Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Malnes v. State

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 5, 2016

Brian Edward Malnes, Plaintiff,
v.
State of Arizona, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Honorable G. Murray Snow United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim by Defendants. (Doc. 38.) For the following reasons, the Court grants the motion with prejudice. All other pending motions are therefore moot. Specifically, the Motion for Preliminary Injunction and for Temporary Restraining Order by Brian Edward Malnes (“Malnes”) (Doc. 18), Motion for Preliminary Injunction and for Temporary Restraining Order by Malnes (Doc. 35), Motion to Strike Memorandum in Support of Preliminary Injunction by Defendants (Doc. 40), Motion to Strike Motion to Strike Memorandum in Support of Preliminary Injunction by Malnes (Doc. 41), and Motion to Strike Defendant’s Notice of Errata by Malnes (Doc. 46) are moot.

         BACKGROUND

         Brian Edward Malnes is a citizen of Arizona who resides in Flagstaff. Malnes alleges that on January 19, 2016, he attempted to register to vote on the State of Arizona’s Voter Registration page but could not do so because under Arizona law, a resident of the state may register to vote only if he satisfies various criteria, one of which is that he “[h]as not been convicted of treason or a felony, unless restored to civil rights.”[1](Compl. ¶ 2.) Malnes contends that this law violates his constitutional rights under the Fifteenth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments. He now brings a claim against the State of Arizona as well as the Secretary of the State of Arizona.

         DISCUSSION

         As a preliminary matter, the Eleventh Amendment bars Malnes, an Arizona citizen, from bringing a claim against the State of Arizona. Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984) (“This Court's decisions thus establish that ‘an unconsenting State is immune from suits brought in federal courts by her own citizens as well as by citizens of another state.’” (internal citations omitted)). There are narrow exceptions to this rule, which include: where the State has consented to suit, where the State has waived its immunity, or where Congress specifically abrogated the immunity. Id. at 101-02. However, none of these exceptions apply here, and therefore, the State of Arizona and its agencies are immune from Malnes’ claims.

         However, Malnes may bring a claim against a state official for a present violation of federal law. Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 664 (1974) (holding that the Eleventh Amendment does not bar an action seeking to enjoin a state official from enforcing a statute which is claimed to violate the Unites States Constitution). But, Malnes may only seek prospective relief. Id. at 664, 677-78. The Court will therefore only consider Malnes’ claims against the Secretary in her official capacity for injunctive relief.

         I. Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement, ’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.

         “[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Id. “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. at 679. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         However, pro se litigants will not be held to the same pleading standards as lawyers. “A document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally construed, ’ and ‘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) (internal quotation marks omitted); cf. F.R.C.P. 8(f) (“All pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice”).

         II. Analysis

         A. Malnes fails to state a facially plausible claim under the Fifteenth Amendment.

         Under Arizona law, “[e]very resident of the state is qualified to register to vote if he” meets certain criteria bearing on citizenship, age, residency, ability, and capacity, as well as the requirement that a voter must not have been “convicted of treason or a felony, unless restored to civil rights.” A.R.S. § 16-101(A) (1993). Malnes claims that the statute violates the Fifteenth Amendment ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.