616 F.3d 963 (9th Cir. 2010), 08-17523, Krainski v. Nevada ex rel. Bd. of Regents of Nevada System of Higher Educ.

Docket Nº:08-17523.
Citation:616 F.3d 963
Opinion Judge:THOMAS, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:Megan KRAINSKI, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. State of NEVADA ex rel. BOARD OF REGENTS OF the NEVADA SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION, on behalf of University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Rebecca Mill; Richard Clark; Phillip Burns; Nannette Jiminez; Susan Carrasco; Tyree Pini; Leslie Wallenfeldt; Brett Goff; L. Tramposch; J. Culver; Kenya Polee, Defendants-Appellees.
Attorney:Jason Bach; Las Vegas, NV; for the appellant. Richard C. Linstrom; Las Vegas, NV; Susan Carrasco O'Brien; Las Vegas, NV; Christian James Gabroy; Henderson, NV; for the appellees.
Judge Panel:Before: BETTY B. FLETCHER, SIDNEY R. THOMAS and N. RANDY SMITH, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge THOMAS; Partial Concurrence and Partial Dissent by Judge B. FLETCHER. B. FLETCHER, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part:
Case Date:August 02, 2010
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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616 F.3d 963 (9th Cir. 2010)

Megan KRAINSKI, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

State of NEVADA ex rel. BOARD OF REGENTS OF the NEVADA SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION, on behalf of University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Rebecca Mill; Richard Clark; Phillip Burns; Nannette Jiminez; Susan Carrasco; Tyree Pini; Leslie Wallenfeldt; Brett Goff; L. Tramposch; J. Culver; Kenya Polee, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 08-17523.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

August 2, 2010

Argued Dec. 3, 2009.

Submitted Aug. 2, 2010.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Jason Bach; Las Vegas, NV; for the appellant.

Richard C. Linstrom; Las Vegas, NV; Susan Carrasco O'Brien; Las Vegas, NV; Christian James Gabroy; Henderson, NV; for the appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, James C. Mahan, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. 2:08-cv-00417-JCM-GWF.

Before: BETTY B. FLETCHER, SIDNEY R. THOMAS and N. RANDY SMITH, Circuit Judges.

Opinion by Judge THOMAS; Partial Concurrence and Partial Dissent by Judge B. FLETCHER.

OPINION

THOMAS, Circuit Judge:

Megan Krainski appeals the district court's dismissal of her Section 1983 action against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (" UNLV" ) 1 and various UNLV employees (" UNLV Employees" ) 2 in their

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personal and official capacities. Krainski alleges constitutional and state law violations arising from an altercation with her former roommate, Kenya Polee, that led to Krainski's arrest and subjection to university discipline. 3 The district court dismissed Krainski's federal claims with prejudice and declined to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.

I

According to Krainski's complaint, Krainski and Polee roomed together in residential housing at UNLV. According to the complaint, Polee was " a prominent student-athlete at UNLV, listed on the University's website as ‘ the top long jumper for the Rebels ... among the top long jumpers in the MWC (Mountain West Conference).’ " Krainski's complaint states that her troubles began on September 10, 2007, when she met with Defendant Wallenfeldt and " advised her of on-going harassing and threatening behavior" by Polee. Krainski alleges that, in " retaliation for her making a complaint against a star athlete" :

27. On September 11, 2007, Defendants WALLEN-FELDT and PINI contacted Defendant POLEE, without Plaintiff's consent and in breach of confidentiality, and informed her of the allegations made by Plaintiff and conspired with Defendant POLEE to fabricate a story about Plaintiff attempting to attack POLEE with a pair of scissors, all before Plaintiff would have an opportunity to file a formal complaint against Defendant POLEE.

28. Defendants WALLENFELDT, PINI, and POLEE then contacted UNLV Police and made false statements to police officer [sic] in an attempt to have Plaintiff arrested.

29. Defendant Officers GOFF, TRAMPOSCH, and CULVER, knew, or should have known, that the allegations made by Defendant POLEE were false, but arrested Plaintiff for the alleged crime of Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

30. Prior to making the arrest, Defendant Officers GOFF, TRAMPOSCH, and CULVER did not conduct any investigation into the claims made by Defendant POLEE, and had no probable cause or warrant to arrest Plaintiff.

As a result of these actions, Krainski alleges that she was wrongly incarcerated, restricted of her liberty, and subjected to psychological harm.

Krainski further alleges that UNLV, Mills, Clark, Burns, Jiminez, and Carrasco then proceeded to wrongly initiate student disciplinary proceedings against her. Her complaint explains:

32. In October 2007, Defendants UNLV, MILLS, CLARK, BURNS, JIMENEZ, and CARRASCO brought formal charges against Plaintiff for alleged violations of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Student Conduct Code....

33. Defendants UNLV, MILLS, CLARK, BURNS, JIMENEZ, and CARRASCO failed to provide Plaintiff

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with proper notice of the formal hearing....

34. Defendants UNLV, MILLS, CLARK, BURNS, JIMENEZ, and CARRASCO held a formal hearing on November 13, 2007, at which time they each failed to allow Plaintiff to be represented and/or assisted by her advisers, despite the explicit representation made by Defendants that Plaintiff would be allowed to be represented and/or assisted by said advisers, intentionally causing Plaintiff to be ineffective at representing herself at said hearing....

35. Despite the fact that no evidence was ever presented to support any of the allegations made against Plaintiff, Defendants UNLV, MILLS, CLARK, BURNS, JIMENEZ, and CARRASCO found Plaintiff to be " Responsible" of said charges, completely ignoring the evidence that exonerated Plaintiff, forever tarnishing the educational transcript and record of Plaintiff, as well as causing severe psychological and physical injuries....

Krainski alleges that the defendants' actions " depriv[ed] her of the opportunity to obtain an education and further her career."

Krainski raised three constitutional claims before the district court: procedural due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; substantive due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; and Fourth Amendment unlawful arrest and imprisonment. In addition to monetary damages, she sought " a Permanent Injunction, prohibiting the Defendants and their agents from placing a hold on her academic transcript or placing any notation of findings or sanctions against her in her student file or upon her transcript."

UNLV and the UNLV Employees subsequently filed a motion to dismiss Krainski's complaint. The district court granted the motion, reasoning that Eleventh Amendment immunity barred Krainski's constitutional claims against UNLV and the UNLV Employees in their official capacities, and that qualified immunity barred Krainski's federal claims against the UNLV Employees in their personal capacities. Additionally, the district court determined that Krainski failed to state a claim for violation of her Fourth Amendment rights, her substantive due process rights, and her procedural due process rights. After dismissing Krainski's federal claims with prejudice, the district court declined to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. This timely appeal followed.

II

The district court did not err in dismissing Krainski's claims against UNLV and the UNLV Employees in their official capacities, a decision we review de novo. Yakama Indian Nation v. State of Wash. Dep't of Revenue, 176 F.3d 1241, 1245 (9th Cir.1999).

" The Eleventh Amendment bars suits against the State or its agencies for all types of relief, absent unequivocal consent by the state." Romano v. Bible, 169 F.3d 1182, 1185 (9th Cir.1999) (citing Pennhurst v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100, 104 S.Ct. 900, 79 L.Ed.2d 67 (1984)). The Eleventh Amendment jurisdictional bar applies regardless of the nature of relief sought and extends to state instrumentalities and agencies. See Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 276, 106 S.Ct. 2932, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986).

Eleventh Amendment immunity also shields state officials from official capacity suits. See Central Reserve Life of N. Am. Ins. Co. v. Struve (" Central Reserve" ), 852 F.2d 1158, 1160-61 (9th Cir.1988). A narrow exception exists " where

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the relief sought is prospective in nature and is based on an ongoing violation of the plaintiff's federal constitutional or statutory rights." Id. at 1161 (emphasis in original); see also Papasan, 478 U.S. at 277-78, 106 S.Ct. 2932; Indep. Living Ctr. of S. Cal., Inc. v. Maxwell-Jolly, 572 F.3d 644, 660 (9th Cir.2009) (" [A] plaintiff may ... maintain a federal action to compel a state official's prospective compliance with the plaintiff's federal rights." ) (citations omitted).

We conclude that the district court properly dismissed Krainski's claims against UNLV under the Eleventh Amendment. Krainski concedes that the Nevada University system and its constituent institutions are agencies and instrumentalities of the State of Nevada within the meaning of the Eleventh Amendment. See Disabled Rights Action Comm. v. Las Vegas Events, Inc., 375 F.3d 861, 883 n. 17 (9th Cir.2004) (noting that the Nevada System of Higher Education is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment). Accordingly, the district court properly dismissed Krainski's claims against UNLV.

The district court also properly dismissed the claims against the UNLV Employees in their official capacities. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71, 109 S.Ct. 2304, 105 L.Ed.2d 45 (1989) (clarifying that suits against state officials in their official capacity are no different from suits against the state itself).

Krainski also asserts a theory under Monell that her constitutional rights were infringed by a " de facto policy" of UNLV and the UNLV Employees. See Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs. of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n. 55, 691, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978). However, the Supreme Court has expressly declined to extend Monell 's theory of municipal liability under § 1983 to state entities. Will, 491 U.S. at 70-71, 109 S.Ct. 2304. Accordingly, Krainski may not bring an action against UNLV or the UNLV Employees in their official capacities under Monell.

III

The district court properly dismissed Krainski's constitutional claims against the UNLV Employees in their personal capacities on the basis of qualified immunity.

State officials are entitled to qualified immunity from suits for damages " insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or...

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