Noonan v. Galvin et al
District Judge Leo T. Sorokin: ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS entered. For the foregoing reasons, the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 13) is ALLOWED and this case is DISMISSED. re 13 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Simeone, Maria)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
RORY O’DONNELL NOONAN,
Case No. 17-cv-11273-LTS
WILLIAM FRANCIS GALVIN, OFFICE )
OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE, et al. )
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
February 9, 2018
Rory Noonan filed a complaint against the Massachusetts Commission Against
Discrimination (“MCAD”) and the Commonwealth’s Secretary of State alleging disability
discrimination in violation of Title I. Doc. No. 1. Previously, the court dismissed Noonan’s
claims against MCAD on sovereign immunity grounds, Doc. No. 5, subject to Noonan showing a
basis to proceed. See id. Noonan made a filing, Doc. No. 10; however, it does not establish a
basis to sue MCAD. Noonan proceeded to serve his complaint against the Secretary of State who
now moves to dismiss. Doc. No. 13. Noonan has opposed. Doc. No. 17.
Insofar as Noonan sues the Secretary in his official capacity, the Commonwealth’s
sovereign immunity recognized by the Eleventh Amendment bars the claim. See Bd. of Trustees
of Univ. of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 363 (2001) (acknowledging the extension of the
Eleventh Amendment to suits by citizens against their own states). Congress did not abrogate the
Commonwealth’s immunity in Title I, id. at 361-374, and the Secretary has not waived it.
Moreover, a suit against an official of the state is a suit against the state. Will v. Michigan Dep’t
of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 70-71 (1989). 1 The Court notes that the Eleventh Amendment is not
a bar to a suit against the Commonwealth in state court.
Insofar as Noonan sues the Secretary in his individual capacity, the complaint fails to
state a claim. Title I authorizes suit only against a “covered entity,” which is the employer. 42
U.S.C. §§ 12112(a); 12111(2). Noonan’s employer was the Massachusetts Historical
Commission, a division of the Secretary of State’s office. His employer was not the Secretary in
his individual private capacity, and Title I does not authorize suits against individuals, Lemire v.
Silva, 104 F. Supp. 2d 80, 92 (D. Mass. 2000).
For the foregoing reasons, the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 13) is ALLOWED and this
case is DISMISSED.
/s/ Leo T. Sorokin
Leo T. Sorokin
United States District Judge
Claims for injunctive relief are not barred, Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), but Noonan’s
Complaint seeks only money damages, Doc. No. 1 at 8.
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