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McPike-McDyess v. Regents of University of Michigan

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

February 12, 2015

TIA D. McPIKE-McDYESS, Plaintiff,
v.
REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Defendants.

PRESENT Honorable Gerald E. Rosen United States District Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT, IN ITS ENTIRETY

Gerald E. Rosen Chief Judge, United States District Court

On December 9, 2014, Plaintiff Tia D. McPike-McDyess, acting pro se, filed the instant action against the Regents of the University of Michigan seeking compensatory and punitive damages arising out of the termination of her parental rights and her allegedly involuntary hospitalization in the adult psychiatric unit of the University of Michigan Hospital in May-June 2010.[1] On January 22, 2015, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause, directing Plaintiff to show cause in writing why this case should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and/or because the action is barred by the applicable statute of limitations or by application of the doctrines of res judicata or collateral estoppel. Plaintiff timely responded to the Show Cause Order.

Having reviewed Plaintiff’s Complaint, her response to the Order to Show Cause, and the entire record of this action, the Court concludes that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain Plaintiff’s suit.

It is settled that a court may sua sponte raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction because of the applicability of the Eleventh Amendment. See Estate of Ritter v. University of Michigan, 851 F.2d 846, 851 (6th Cir. 1988) (citation omitted). Application of the Eleventh Amendment “partakes in the nature of a jurisdictional bar” that may be raised at any stage of the proceedings and even sua sponte. Id. (quoting Ford Motor Co. In Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury of the State of Indiana, 323 U.S. 459, 462, 65 S.Ct. 347, 349 (1985).

The Eleventh Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, bars suits against a State or its agencies or employees acting in their official capacity, unless Congress has abrogated its sovereign immunity or the state has expressly waived it. Virginia Office for Protection & Advocacy v. Stewart, __U.S. __, 131 S.Ct. 1632, 1637-38, 179 L.Ed.2d 675 (2011). This sovereign immunity bars not only federal constitutional claims against state agencies but ancillary state law claims, as well. See Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 120-21, 104 S.Ct. 900, 79 L.Ed.2d 67 (1983) (“This constitutional bar applies to pendent claims as well.”). The Board of Regents of the University of Michigan is an arm of the State of Michigan, and hence is cloaked with sovereign immunity. Estate of Ritter v. University of Michigan, 851 F.2d at 850-51. That immunity has not been waived. The Court, therefore, has no jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s Complaint because the Eleventh Amendment constitutes a bar to her action.[2]

For all of the foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Complaint be, and hereby is, DISMISSED, in its entirety.


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