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Doe v. Regents of University of California

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

June 6, 2018

John Doe, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Regents of the University of California; Suzanne Perkin, in her official capacity, Defendants-Appellants.

          Submitted March 9, 2018 Pasadena, California

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

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

         ORDER AND OPINION

         SUMMARY[**]

         Civil Rights

         The panel reversed the district court's denial of a motion to dismiss a second amended complaint on Eleventh Amendment immunity, judicial exhaustion, and abstention grounds, and in a concurrently filed order, the panel granted appellants' request for publication.

         Plaintiff, a male University of California student, sued The Regents of the University of California and the assistant dean of 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 the 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..

         ORDER

         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.

          OPINION

          TASHIMA, Circuit Judge:

         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. ...


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