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Lear v. Seattle Housing Authority

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 7, 2013

ROB LEAR, Plaintiff,
v.
SEATTLE HOUSING AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

JAMES L. ROBART, District Judge.

Before the court is Defendant the State of Washington's ("the State") motion to dismiss plaintiff Rob Lear's complaint. (Mot. (Dkt. # 48).) Mr. Lear has sued the Seattle Housing Authority, the City of Seattle, and numerous other defendants in addition to the State. ( See Am. Compl. (Dkt. # 46).) He alleges civil conspiracy, industrial espionage, housing discrimination, and other causes of action, claiming that he was "snatched. Kidnapped. Entrapped. Ensnared." ( Id. at 12.) He alleges numerous instances of harm directed at him by Defendants. ( Id. at 12-27.)

The State moves to dismiss under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The State argues that it is immune from suit in federal court under the Eleventh Amendment and that, accordingly, it should be dismissed from this action with prejudice.

The court agrees. Under the Eleventh Amendment and the doctrine of sovereign immunity, states may not be sued in federal court unless they have consented or sovereign immunity has been abrogated. Alaska Cargo Transp, Inc. v. Alaska R.R. Corp., 5 F.3d 378, 379 (9th Cir. 1993). The State has not consented to being sued in federal court. See, e.g., Marshall v. Labor & Indus., State of Washington, 89 F.Supp.2d 4, 12 (D.D.C. 2000) ("Nothing in Washington's law expressly or otherwise consents to suit in federal court."); Hennessey v. State of Wash., Dep't of Soc. & Health Servs., 627 F.Supp. 137, 139 (E.D. Wash. 1985). Further, Mr. Lear does not make any argument with respect to abrogation ( see Resp.), nor does he assert any causes of action for which there is a plausible basis for arguing abrogation ( see Am. Compl.). Thus, the State may not be sued. Alaska Cargo Transp., 5 F.3d at 379.

In response to the State's motion, Mr. Lear cites several cases that do not apply here, including DeShaney v. Winnebago Cnty. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189 (1989) and Cnty. of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833 (1998). These are both cases naming counties as defendants, not states. Thus, these cases do not provide a basis for Mr. Lear to get around Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity.

For the foregoing reasons, the State's motion is GRANTED and the State is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as a defendant in this action.


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