United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. THORSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on (1) the Complaint filed by
Plaintiff Herandez Cortez Evans (Doc. No. 1, Compl.), and (2)
Evans's Application to Proceed in District Court Without
Prepaying Fees or Costs. (Doc. No. 2, IFP Application.) For
the reasons discussed below, this Court recommends declining
to exercise jurisdiction in this matter, dismissing this
matter without prejudice, and denying the IFP Application as
February 15, 2019, a Minnesota Administrative-Law Judge
(“ALJ”) held a hearing regarding possible
discipline for Evans. (See Doc. No. 1-2, Findings of
Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation 1, In the
Matter of the Teaching License of Herandez Cortez Evans,
No. 71-1304-35417 (St. of Minn. Office of Admin. Hr'gs
Mar. 26, 2019).) The hearing concerned allegations that
Evans, a licensed Minnesota teacher, had mistreated students
while teaching at Minneapolis's Bethune Community School.
(See Id. at 2-10.) After the hearing, the ALJ
recommended that the Minnesota Professional Educator
Licensing and Standards Board (the Board) discipline Evans.
(See Id. at 1, 11.)
Board held a hearing on April 12, 2019. See Findings
of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order 1, In the Matter
of the Teaching License of Herandez Cortez Evans, No.
71-1304-35417 (St. of Minn. Prof'l Educator Licensing
& Standards Bd. Apr. 12, 2019), available at
http://macsnc.courts/state.mn.us (last accessed May 16, 2019)
(attachment to Evans's petition for writ of certiorari in
No. A19-0624). After that hearing, the Board issued an order
adopting the ALJ's findings of fact and conclusions of
law and revoking Evans's Minnesota teaching license.
See Id. at 1-2.
later, Evans filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with
the Minnesota Court of Appeals. See Case
Information, In the Matter of the Teaching License of
Herandez Cortez Evans, No. A19-0624, available
at http://macsnc.courts/state.mn.us (last accessed May
16, 2019). As of this Order's date, Evans's petition
is still pending. See Id. (containing no docket
entries suggesting matter is resolved).
filed the present Complaint on April 4, 2019 - that is, while
proceedings before the Board were pending. He contends that
the ALJ erred in various ways - specifically, by (1) citing
non-Minnesota caselaw in her conclusions of law, (2)
excluding certain African-American teachers from testifying
on Evans's behalf, and (3) “discount[ing]
[Evans's] testimony as an African American male
teacher.” (Compl. 4.) The Complaint asks this Court to
“order the [ALJ] to use case law presented in
Minnesota” and to bar Minnesota authorities from
“exclud[ing] African American witnesses.”
(Id.) Evans states that he “want[s] the
American public to determine [his] teaching license
the merits of Evans's arguments, this Court will not
address them at this time. Under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(h)(3), “[i]f the court determines at any
time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court
must dismiss the action.” Under Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), federal courts should
abstain from exercising jurisdiction when (1) there is an
ongoing state judicial proceeding, (2) which implicates
important state interests, and (3) there is an adequate
opportunity to raise any relevant federal questions in the
state proceeding. See, e.g., Middlesex Cty.
Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S.
423, 432 (1982); Scheffler v. City of New Hope, No.
18-CV-1690 (SRN/LIB), 2019 WL 2053994, at *5 (D. Minn. May 9,
2019) (citing Middlesex).
Younger abstention applies here. This action plainly
overlaps with an ongoing state judicial proceeding - namely,
Evans's petition for a writ of certiorari pending before
the Minnesota Court of Appeals. That state proceeding
implicates important state interests, including teacher
licensure and revocation. And while the Court lacks access to
Evans's substantive pleadings in the Court of Appeals,
this Court sees no reason why Evans cannot raise any relevant
federal-law questions that he wishes in those state-court
Court thus recommends abstaining from exercising federal
subject-matter jurisdiction in this action. As a result, this
Court further recommends dismissing this action without
prejudice and denying the IFP Application as moot.
on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED
Court abstain from exercising federal subject-matter
jurisdiction in this action.
matter be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Plaintiff Herandez Cortez Evans's Application to Proceed
in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or ...