891 F.3d 1147 (9th Cir. 2018), 17-56110, Doe v. Regents of the University of California

Docket Nº:17-56110
Citation:891 F.3d 1147
Opinion Judge:TASHIMA, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:John DOE, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA; Suzanne Perkin, in her official capacity, Defendants-Appellants.
Attorney:Bradley S. Phillips (argued) and Hailyn J. Chen, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP, Los Angeles, California; Jonathan D. Miller and Alison M. Bernal, Nye Peabody Stirling Hale & Miller LLP, Santa Barbara, California; for Defendants-Appellants. Scott Michael McLeod (argued) and Christopher J. Mead, Cooper...
Judge Panel:Before: A. Wallace Tashima and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges, and Michael H. Simon, District Judge.
Case Date:June 06, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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891 F.3d 1147 (9th Cir. 2018)

John DOE, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA; Suzanne Perkin, in her official capacity, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 17-56110

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

June 6, 2018

Argued and Submitted March 9, 2018, Pasadena, California

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Stephen V. Wilson, District Judge, Presiding, D.C. No. 2:15-cv-2478 SVW-JEM

SUMMARY[**]

Civil Rights

The panel reversed the district court’s denial of a motion to dismiss a second a mended complaint on Eleventh Amendment immunity, judicial exhaustion, and a bstentiong rounds, and in a concurrently filed order, the panel g ranted appellants’ request for publication.

Plaintiff, a male University of California student, sued The Regents of the University of California and the assistant dean o f students at University of California, Santa Barbara, after he was disciplined for the sexual assault of a female student during a trip to Lake Tahoe. Plaintiff denied the assault and instead asserted that the sexual encounter was consensual. He filed an action against The Regents bringing claims under Title IX, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law, and also sought, in his second amended complaint, a writ of administrative mandamus under California Code of Civil Procedure § 1094.5, alleging that the University held an unfair hearing and that its disciplinary hearing was not supported by the evidence.

The panel first rejected plaintiff’s assertion that The Regents waived their argument that Eleventh Amendment immunity barred the § 1094.5 petition. The panel then held that Eleventh Amendment principles required dismissal of plaintiff’s § 1094.5 writ petition because the petition involved a state law claim and the prospective injunctive relief exception to the Eleventh Amendment bar, as set forth in Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), does not apply when a suit seeks relief under state law.

The panel exercised pendent appellate jurisdiction over The Regents’ appeal from the order denying dismissal of plaintiff’s § 1983 claims and Title IX claims for failure to exhaust judicial remedies. The panel held that plaintiff’s § 1983 and Title IX claims were precluded because he failed to exhaust judicial remedies by filing a § 1094.5 writ petition in state court. The panel noted that although a plaintiff is not required by statute to file a § 1094.5 petition in state court, in this case the Eleventh Amendment barred plaintiff from filing his writ petition in federal court. Therefore, plaintiff had not exhausted his judicial remedies.

The panel reversed the judgment and remanded to t he district court with instructions to dismiss plaintiff’s § 1094.5 writ claim with prejudice, but without prejudice to refiling in state court, and his § 1983, Title IX, and declaratory relief claims without prejudice.

Bradley S. Phillips (argued) and Hailyn J. Chen, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP, Los Angeles, California; Jonathan D. Miller and Alison M. Bernal, Nye Peabody Stirling Hale & Miller LLP, Santa Barbara, California; for Defendants-Appellants.

Scott Michael McLeod (argued) and Christopher J. Mead, Cooper White & Cooper LLP, San Francisco, California; Kimberly C. Lau (argued), Warshaw Burstein LLP, New York, New York; for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: A. Wallace Tashima and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges, and Michael H. Simon,[*] District Judge.

ORDER AND OPINION

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TASHIMA, Circuit Judge:

The request of Defendants-Appellants for publication is granted. The Memorandum filed March 27, 2018, 2018 WL 1476666, is withdrawn and replaced by the Opinion filed concurrently with this order.

Plaintiff-Appellee’s petition for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc is denied as moot. Further petitions for rehearing may be filed with respect to the Opinion within the time permitted by the Rules.

In this interlocutory appeal, The Regents of the University of California ("The Regents") and Suzanne Perkin ("Perkin"), the assistant dean of students at the University of California at Santa Barbara ("UCSB"), appeal the district court’s denial of their motion to dismiss John Doe’s ("Doe") second amended complaint ("SAC") on Eleventh Amendment immunity, judicial exhaustion, and Younger abstention grounds. We reverse.

I. BACKGROUND

The merits of Doe’s lawsuit are not before us, so we recite only in brief the factual basis of his claims.1 The procedural history of the case is more germane to the issues on appeal.

A. Doe’s Suspension

Doe, a male UCSB student, sued The Regents and Perkin after he was disciplined for the sexual assault of a female UCSB student, Jane Doe ("Jane") during a trip to Lake Tahoe. Doe denies that he assaulted Jane and instead contends that the sexual encounter, which occurred in June 2014, was consensual.

On November 6, 2014, UCSB notified Doe that he had been charged with sexual assault in violation of the university’s code of conduct. A week later, Doe had a meeting with Perkin, at which she read Doe a statement that Jane had written. On November 25, UCSB informed Doe that on December 11, an adjudicatory committee would hold a hearing on the assault charges. Two days before the hearing, Perkin provided Doe with an investigative report that she produced based on interviews with Doe, Jane, and other witnesses. The committee later held a second hearing, on December 19, before which Perkin completed a second investigative report. Shortly after the second hearing, the committee found Doe responsible for Jane’s sexual assault and recommended the university suspend him for two quarters. In January 2015, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Young upheld the decision and, on February 16, 2015, UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang denied Doe’s appeal.

B. Complaint and First Motion to Dismiss

In April 2015, Doe filed this action against The Regents, alleging that the committee had "no basis" for its decision.2 Doe brought a Title IX claim,3 a claim

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under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his procedural due process rights, and numerous state law claims. Doe alleged that UCSB discriminated against him because of his male sex via a "non-exhaustive list" of wrongful actions, including preventing him from presenting character evidence and disciplining him on the basis of investigative reports that...

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