United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
RODRIGUEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
day, the Court considered the partial motion to dismiss
(docket no. 39) brought by Defendant Sean Callahan. After
carefully considering the motion and supporting and opposing
memoranda, the court grants the partial motion to dismiss.
February 14, 2017, the San Antonio Police Department
(“SAPD”) and University of Texas at San Antonio
(“UTSA”) dispatched several police officers,
including Defendant Sean Callahan (“Callahan”),
who worked at UTSA-PD, to Highview Place Apartments to
respond to a shooting. Callahan knocked on Plaintiff Jonathan
Lee Richardson's apartment door after receiving a
bystander tip that the apartment was a “trap
house.” Docket no. 1-6 at 5. Plaintiff opened the door
and alleges his pants started to fall as he was coming
outside. Id. As Plaintiff moved to pull up his
pants, Plaintiff alleges that Callahan pushed Plaintiff
against a wall and then took Plaintiff to the ground.
Id. Plaintiff alleges Callahan threw him onto a bed
of rocks and shoved his knee into Plaintiff's back.
Id. Callahan allegedly then placed Plaintiff in
handcuffs and threw him down on a curb. Id.
February 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed his original petition in
the 45th District Court in Bexar County, Texas, bringing
multiple state and federal claims against multiple
defendants, including Callahan individually and in his
official capacity as a UTSA police officer, and UTSA. Docket
no. 21. Defendants then removed to this court on March 18,
2019. Docket no.1. On May 31, 2019, this Court dismissed any
§ 1983 claims against UTSA and Callahan in his official
capacity. Docket no. 21 at 5. The Court also dismissed
without prejudice all state-law claims against UTSA pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). Id. at 12. The Court
further denied Plaintiff's request for leave to amend as
to UTSA. Id. at 14. Plaintiff's federal and
state-law claims against Callahan individually remain.
filed his first amended complaint on June 21, 2019. Docket
no. 25. Plaintiff again brings multiple federal claims under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and multiple state-law claims against
Callahan individually and in his official capacity.
Id. Plaintiff further alleges Callahan acted
ultra vires during his encounter with Plaintiff, is
a person under § 1983, and deprived Plaintiff of rights,
privileges, and immunities afforded to him by the
Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of
Texas while “[a]cting under the color [of state]
law.” Id. at 11, 14, 15, 17, 23.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), Callahan moves
to dismiss Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against him in
his official capacity based on Eleventh Amendment immunity,
and to dismiss Plaintiff's state-law claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress based on Section
101.106 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Docket
no. 39. In opposition, Plaintiff argues the § 1983
claims “preempt any conceivable provision of section
01.106 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies
Code.” Docket no. 40 at 10.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows dismissal of a
complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A
plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face” to survive a
motion to dismiss. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility
when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A complaint need not
contain detailed factual allegations; however, the
plaintiff's obligation in providing the grounds for
relief requires more than mere labels, conclusions, or
formulaic recitals of the elements for a cause of action.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The court accepts
all well-pleaded facts as true but not conclusory
allegations, legal conclusions, or unwarranted deductions of
fact. Tuchman v. DSC Commc'ns. Corp., 14 F.3d
1067 (5th Cir. 1994); see also Plotkin v. IP Axess
Inc., 407 F.3d 690, 696 (5th Cir. 2005) (“We do
not accept as true conclusory allegations, unwarranted
factual inferences, or legal conclusions”).
Section 1983 claims against Callahan in his official
argues Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against him in his
official capacity are barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
Docket no. 39 at 3. For the reasons stated below, the court
agrees and grants the partial motion to dismiss these claims.
official capacity suit brought under § 1983 against a
state official is treated as if the suit is against the state
entity. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165
(1985). In the instant case, Plaintiff's § 1983
claims for damages against Callahan in his official capacity
are treated as suits against UTSA, which is not a
“person” amenable to suits under § 1983.
See Stotter v. Univ. of Tex. at San Antonio, 508
F.3d 812, 821 (5th Cir. 2007) (holding a state university is
an arm of the state and not a “person” under
§ 1983). Further, such an action for damages brought
against UTSA in federal court is barred by the Eleventh
Amendment. U.S. Const. amend. XI; see Will v. Michigan
Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989) (holding
§ 1983 does not abrogate a State's Eleventh
Amendment immunity). An award for damages on an
official-capacity claim would not be paid individually by
Callahan, but by UTSA, and is thus barred by the Eleventh
Amendment. See Kentucky, 473 U.S. at 166 (clarifying
recovery of damages in an official capacity suit must be from
the government entity and not an official's personal
alleges that Callahan acted ultra vires and is thus
stripped of any immunity defense. Docket no. 25 ¶ 39,
42; docket no. 40 at 4. While Eleventh Amendment immunity is
broad to necessarily preserve the principles of federalism,
it does not categorically bar a private citizen's suits
against a state officer in their official capacity.
Fontenot v. McCraw, 777 F.3d 741, 752 (5th Cir.
2015). In Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), the
Supreme Court created an “exception” to Eleventh
Amendment sovereign immunity on the theory that an ultra
vires act “is simply an illegal act upon the part
of a state official in attempting, by the use of the name of
the state, to enforce a legislative enactment which is void
because unconstitutional.” Id. “In
determining whether the doctrine of Ex parte Young
avoids an Eleventh Amendment bar to suit, a court need only
conduct a ‘straightforward inquiry into whether [the]
complaint alleges an ongoing ...