contacted Fulton in March
2012 to request the taste test results and alleges that he
received incomplete testing documentation.
complained to the USDA and the Office of Inspector General.
He then received a report which said that “due to some
violations, ” he would be allowed to retest. Doc. 1 at
6. Brooks alleges that he spent all of 2015 trying to get the
Child Nutrition Program office to provide open bids. He
alleges that in 2016 he received notice from the Office of
Inspector General that the investigation of the bid process
would be reopened. Brooks alleges that his counsel's
paralegal/investigator separately researched the situation
and determined that some of the schools may not have actually
conducted the taste test. Brooks alleges that he has never
received documents showing that the taste test was conducted
or a copy of his bid contract.
on these allegations, Brooks brings the following claims: a
violation of due process against the ALDOE, Fulton, and
Barrett; violations of the Code of Federal Regulations
(“CFR”) by the ALDOE, Barrett, and Fulton;
violations of the Code of Alabama by the ALDOE, Fulton, and
Barrett; negligence claims against the ALDOE, Fulton, and
Barrett; and claims of negligent hiring, retention, and
supervision against the ALDOE.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court must
“take the factual allegations in the complaint as true
and construe them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Pielage v. McConnell, 516 F.3d
1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008). To survive a motion to dismiss,
a complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is
“plausible on its face” if “the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The complaint “requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations need
not be detailed, but “must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level, ” id.,
and “unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation[s]” will not suffice. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678.