Yousssef v. Schuette et al
ORDER denying 25 Motion for Preliminary Injunction; granting 26 Motion to Dismiss; finding as moot 33 Motion to Amend/Correct; finding as moot 36 Motion to Start Discovery ; finding as moot 37 Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Brief. Signed by District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. (CPin)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No.: 17-10610
Honorable Victoria A. Roberts
BILL SCHUETTE, ET AL.,
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS [DOC. #26]
INTRODUCTION and BACKGROUND
On September 18, 2014, the Michigan Board of Medicine (“Board”), through its
Disciplinary Committee, filed a complaint against Abdelmagid Youssef (“Youssef”) for
prescribing 25,475 controlled substances between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013.
Youssef was presented with a settlement offer. He rejected it and attended a
disciplinary hearing instead. At the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
issued a Proposal – adopted by the Board – that Youssef’s license be suspended.
Youssef applied for reinstatement; the Board denied the request.
Youssef exhausted appeals in the state court system and has an appeal pending
in the Michigan Supreme Court. Youssef filed suit in the Eastern District of Michigan
against Bill Schuette, Dennis Szymanski, Robert Regan, Andrew Hudson, Jessica
Taub, Peter Graham, Kim Gaedeke (collectively “Defendants”). He asks the Court for
redress not afforded to him through state court litigation.
Defendants move to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Among other
arguments, Defendants say Youssef’s claims are barred by the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine, Younger abstention, absolute immunity and Eleventh Amendment immunity.
The Court addresses each of these, but finds the Rooker-Feldman doctrine is
dispositive on all claims.
The Court GRANTS Defendants’ motion.
A complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations to survive a 12 (b)(6)
motion. Bell Atlantic Corp. v Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citing Sanjuan v.
American Bd. of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251 (C.A. 1994)). Fed. R.
Civ. P. 8(a) requires a complaint to set forth “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,” as well as a “demand for the relief sought.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this rule is to give defendant fair notice of
what is set forth in the plaintiff’s claim and “the grounds upon which it rests.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957). “Notice” pleading
does not require detailed factual allegations, but does require more than a bare
assertion of legal conclusions. Id. A complaint “does not suffice if it tenders ‘naked
assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.’ ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
A. Role of Defendants
It is helpful to outline the role these Defendants played in the underlying state
1. Andrew Hudson (“Hudson”), Assistant Attorney General, served as Attorney for
the Board and filed a complaint against Youssef. Youssef says Hudson abused
his authority as attorney for the Board because he did not respond to a motion
2. Jessica Taub (“Taub”), Assistant Attorney General, served as Attorney for the
Board. Youssef alleges Taub conspired with Hudson and the Administrative Law
3. Robert Regan (“Regan”) works for the Michigan Department of Licensing and
Regulatory Affairs. He conducted an investigation of Youssef’s practice. Youssef
accuses Regan of perjury and infringement. He does not say what Regan
4. Dennis Szymanski (“Szymanski”) is a member of the Board. Youssef says
Szymanski presented a final order for a vote without reviewing Youssef’s
exceptions to the ALJ’s Proposal;
5. Bill Schuette (“Schuette”) is Attorney General for the State of Michigan. He had
no personal involvement in Youssef’s state case. Youssef alleges that Schuette
failed to comply with Youssef’s request to remove Hudson from his licensing
hearing. Youssef says Schuette’s failure to remove Hudson was gross
negligence and obstruction of justice;
6. Peter Graham (“Graham”) is the Chairperson of the Michigan Board of Medicine;
7. Kim Gaedeke (“Gaedeke”) was a Director for the Bureau of Professional
8. Dr. John Hopper (“Hopper”) is referred to as an expert witness by Youssef.
Youssef says he committed perjury at the hearing;
9. Adam Sadowski (“Sadowski”) is an Assistant Attorney General; and
10. Mark Donnelly (“Donnelly”) is an Assistant Attorney General.
B. The Rooker-Feldman Doctrine Bars Youssef’s Claims
The Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars a claim when, “a plaintiff complains of injury
from the state court judgment itself.” Coles v. Granville, 448 F.3d 853, 858 (6th Cir.
2006). When the source of the injury claimed is a state court decision, the RookerFeldman doctrine prevents the district court from asserting jurisdiction and the court
must dismiss the claim. Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 94 (1998).
Youssef complains that the state court orders are unsound; he asks the Court to
overrule them. This is the very type of appellate review which the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine bars. All of his claims are precluded.
C. Any Claims that May Arise on Appeal are Barred by Younger Abstention
Defendants argue any claims that may arise on appeal are barred by Younger
There are three requirements that must be met for Younger abstention to apply:
“(1) there must be ongoing state judicial proceedings; (2) those proceedings must
implicate important state interests; and (3) there must be an adequate opportunity in the
state proceedings to raise constitutional challenges.” Squire v. Coughlan, 469 F.3d 551,
555 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Sun Ref. & Mktg. Co. v. Brennan, 921 F.2d 635, 639 (6th
Cir. 1990). Squire noted that federal courts should abstain unless there is an
extraordinary circumstance that would make abstention inappropriate. Squire, 469 F.2d
Here, the three factors are satisfied. First, there is an “ongoing state judicial
proceedings;” Youssef appealed the suspension of his license to the Michigan Supreme
Court; that appeal is pending and he sues on the same injury here.
Second, the state has an important interest to ensure that doctors appropriately
prescribe controlled substances. The Court considers Youssef’s inappropriate conduct
as contrary to the public’s best interest. The second element is satisfied.
Finally, Youssef had ample opportunity in state proceedings to raise
constitutional challenges. He opted for a hearing, employed a lawyer to represent him,
“retired” that lawyer, pled his case in front of the district and appeals court, and filed an
appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court.
The Younger abstention requirements are met. To the extent there may be any
disagreement that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine is dispositive on all issues, Youssef’s
claims are barred by Younger abstention.
D. Absolute Immunity Bars Youssef’s claims against Defendants
Absolute immunity “is necessary to assure that judges, advocates, and witnesses
can perform their respective functions without harassment or intimidation.” Butz v.
Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 512 (1978). The court extends absolute immunity beyond
judicial officials’ to prosecutors and parties participating in the judicial process so that
they enjoy the same protections. Id.
The roles of Taub, Hudson, Regan, Schuette and Hopper are described above.
They were all part of the judicial process in state court and are entitled to absolute
The holding in Butz extends to members of medical boards and affords
Szymanski absolute immunity as well. In Quatkemeyer, a doctor was investigated for
excessively prescribing controlled substances; his license was revoked. Quatkemeyer
v. Kentucky Bd. of Med. Licensure, 506 F. App'x 342, 343 (6th Cir. 2012). The doctor
brought suit against the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, challenging its
determination that he should be denied access to controlled substances. The Kentucky
Board moved to dismiss, and the district court granted the motion. On appeal, the Sixth
Circuit affirmed and found that the board was entitled to absolute immunity.
The same result is required here. Because Syzmanksi is a member of the Board,
he is afforded absolute immunity.
E. All Defendants are Entitled to Eleventh Amendment Immunity
Defendants argue they are entitled to Eleventh Amendment Immunity. The Court
The Eleventh Amendment affords states immunity from suits commenced or
prosecuted … by citizens of another state.” U.S. Const., Amend. XI. The Supreme Court
extends immunity to those sued in their official capacity. Will v. Michigan Dep’t of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 59 (1989). “A suit against state officials in their official capacities is
not a suit against the officials but rather is a suit against the officials' offices and, thus, is
no different from a suit against the state itself.” Id.
Because claims are brought against all of the Defendants in their official
capacities, all are entitled to Eleventh Amendment Immunity.
F. Youssef’s Claims Against Graham and Gaedeke Fail
Youssef lists Graham and Gaedeke, in their official capacity, in the caption of the
complaint. He also lists Sadowski and Donnelly in the caption. He fails to make any
allegations against these four individuals.
The Court dismissed them. See Frazier v. Michigan, 41 F. App’x 762, 764 (6th
Cir. 2002) (dismissing claims where complaint did not allege which of the named
defendants was personally involved in or responsible for each alleged violation of
Youssef’s claims are dismissed in their entirety. The Court need not address
qualified or respondent superior liability, also raised by Youssef.
The Court GRANTS Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss.
Youssef has the following motions pending:
Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Doc. #25];
Motion to Amend Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Doc. #33];
Motion for Order to Start Discovery [Doc. #36]; and
Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Brief [Doc. #37].
By virtue of this Order dismissing his case, the motions are deemed MOOT.
IT IS ORDERED.
S/Victoria A. Roberts
Victoria A. Roberts
United States District Judge
Dated: August 10, 2017
The undersigned certifies that a copy of this
document was served on the attorneys of
record by electronic means or U.S. Mail on
August 10, 2017.
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