United States District Court, E.D. California
TIMOTHY A. KERSTEN, D.D.S., Plaintiff,
STATE OF CALIFORNIA FRANCHISE TAX BOARD, et al, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANTS' AND LUIS R.
DOMINICIS'S MOTIONS TO DISMISS
MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
first glance, this case involves a dentist's
constitutional challenge to California's tax system. But
a closer look reveals salient procedural issues about
federalism, proper service, and Eleventh Amendment immunity.
Plaintiff Timothy A. Kersten, D.D.S. challenges
California's statutory tax scheme. First Am. Compl.
(“FAC”), ECF No. 12. Now before the Court are two
motions to dismiss. ECF No. 15 (“Individual
Defendants' MTD”); ECF No. 17
(“Dominicis's MTD”). Kersten offers no
opposition to the substantive legal arguments raised in these
motions. ECF No. 20. For the reasons set forth below both
motions are granted and the FAC is dismissed in its
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
has a statutory scheme for handling delinquent taxpayers.
Section 19195 requires the California Franchise Tax Board
(“FTB”) to biannually compile and publish a list
of the 500 largest state income tax delinquencies. Cal. Rev.
& Tax. Code § 19195 (West 2012). And Section 494.5
requires the FTB to create a “certified list” of
those taxpayers and mandates the Board of Dentistry
(“Board”) (which is part of the Department of
Consumer Affairs (“DCA”)) and the Department of
Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) to revoke the licenses of
taxpayers on the delinquency list unless they obtain a
release. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 494.5 (West 2013).
Timothy A. Kersten's name appeared on the FTB list in
October 2013. FAC ¶ 118. The Board and DCA suspended
Kersten's dental license, and he could not renew it.
Id. ¶¶ 70-72. He also could not renew his
revoked driver's license. Id. ¶¶
80-83. So Kersten challenged California's tax scheme in a
§ 1983 suit. He alleged that several California agencies
and officials violated his procedural due process,
substantive due process, and equal protection rights. See
generally FAC. He also claimed California's
statutory scheme violated the supremacy clause. Id.
Kersten seeks monetary, declarative, and injunctive relief.
Id. at 47-50.
named all of the following defendants in the FAC: the FTB,
the DCA, the Board, and the DMV (“State
Agencies”); Betty T. Yee, Jerome Horton, Michael Cohen,
Selvi Stanislaus, John Chiang, Awet Kidane, Alexis Podesta,
Spencer L. Walker, Steven G. Morrow, Judith Forsythe, Steven
Afriat, Fran Burton, Stephen Casagrande, Yvette
Chappel-Ingram, Katie Dawson, Luis R. Dominicis, Kathleen
King, Ross Lai, Huong Le, Meredith McKenzie, Thomas Stewart,
Bruce L. Whitcher, Debra Woo, Karen Fischer, Dawn Dill, Jean
Shiomoto, David P. Harris, and Fiona Ma (“Individual
Defendants”) (collectively “Defendants”).
after filing his FAC, Kersten moved to voluntarily dismiss
the FTB, the Board, and the DMV, leaving the DCA as the only
remaining state agency. ECF No. 19. The Court granted his
motion without prejudice. ECF No. 21.
leaves Defendants' motions to dismiss. All individual
defendants-except Luis R. Dominicis and Dawn Dill-bring the
first motion. See generally Individual
Defendants' MTD. Dominicis brings the second motion.
See generally Dominicis's MTD. Neither Dawn Dill
nor the DCA is a party to either motion to dismiss. Kersten
opposes only the Individual Defendants' motion.
See Opp'n at 1. The Individual Defendants and
Dominicis filed a joint reply. See Reply at 2 n.1.
Individual Defendants and Dominicis separately request
judicial notice for the same documents: (1) Kersten's
Petition for Writ of Mandamus (attached to Request for
Judicial Notice [“RJN”] as Exh. A); (2)
Kersten's First Amended Petition for Writ of Mandamus
(attached to RJN as Exh. B); and (3) the Shasta County
Superior Court's Final Ruling on Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings (attached to RJN as Exh. C). See
Individual Defendants' RJN, ECF No. 15-3, at 2. See
also Dominicis's RJN, ECF No. 17-1, at 2. All
documents arise from the state court case.
may take judicial notice of a fact that is not reasonably
disputed if it “can be accurately and readily
determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be
questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)(2). On a motion to
dismiss, courts may consider “matters of public
record.” Northstar Fin. Advisors Inc. v. Schwab
Inv., 779 F.3d 1036, 1042 (9th Cir. 2015) (internal
citation omitted). “Matters of public record”
include court filings. See Reyn's Pasta Bella, LLC v.
Visa USA, Inc., 442 F.3d 741, 746 n.6 (9th Cir. 2006)
(courts may take judicial notice of court filings and other
matters of public record).
Court takes judicial notice of Kersten's Petition, his
First Amended Petition, and the Superior Court's Final
Ruling because they constitute matters ...