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Ruby J. Earl v. Clovis Unified School District

January 3, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara A. McAuliffe United States Magistrate Judge



On October 17, 2011, plaintiff Ruby J. Earl ("Plaintiff") filed a complaint in this Court against the Clovis Unified School District ("CUSD" or "Defendant"). Plaintiff alleges she was discriminated against on the basis of race when Defendant refused to award her a sports officiating contract in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, specifically, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff additionally asserts Defendant's discriminatory practices violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the California Education Code § 220 et seq., and constitute a "[v]violation of [the] Continuous Violations Doctrine[,] 79 Cal. App. 4 th 570." (Doc.1.) *fn1


A. Screening Standard

Pursuant to Title 28 of the United States Code Section 1915(e)(2), the Court has reviewed the complaint for sufficiency to state a claim. The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if it determines that the action is legally "frivolous or malicious," fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the Court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question ( Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex Hospital , 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976)), construe the pro se pleadings liberally in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff ( Resnick v. Hayes , 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000)), and resolve all doubts in the Plaintiff's favor ( Jenkins v. McKeithen , 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969)).

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . .." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Id . at 1949.

A pleading may not simply allege a wrong has been committed and demand relief. The underlying requirement is that a pleading give "fair notice" of the claim being asserted and the "grounds upon which it rests." Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 47-48 (1957); Yamaguchi v. United States Department of Air Force , 109 F.3d 1475, 1481 (9th Cir. 1997).

If the Court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, leave to amend should be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment. Lopez v. Smith , 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). Dismissal of a pro se complaint for failure to state a claim is proper only where it is obvious that the Plaintiff cannot prevail on the facts that he has alleged and that an opportunity to amend would be futile. Lopez , at 1128.

B. Jurisdiction

Plaintiff contends jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343 and 1346. (Pl.'s Compl., ¶ 2, Doc. 1.) Jurisdiction is proper pursuant to Sections 1331 and 1343 because Plaintiff has asserted claims arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States. However, because the United States is not a party to this action, there is no jurisdiction under Section 1346.

C. Plaintiff's Title 42 and State Law Claims Are Barred By The Eleventh Amendment

The Eleventh Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that "[t]he Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State." The Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from hearing suits brought against a state by its own citizens or citizens of other states. Brooks v. Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Coop. , 951 F.2d 1050, 1053 (9th Cir. 1991). Under the Eleventh Amendment, agencies of the state are immune from private damages actions or suits for injunctive relief brought in federal court. Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984).

California courts, both state and federal, have consistently held that California public school districts and their subdivisions are state agencies for Eleventh Amendment purposes. See e.g., Jackson v. Hayakawa, 682 F.2d 1344, 1350 (9 th Cir. 1982) (California state colleges and universities are "dependent instrumentalities of the state"); Mitchell v. Los Angeles Community College Dist. , 861 F.2d 198, 201 (9th Cir. 1988) (noting that, because of the funding relationship that exists between California schools and the State of California, public school districts and their ...

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