United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
DOUGLAS HARPOOL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 31).
The Court, after full and careful consideration, hereby
grants Defendant's motion.
Rylan Brantl has filed his First Amended Complaint against
the Curators of the University of Missouri. Plaintiff was
employed by the University as a neurosurgery resident at the
School of Medicine from July 1, 2008 to June 30,
2013. Plaintiff was accepted into the
University's six-year residency program where typically
residents enter an annual Resident contract with the
University each year. Plaintiff alleges the University
breached its contract with him by dismissing him from the
program in 2013. Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint
includes counts for breach of contract, breach of covenant of
good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel, and a
retaliation claim pursuant to 31 U.S.C. §3730(h).
First Amended Complaint also contains numerous allegations
that the University is not entitled to immunity, including
but not limited to, that the University maintains a
self-insurance policy and as a result any judgment against it
would not be paid from the state treasury but would be paid
by the insurance company; and that the University is
currently autonomous from the state in its financial
operations, legal representation, and independence from the
State's control. Defendant has filed a motion to dismiss
arguing Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed because
the state law claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment;
the retaliation claim pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h)
lacks jurisdiction; and the retaliation claim is also barred
by the statute of limitations.
immunity is a jurisdictional, threshold matter that is
properly addressed under Rule 12(b)(1). Sundquist v.
Nebraska, 122 F.Supp.3d 876 (D. Neb. 2015) (citing
Lors v. Dean, 746 F.3d 857, 861 (8th Cir. 2014)).
“In order to properly dismiss for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1), the complaint must
be successfully challenged on its face or on the factual
truthfulness of its averments.” Titus v.
Sullivan, 4 F.3d 590, 593 (8th Cir. 1993). In a facial
attack, the court “restricts itself to the face of the
pleadings” and “the non-moving party receives the
same protections as it would defending against a motion
brought under Rule 12(b)(6).” Osborn v. United
States, 918 F.2d 724, 729 n. 6 (8th Cir. 1990).
survive a motion to dismiss [under 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 (2009). A
complaint is facially plausible where its factual content
“allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. The plaintiff must plead facts that show more
than a mere speculation or possibility that the defendant
acted unlawfully. Id.; Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While the Court accepts the
complaint's factual allegations as true, it is not
required to accept the plaintiff's legal conclusions.
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. The court's
assessment of whether the complaint states a plausible claim
for relief is a “context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense.” Id. at 679.
the factual allegations in the Complaint as true, the Court
finds dismissal of Plaintiff's claims is appropriate.
Amendment Immunity - Counts I, II, and III.
Eleventh Amendment immunizes an unconsenting State from
damage actions brought in federal court, except when Congress
has abrogated tha t immunity for a particular federal cause
of action.” Becker v. Univ. of Nebraska at
Omaha, 191 F.3d 904, 908 (8th Cir. 1999); see generally
Kimel v. Florida Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 73,
120 S.Ct. 631, 640, 145 L.Ed.2d 522 (2000) (“[F]or over
a century now, we have made clear that the Constitution does
not provide for federal jurisdiction over suits against
nonconsenting States.”). Three exceptions exist to
Eleventh Amendment immunity: (1) where the state waives
immunity by consenting to suit in federal court, (2) where
Congress abrogates the state's immunity through valid
exercise of its powers, and (3) under Ex parte
Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), where the plaintiff files
suit against state officials seeking prospective equitable
relief for ongoing violations of federal law. Sundquist
v. Nebraska, 122 F.Supp.3d 876 (D. Neb. 2015).
the University is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity.
“The Eleventh Amendment encompasses not only actions
where the state is actually named as a defendant, but also
certain actions against state instrumentalities.”
Becker v. Univ. of Nebraska at Omaha, 191 F.3d at
908. In accordance with this principle, the Eighth Circuit
has stated that “State universities and colleges almost
always enjoy Eleventh Amendment immunity.” See
Id. (quoting Hadley v. N. Arkansas Cmty. Tech.
Coll., 76 F.3d 1437, 1438 (8th Cir. 1996)). This Court
has previously determined that the University of Missouri is
considered an instrumentality of the State of Missouri and is
entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. Sherman v.
Curators of Univ. of Missouri, 871 F.Supp. 344, 348
(W.D. Mo. 1994) (assessing University of Missouri on the
basis of its own particular circumstances and determining it
is a state instrumentality acting as an arm of the State of
Missouri and enjoys Eleventh Amendment protection); see also
Scherer v. Curators of Univ. of Missouri, 49
Fed.Appx. 658, 658 (8th Cir. 2002) (citing Sherman
and affirming dismissal of ADA claim based on Eleventh
the University is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity in
this case. First, the University has not waived its Eleventh
Amendment immunity by consenting to suit in federal court.
Second, Congress has not validly abrogated the
University's immunity for Plaintiff's claims arising
from breach of contract (Count I); breach of covenant of good
faith and fair dealing (Count II); or ...