United States District Court, D. Arizona
Z. Boyle United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Amend (Doc. 11)
and Defendant Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan's
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7). For the reasons below, the Court
will deny Plaintiff's Motion to Amend and grant Defendant
Reagan's Motion to Dismiss.
20, 2016, Plaintiff filed his initial Complaint in this
matter. (Doc. 1.) In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts claims
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his First
and Fourteenth Amendment rights. More specifically, Plaintiff
challenges the constitutionality of Arizona state election
laws, A.R.S. § 16-801, A.R.S. § 16-803, and A.R.S.
§ 16-341, which impose petition requirements to
establish a new political party in Arizona and to allow an
independent political candidate to appear on a ballot.
(Id.) Plaintiff's Complaint seeks judgment (1)
declaring that the Arizona statutory provisions he challenges
are unconstitutional, (2) enjoining Defendants from enforcing
each of the provisions, and (3) ordering that Plaintiff be
placed on the 2016 presidential ballot in Arizona.
(Id. at 7-8.)
September 23, 2016, Defendant Reagan filed a Partial Motion
to Dismiss, requesting the Court dismiss Plaintiff's
claim for injunctive relief in the form of a Court order
requiring that he be placed on the 2016 presidential ballot
in Arizona because such relief is barred by the doctrine of
laches. (Doc. 7.) On September 30, 2016, the Court issued an
Order directing Plaintiff to respond to Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss on or before October 31, 2016, and warning
him of the consequences of his failure to respond. (Doc. 10.)
Specifically, the Court cautioned Plaintiff that it
“may, in its discretion, treat your failure to respond
to Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss as consent to
the granting of that Motion without further notice, ”
and “[i]f the Court grants the Partial Motion to
Dismiss, your claim for injunctive relief will be
dismissed.” However, Plaintiff has not responded to the
Motion to Dismiss.
on November 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend his
Complaint. (Doc. 11.) Plaintiff's proposed First Amended
Complaint asserts the same claims and allegations against
Defendants as his initial Complaint (see Docs. 1,
12). However, Plaintiff, appearing to acknowledge that his
case would not be litigated in time for him to appear on the
2016 presidential ballot, seeks to amend his Complaint to add
a claim for compensatory damages he asserts resulted from
Arizona's unconstitutional statutory scheme. (Doc. 11 at
2.) On November 16, 2016, Defendants State of Arizona and
Reagan filed a Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's
Motion to Amend. (Doc. 13.) Plaintiff has not filed a reply,
and the time to do so has passed. LRCiv. 7.2(d).
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend
seeks to amend his Complaint to include a claim for
compensatory damages resulting from Defendants'
enforcement of the statutory provisions Plaintiff challenges.
(Docs. 11, 12.)
15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
“the court should freely give leave [to amend] when
justice so requires.” However, a district court has the
discretion to grant or deny a motion to amend. See,
e.g., Ventress v. Japan Airlines, 603 F.3d 676,
680 (9th Cir. 2010); Chappel v. Laboratory Corp. of
Amer., 232 F.3d 719, 725 (9th Cir. 2000). Factors that
may justify denying a motion to amend are undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive, futility of amendment, undue
prejudice to the opposing party, and whether the plaintiff
has previously amended his or her pleadings. Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); Bonin v.
Calderon, 59 F.3d 815, 845 (9th Cir. 1995).
“Futility of amendment can, by itself, justify the
denial of a motion for leave to amend.” Bonin,
59 F.3d at 845; see also Lockheed Martin Corp. v. Network
Solutions, Inc., 194 F.3d 980, 986 (9th Cir. 1999)
(“Where the legal basis for a cause of action is
tenuous, futility supports the refusal to grant leave to
oppose Plaintiff's Motion to Amend on the basis that the
proposed amendment is futile. (Doc. 13.) More specifically,
Defendants contend that Plaintiff's request for monetary
damages against Defendants is barred by the Eleventh
Eleventh Amendment prohibits Plaintiff from bringing a claim
for damages against the State of Arizona or the Secretary in
her official capacity. See 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)); Cortez
v. Cty. of L.A., 294 F.3d 1186, 1188 (9th Cir. 2001)
(“a state and its officials sued in their official
capacity are not considered ‘persons' within the
meaning of § 1983, due to the sovereign immunity
generally afforded states by the Eleventh Amendment.”).
There is, however, an exception to this general rule for
claims seeking prospective relief. See Will v. Mich.
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
Plaintiff's proposed amendment seeks damages against the
State and a State official in her official capacity.
Therefore, Plaintiff's proposed amendment is barred by
the Eleventh Amendment and is futile. Plaintiff has not
provided any basis for the Court to find otherwise.
Accordingly, the Court will deny Plaintiff's Motion to
Defendant Reagan's Partial Motion to Dismiss
pending before the Court is Defendant Reagan's Partial
Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 7.) Defendant requests the Court
dismiss Plaintiff's claim for an order requiring
Defendants to place Plaintiff on the 2016 presidential ballot