United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
GREGORY A. PRESNELL JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court without a hearing on the Motion
for Partial Reconsideration (Doc. 100) filed by the
Defendant, the District Board of Trustees of Valencia
College, Florida (Valencia), and the Plaintiffs' Response
thereto (Doc. 104).
seeks reconsideration of this Court's order (Doc. 97)
partially granting and partially denying Valencia's
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 83). Specifically, Valencia requests
that the Court reconsider whether Valencia is immune from the
Plaintiffs' tort-law claims in Counts VIII, XI, and XII
under the Eleventh Amendment. In their Response (Doc. 104),
the Plaintiffs concede that dismissal of these counts is
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 83), Valencia couched its Eleventh
Amendment immunity argument in the “law of the
case” doctrine. Valencia argued that the Plaintiffs
“elected not to appeal the Court's prior Eleventh
Amendment immunity ruling” and that “[a]s a
result, pursuant to the ‘law of the case' doctrine,
Plaintiffs have abandoned any argument against Valencia's
Eleventh Amendment immunity against their alleged state law
claims.” (Doc. 83 at 9.)
Court misinterpreted Valencia's argument. It appeared
that Valencia was suggesting that it was immune from the
tort-law claims that were added to the Third Amended
Complaint because the Court had previously found that
Valencia was immune to the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims that
were brought in the Second Amended Complaint.
(Compare Doc. 11 with Doc. 75.) Upon
reviewing the Motion for Reconsideration it appears that
Valencia was simply arguing that it is an arm of the state,
as the Court had previously found. (See Doc. 50.)
And, as an arm of the state, Valencia is immune from suit in
federal court under the Eleventh Amendment. Edelman v.
Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 662-63 (1974) (“While the
[Eleventh] Amendment by its terms does not bar suits against
a State by its own citizens, this Court has consistently held
that an unconsenting State is immune from suits brought in
federal courts by her own citizens as well as by citizens of
of limiting itself to the simple analysis above, the Court
followed the Plaintiffs' lead and analyzed the tort-law
claims under Florida Statutes § 762.68, wherein Florida
waives sovereign immunity for certain claims within its own
courts-but not Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in
federal courts. Fla. Stat. § 768.28(18) (“No
provision of this section . . . shall be construed to waive
the immunity of the state or any of its agencies from suit in
federal court.”). In light of Valencia's Eleventh
Amendment argument, this analysis was clearly erroneous.
See Fla. Dep't Health & Rehab. Servs. v. Fla.
Nursing Home Ass'n, 450 U.S. 147, 150 (1981)
(finding that a state's general waiver of sovereign
immunity “does not constitute a waiver by the state of
its constitutional immunity under the Eleventh Amendment from
suit in federal court”) (citation and quotation
omitted); Schopler v. Bliss, 903 F.2d 1373, 1379
(11th Cir. 1990) (“Evidence that a state has waived
sovereign immunity in its own courts is not by itself
sufficient to establish waiver of Eleventh Amendment immunity
from suit in federal court.”) (citation omitted);
Posen Const., Inc. v. Lee Cty., 921 F.Supp.2d 1350,
1355 n. 3 (M.D. Fla. 2013) (recognizing that Florida Statutes
§ 768. 28 does not waive Eleventh Amendment
the Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 100) will be granted.
See Instituto de Pervision Militar v. Lehman Bros.,
Inc., 485 F.Supp.2d 1340, 1343 (S.D. Fla. 2007)
(“Courts have distilled three major grounds justifying
reconsideration: (1) an intervening change in controlling
law; (2) the availability of new evidence; and (3) the
need to correct clear error or manifest
injustice.”) (emphasis added, quotation and
accordance with the foregoing, it is ORDERED
and ADJUDGED as follows:
Motion for Reconsideration is GRANTED.
Court's order of August 2, 2017 (Doc. 97) is
VACATED insofar as the Court denied
Valencia's Motion to Dismiss Counts VIII, XI, and XII.
Counts VIII, XI, and XII of the Third Amended Complaint (Doc.
75) are DISMISSED without prejudice.