United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS, DENYING MOTION TO
AMEND and CANCELLING MOTION HEARING DATE
L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
27, 2017, Plaintiff Matthew Carl Vogel filed a complaint
against the State of Michigan Department of Natural
Resources, the Michigan State Police Department, the
Tuscarora Township Police Department, and several law
enforcement officers within those departments. ECF No. 1.
Amended complaint was filed on September 14, 2017, which
added no new parties. ECF No. 4. The case was originally
assigned to Judge Laurie Michelson, but on March 26, 2018,
the case was reassigned to this Court pursuant to the
parties' consent. ECF No. 30. Before the transfer
occurred, Defendants Michigan Department of Natural Resources
and Michigan State Police Department filed a motion to
dismiss wherein they argued that the claims against them were
barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. On March 20, 2018,
Vogel filed a motion for leave to file a second amended
complaint. ECF No. 27. In the motion, Vogel indicates that
the second amended complaint will clarify that he is seeking
non-monetary relief from the state defendants. Neither party
has filed response briefs to the motions or indicated whether
they oppose the relief requested.
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) provides that a party may
amend its pleading with the court's leave and that
“the court should freely give leave when justice so
requires.” Denial of a motion to amend is appropriate,
however, “‘where there is ‘undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated
failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously
allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of
allowance of the amendment, futility of the amendment,
etc.'” Morse v. McWhorter, 290 F.3d 795,
800 (6th Cir. 2002) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371
U.S. 178, 182 (1962)).
amendment would be futile if the proposed amended complaint
does not state a claim upon which relief can be based. A
pleading fails to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) if it
does not contain allegations that support recovery under any
recognizable legal theory. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678, (2009). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion,
the Court construes the pleading in the non-movant's
favor and accepts the allegations of facts therein as true.
See Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 439 (6th Cir.
2008). The pleader need not provide “detailed factual
allegations” to survive dismissal, but the
“obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In essence,
the pleading “must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face” and “the tenet that a
court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in
a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79 (quotations and citation omitted).
State Defendants argue that they should be dismissed because
they are immune from suit pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment.
The Eleventh Amendment states: “The 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.” U.S.
Const., Am. Eleven. “The ultimate guarantee of the
Eleventh Amendment is that nonconsenting States may not be
sued by private individuals in federal court.” Bd.
of Trustees of Univ. of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S.
356, 363 (2001).
are several exceptions to Eleventh Amendment immunity.
First, Congress may abrogate immunity by statute where its
action is a proper exercise of constitutional power, as
discussed in Garrett. Second, the Amendment does not bar a
suit against a state official seeking prospective injunctive
relief to end a continuing violation of federal law. See Ex
parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 28 S.Ct. 441, 52 L.Ed. 714 (1908).
Finally, a state may waive Eleventh Amendment protection.
See Lawson v. Shelby County, 211 F.3d 331 (6th
Carten v. Kent State Univ., 282 F.3d 391, 398 (6th
motion for leave to amend, Vogel seeks leave to add a claim
for injunctive relief against the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources and Michigan State Police. But
“[i]njunctive relief is available under the Young
exception only against state officers-not the state
itself-who violate federal law.” Lawson v. Shelby
Cty., TN, 211 F.3d 331, 335 (6th Cir. 2000). Likewise,
Michigan has not consented to this suit, and Congress has not
abrogated state immunity through 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (which
is the statute Vogel relies upon for his causes of action).
See Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491
U.S. 58, 71 (1989) (“We hold that neither a State nor
its officials acting in their official capacities are
‘persons' under § 1983.”).
Vogel's claims against the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources and the Michigan State Police are barred by the
Eleventh Amendment regardless of whether he seeks injunctive
or monetary relief. The State Defendants' motion to
dismiss will be granted, and Vogel's motion for leave to
amend will be denied.
it is ORDERED that the State Defendants'
motion to dismiss, ECF No. 25, is GRANTED.
further ORDERED that Defendant Michigan
Department of Natural Resources and Defendant Michigan State
Police Department are DISMISSED.
further ORDERED that Plaintiff Vogel's
motion for leave to amend, ECF No. 27, is
further ORDERED that the motion hearings set
for June 6, 2018, at ...