United States District Court, District of Columbia
CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Samuel Pierce wants to go to medical school. Denied admission
by every school to which he applied, Pierce turned to the
courts for a cure. He began by filing a federal lawsuit
claiming that his rejection from Hofstra University's
medical school was the result of intentional discrimination
against “white Anglo-Saxon Protestant[s].”
See Pierce v. Woldenburg, No. 11-cv-4248, 2012 WL
3260316, at *1, *3 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 7, 2012). After that case
was dismissed, Pierce unsuccessfully sued the University of
California in state court, alleging he was denied admission
to UCLA's medical school because of an “unlawful
racial preference favoring Hispanics.” See Pierce
v. Regents of Univ. of Cal., B262545, 2016 WL 892015, at
*4 (Cal.Ct.App. Mar. 9, 2016). Undeterred, Pierce filed this
case asserting a single claim under the Sherman Act. A
lawyer, but proceeding pro se,  Pierce here
alleges that he was not admitted to the Yale School of
Medicine both because he is a white Republican and because of
an antitrust conspiracy between medical schools to share the
names of successful applicants. The antitrust conspiracy,
Pierce contends, “enables” Yale and other schools
to discriminate against otherwise worthy applicants like him
who do not share Yale's purported ideological views.
have moved to dismiss Pierce's amended complaint for lack
of standing and failure to state a claim. Defs.' Mot. to
Dismiss (“MTD”), ECF 12-1. Soon after they filed
that motion, Pierce moved to strike the discrimination
allegations made in the complaint, to schedule oral argument,
or, in the alternative, to transfer the case to the District
of Maine. Pl.'s Mot., ECF No. 13. He has also moved for a
scheduling order to allow limited discovery regarding his
antitrust claim. Pl.'s Am. Mot. for Scheduling Order, ECF
No. 20. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant
Defendants' motion to dismiss and deny Pierce's
required on a motion to dismiss, the Court draws this factual
background from the complaint, assuming the truth of all
well-pled allegations. See Sissel v. U.S. Dep't of
Health & Human Servs., 760 F.3d 1, 4 (D.C. Cir.
2014). Defendants-Yale University (“Yale”), the
Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
(“Penn”), and the Association of American Medical
Colleges (“AAMC”) (collectively,
“Defendants”)-naturally dispute many of
Pierce's allegations. MTD at 5.
claims that he is “a magna cum laude graduate
of Penn's undergraduate program who earned perfect scores
on the Medical College Admissions Test.” First Am.
Compl. (“FAC”), ECF No. 4, ¶ 6. He applied
to a number of medical schools between 2009 and 2015 using
AAMC's application system. Id. ¶ 36. Pierce
was one of approximately 700 applicants selected to interview
at Yale in 2015. Id. ¶¶ 6, 56. He was not,
however, offered admission to Yale or any other school to
which he applied. Id. ¶ 38.
raises a single claim under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15
U.S.C. § 1. FAC ¶¶ 65-73. He frames
his complaint as a challenge to a conspiracy between medical
schools, including Yale and Penn, and AAMC to share the names
of successful applicants on the Multiple Acceptance Report
(“MAR”), a list that Pierce says is circulated
among schools during each application cycle. Id.
¶ 2. He identifies three anti-competitive effects of
this alleged information-sharing conspiracy: (1) increased
tuition because accepted students have less bargaining power
to negotiate financial-aid packages; (2) decreased overall
acceptances because schools are better able to anticipate
matriculation rates and avoid over-enrollment; and (3)
decreased consumer choice because schools are less likely to
extend offers to students already accepted elsewhere.
Id. ¶ 4. He insists that he would have gotten
into the medical schools to which he applied, including Yale,
if not for the MAR conspiracy. Id. ¶¶ 6,
Pierce spends much of the complaint discussing another
alleged cause of his rejection: “invidious”
discrimination. Id. ¶ 55; see also id.
¶¶ 30, 46-64. Pierce alleges that Yale
“stack[ed] the deck against persons of Plaintiff's
race” (white) and political party (Republican).
Id. ¶ 66. As evidence, he maintains that Yale
seeks to achieve “thinly veiled, rigid racial
quotas” and that “a Black applicant is far more
likely to be admitted to medical school than a White
applicant.” Id. ¶¶ 50, 53. Pierce
alleges that Yale also seeks to achieve “ideological
uniformity, ” as demonstrated by statements on its
website expressing support for the Affordable Care Act
(“ACA”). Id. ¶¶ 57-58. AAMC
likewise exhibits “bias against Republicans, ” as
indicated by an e-mail it circulated in June 2017, also
expressing support for the ACA. Id. ¶ 59.
Yale's bias was on display during his 2015 interview,
Pierce says, when “he was interrogated . . . regarding
his political preferences.” Id. ¶ 55. He
suggests that “Black and Hispanic applicants (who are
assumed to share Yale's required [liberal]
ideology)” were not similarly interrogated.
to Pierce, this political and racial discrimination led Yale
to reject his application despite his “extraordinary
talents, ” id. ¶ 71:
A separate admissions track applied to the Plaintiff where
[he] was expected to produce incontrovertible evidence that
he had no inklings of support for the Republican Party or any
ideas associated with it, which did not apply to any Black
applicants. The Plaintiff could not do so. Shortly after
interviewing . . ., Yale informed Plaintiff that it was
denying Plaintiff admission to the medical school.
Id. ¶ 55. Pierce broadly alleges that the MAR
“enables this sort of political and racial
discrimination” because without access to the
information on that report, “market forces [would]
constrain the ability of universities to exact retribution on
the Plaintiff (and others demographically similar to him) for
the perceived sins of his ancestors.” Id.
¶ 56. To support this assertion, Pierce spins out a
“mathematical model” in his complaint which
estimates that, absent the MAR, Yale would have to more than
double the number of students it admits in order to achieve
its target class size. Id. ¶ 41. Under this
model, Pierce contends that Yale “would have
necessarily admitted” him had it not received the MAR.
Id. ¶¶ 6, 41.
Standard of Review
move to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) and for failure to state a claim under Rule
12(b)(6). When analyzing a motion to dismiss under either
Rule 12(b)(1) or 12(b)(6), the “court assumes the truth
of all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and
construes reasonable inferences from those allegations in the
plaintiff's favor, but is not required to accept the
plaintiff's legal conclusions as correct.”
Sissel, 760 F.3d at 4 (citation omitted) (Rule
12(b)(6)); Jerome Stevens Pharm., Inc. v. FDA, 402
F.3d 1249, 1253 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (Rule 12(b)(1)). To survive
a 12(b)(1) motion, a complaint must state a plausible claim
that the elements of standing are satisfied. See Humane
Soc'y of U.S. v. Vilsack, 797 F.3d 4, 8 (D.C. Cir.
2015). And to survive a 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must
contain sufficient facts that, if accepted as true, state a
plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Where a pro
se plaintiff drafted the complaint, the Court construes
the filings liberally and considers them as a whole before
dismissing. See Schnitzler v. United States, 761
F.3d 33, 38 (D.C. Cir. 2014).