Adams v. State of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS: It is RECOMMENDED that the 2 motion to dismiss be granted and that this case be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. It is further recommended that the 5 supplemental motion to dismiss be denied as moot - objections due w/in fourteen (14) days. Signed by Magistrate Judge Terence P Kemp on 04/18/2011. (sr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Dr. John M. Adams,
Case No. 2:10-cv-0610
State of Ohio Department of
Rehabilitation and Correction,
JUDGE JAMES L. GRAHAM
Magistrate Judge Kemp
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Plaintiff, a state prisoner, filed this action against a
sole defendant, the State of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation
and Correction (ODRC).
In his complaint, he asserts that his
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights have been and are being
violated by prison officials based on the alleged denial of
adequate medical treatment, medical devices (such as a
wheelchair) and medications.
His prayer for relief seeks an
award of monetary damages, attorneys’ fees, and injunctive
On August 3, 2010, ODRC moved to dismiss the complaint.
supplemented that motion on August 12, 2010.
Plaintiff filed a
responsive memorandum on September 2, 2010, to which ODRC did not
For the following reasons, it will be recommended that
the motion to dismiss be granted.
The motion to dismiss raises one fundamental issue.
Although it discusses both the jurisdictional bar created by the
Eleventh Amendment and reasons why the complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted or pleads claims barred by
the statute of limitations, the question of the Court’s
jurisdiction must be determined in advance of any rulings on the
Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 523 U.S.
The same is true with respect to the issue raised in
the supplemental motion to dismiss, which is premised on the
waiver which occurs when a plaintiff has filed an identical
action in the Ohio Court of Claims.
See Ohio Rev. Code
§2743.02(A)(1); Leaman v. Ohio Dept. Of Mental Rehabilitation and
Developmental Disabilities, 825 F.2d 946 (6th Cir. 1987).
The jurisdictional issue is straightforward.
ODRC is an
agency of the State of Ohio, and claims against it are therefore
treated as claims against the State itself.
Seidner, 183 F.3d 506 (6th Cir. 1999).
Cf. Hafford v.
The complaint names no
The Eleventh Amendment clearly bars claims in
federal court against a State absent its consent to be sued.
Therefore, the Court has no jurisdiction to consider the claims
in the complaint.
Dr. Adams argues that his claim for injunctive relief is not
barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
However, that argument is
As this Court has held, “[t]his bar obtains whether
the relief sought is legal or equitable in nature.”
University of Cincinnati, 758 F.Supp. 446, 449 (S.D. Ohio 1991)
For that proposition, the Court cited Papasan v.
Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 276 (1986), which, in turn, quoted this
language from Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman,
465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984): “[I]n the absence of consent a suit in
which the State or one of its agencies or departments is named as
the defendant is proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment.”
Carten v. Kent State University, 282 F.3d 391, 397 (6th Cir.
2002) (“The Eleventh Amendment on its face applies equally to
suits in law and equity”).
Although this would seem to be clear enough to establish the
proposition beyond reasonable dispute, plaintiff cites to Collyer
v. Darling, 98 F. 3d 211 (6th Cir. 1996) as standing for the
That case, however, dealt with only absolute and
qualified immunity claims asserted against various state
officials; neither the State of Ohio nor any state agency or
department was named as a defendant, and the issue of Eleventh
Amendment immunity was neither raised nor discussed.
also cites to an unreported decision, Meekison v.
Voinovich, 67 Fed. Appx. 900 (June 18, 2003), but that case held
only that injunctive relief was available against a state
official under the Americans with Disabilities Act based on the
Supreme Court’s decision in Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 128 (1908).
As generally understood, Ex Parte Young created a “fiction” to
allow a state official to be sued in his or her official capacity
for injunctive relief on the theory that a state official who
acts contrary to the constitution is not acting with the
authority of the State.
Thus, because the State has no power to
act in contravention of the United States Constitution, an
official who so acts does not enjoy the State’s immunity from
However, that principle is properly applied only when a
state official is named as a defendant, and not when the named
defendant is the State itself.
See Carten, supra, at 398 (“the
[Eleventh] Amendment does not bar a suit against a state official
seeking prospective injunctive relief to end a continuing
violation of federal law”) (emphasis supplied).
In short, the application of the jurisdictional bar of the
Eleventh Amendment to the facts of this case is clear and
Plaintiff cannot constitutionally maintain any
claim, whether for injunctive relief or damages, against ODRC.
His complaint must therefore be dismissed for lack of subject
Based on the foregoing analysis, it is recommended that the
motion to dismiss (#2) be granted and that this case be dismissed
for lack of jurisdiction.
It is further recommended that the
supplemental motion to dismiss (#5) be denied as moot.
PROCEDURE ON OBJECTIONS
If any party objects to this Report and Recommendation, that
party may, within fourteen days of the date of this Report, file
and serve on all parties written objections to those specific
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made,
together with supporting authority for the objection(s).
of this Court shall make a de novo determination of those
portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.
objections, a judge of this Court may accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made herein,
may receive further evidence or may recommit this matter to the
magistrate judge with instructions.
28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1).
The parties are specifically advised that failure to object
to the Report and Recommendation will result in a waiver of the
right to have the district judge review the Report and
Recommendation de novo, and also operates as a waiver of the
right to appeal the decision of the District Court adopting the
Report and Recommendation.
See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140
(1985); United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir.1981).
/s/ Terence P. Kemp
United States Magistrate Judge
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