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Budayr v. State of Michigan

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

December 7, 2017

ABDULFATTAH BUDAYR, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF MICHIGAN, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs; Bureau of Professional Licensing, Defendant.[1]

          ORDER

          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, (DE 10), and defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rules12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), 12(b)(3), and 12(b)(6), (DE 12). The issues raised are ripe for ruling. For the following reasons, the court denies plaintiff's motion, grants motion of defendant, and dismisses the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint on July 3, 2017, seeking an order from this court pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 15A-145.5[2] and, based on the Full Faith and Credit clause of the United States Constitution, requiring defendant to refrain from posting on its website the disciplinary action taken against plaintiff concerning his Michigan pharmacy license and to vacate the same disciplinary action which was based on charges or convictions that have been expunged. (DE 1).

         Plaintiff's complaint, filed using an Administrative Office of the Court Form, asserts the basis of this court's jurisdiction as “federal question.” (Compl. (DE 1 at 3)). When asked to provide the specific federal authority for the basis of jurisdiction, plaintiff relies on Section 1 of Article IV of the United States Constitution, prescribing in part that “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.” U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1 (“Full Faith and Credit Clause”).

         On July 26, 2017, plaintiff filed the instant motion for summary judgment, wherein he argues that pursuant to the North Carolina expunction statute and the Full Faith and Credit Clause, defendant must remove from its website the disciplinary action taken against plaintiff concerning his Michigan pharmacy license and vacate the disciplinary action against plaintiff taken by defendant. On July 27, 2017, defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss, arguing in part that plaintiff is a private citizen suing a state department and therefore plaintiff's claims are barred under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution and, accordingly, this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.[3]

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         The relevant facts taken in light most favorable to plaintiff may be summarized as follows. Plaintiff lives in North Carolina. (Compl. (DE 1) at 1). Defendant is the bureau of professional licensing for the state of Michigan. (Id. at 2). Defendant placed an order of summary suspension on plaintiff's pharmacist license on June 18, 2004 based on a misdemeanor conviction plaintiff received in North Carolina. (Id. at 4; DE 11 at 4, 15-42). On October 28, 2016, plaintiff obtained an expunction of his North Carolina misdemeanor conviction in accordance with the North Carolina expunction statute. (DE 11 at 4, 43-44). Plaintiff notified defendant that plaintiff's misdemeanor had been expunged, but defendant denied plaintiff's request to expunge from defendant's records entries made as a result of the conviction and to vacate the disciplinary action taken against petitioner's license, stating that the North Carolina expunction order is not binding on defendant. (Id. at 4, 45).

         DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         A Rule 12(b)(1) motion challenges the court's subject matter jurisdiction, and the plaintiff bears the burden of showing that federal jurisdiction is appropriate when challenged by the defendant. McNutt v. Gen. Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936); Adams, 697 F.2d at 1219.[4] Where, as here, the moving party contends that the complaint “simply fails to allege facts upon which subject matter jurisdiction can be based, ” then “all facts alleged in the complaint are assumed true.” Adams, 697 F.2d at 1219. “Where the jurisdictional facts are intertwined with the facts central to the merits of the dispute . . . the entire factual dispute is appropriately resolved only by a proceeding on the merits, ” and Rule 12(b)(1) is “an inappropriate basis” to grant dismissal. Adams, 697 F.2d at 1219-20.

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint but “does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir.1992); see also Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243-44 (4th Cir.1999). A complaint states a claim under 12(b)(6) if it contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “Asking for plausible grounds ... does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal [the] evidence” required to prove the claim. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

         In evaluating the complaint, the “court accepts all well-pled facts as true and construes these facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, ” but does not consider “legal conclusions, elements of a cause of action, . . . bare assertions devoid of further factual enhancement[, ] . . . unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 255 (4th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).

         When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must keep in mind the principle that “a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); Noble v. Barnett, 24 F.3d 582, 587 n. 6 (4th Cir.1994). Nevertheless, Erickson does not undermine the requirement that a pleading contain “more than ...


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