Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Brantl v. The Curators of University of Missouri

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division

June 3, 2019

RYLAN BRANTL, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CURATORS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI, Defendant.

          ORDER

          DOUGLAS HARPOOL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 31). The Court, after full and careful consideration, hereby grants Defendant's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff 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.[1] 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).

         Plaintiff's 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.

         STANDARD

         Sovereign 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).

         “To 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.

         DISCUSSION

         Taking the factual allegations in the Complaint as true, the Court finds dismissal of Plaintiff's claims is appropriate.

         Eleventh Amendment Immunity - Counts I, II, and III.

         “The 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).

         Here, 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 Amendment immunity).

         Accordingly, 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.