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Hussein v. Minnesota

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 4, 2019

Gamada Ahmed Hussein, Plaintiff,
v.
Minnesota and John Does, Defendants.

          Gamada Ahmed Hussein, plaintiff pro se.

          Leah M. Tabbert, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, counsel for defendants.

          ORDER

          DAVID S. DOTY, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the court upon the motion to dismiss the complaint by defendant State of Minnesota (the State) and the motion for preliminary injunction by pro se plaintiff Gamada Hussein. Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the motion to dismiss is granted and the motion for preliminary injunction is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         In July 2019, Hussein filed a complaint against “Minnesota and John Does” seeking “declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief against Defendants, State of Minnesota via Minnesota Attorney General Office.” Compl. at 1-2.[1] Hussein, a Muslim man of Ethiopian decent, alleges that the State has deprived him of his constitutional rights on the basis of his “race, religion, color of his skin, ethnicity, alienage, ancestry, and/or national origin.” Id. at 2, 5. Among other things, Hussein contends that “[p]olice department[s], Sheriffs, State Troopers, and local undercover agents” acted in concert with the CIA and FBI to unlawfully surveil, torture, oppress, harass, discriminate against, intimidate, and defame him. Id. at 5. He also alleges that the State controls his mind and body through drugs, witchcraft, and technology implanted in his body, and that it has poisoned him and attempted to assassinate him on numerous occasions. See generally id. Hussein states that former Governor Mark Dayton and current Governor Tim Walz, as well as former Attorney General Lori Swanson and present Attorney General Keith Ellison, are aware of the State's actions, but he does not allege that any of these individuals have been involved in his alleged persecution. See, e.g., id. at 65-66. Throughout his complaint, Hussein also seems to imply that the “[p]olice department[s], Sheriffs, State Troopers, and local undercover agents, ” as well as the CIA and FBI, are defendants in the instant suit. See, e.g., id. at 5, 18, 25, 35-36, 40, 51, 64. Hussein stated at the hearing that he could name individual defendants if he wanted to, but he has failed to do so.

         The State now moves to dismiss on the grounds that it is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment or, in the alternative, that Hussein has failed to state a claim and has improperly served the State.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Eleventh Amendment Sovereign Immunity

         A court must dismiss an action over which it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). In a facial challenge under Rule 12(b)(1), the court accepts the factual allegations in the pleadings as true and views the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Hastings v. Wilson, 516 F.3d 1055, 1058 (8th Cir. 2008). In considering a facial 12(b)(1) challenge, the court limits its inquiry to the pleadings. Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 729 n.6 (8th Cir. 1990).

         The doctrine of sovereign immunity derives from the Eleventh Amendment and prohibits an individual from suing a state, regardless of the relief sought, unless the state consents to suit or Congress abrogates state immunity. See U.S. Const. amend. XI; Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 54-56 (1996); Klingler v. Dep't of Revenue, 455 F.3d 888, 893 (8th Cir. 2006) (citing Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1, 15 (1890)). The Eleventh Amendment also bars bringing state-law claims against an unconsenting state in federal court. Cooper v. St. Cloud State Univ., 226 F.3d 964, 968 (8th Cir. 2000). A federal court must dismiss an action barred by the Eleventh Amendment for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. See Seminole Tribe, 517 U.S. at 64- 65.

         Although Hussein alleged at the hearing that he could have sued individual state actors by name, the fact remains that he has not done so. Hussein sued only the State and unnamed “John Does.” The State has not waived its sovereign immunity with regard to any of Hussein's claims. Any relief sought for the alleged violations of Hussein's constitutional rights must be brought through the federal civil rights statutes, as the amendments themselves do not create a cause of action against the State. See Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 638 (1980); cf. Lockridge v. Bd. of Trs. of Univ. of Ark., 315 F.3d 1005, 1016 (8th Cir. 2003). The State has not waived its sovereign immunity with regard to suits brought under §§ 1981, 1983, or 1985. See, e.g., Murphy v. Arkansas, 127 F.3d 750, 754 (8th Cir. 1997) (holding the state has not waived immunity for claims brought under § 1983); Roberson v. Minnesota, No. 16-2578, 2017 WL 131742 (D. Minn. Jan. 13, 2017) (adopting report and recommendation holding that the state has not waived sovereign immunity for claims under § 1985); Smith v. Fabian, No. 10-2193, 2012 WL 1004982 (D. Minn. Mar. 25, 2012) (holding the state has not waived sovereign immunity for claims under § 1981). As such, Counts I, III-VI, XII, and XVI, alleging violations of Hussein's constitutional rights or violations of §§ 1981, 1983, and 1985, must be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         Sovereign immunity also bars Hussein's claims that the State violated the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, and the federal criminal statute prohibiting theft of mail. Hussein has not cited, and the court has been unable to find, any statute or case law to show that the State has waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity as to any of those claims. Accordingly, Counts II, VII, XIV, and XV must also be dismissed.

         Finally, the State is immune from Hussein's claims that it committed various state-law torts against him. Although the Minnesota Tort Claims Act provides a limited waiver of the State's sovereign immunity with regard to certain tort claims, it does not waive the State's immunity from suit in federal court. Minn. Stat. § 3.736, subdiv. 2; see Hoeffner v. Univ. of Minn., 948, F.Supp. 1380, 1392-93 (D. Minn. 1996) (holding that the Minnesota Tort Claims Act did not ...


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