United States District Court, D. Maryland
DAVID J. HYDE, D.D.S., Plaintiff,
MARYLAND STATE BOARD OF DENTAL EXAMINERS et al., Defendants.
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge.
David J. Hyde, D.D.S., filed a civil rights complaint (ECF
1-1) on July 7, 2016, against the Maryland State Board of
Dental Examiners (the “Board”), alleging that the
Board unlawfully revoked his dental license. The suit was
filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting a
violation of Hyde's due process rights under the Fifth
and Fourteenth Amendments and an unlawful taking of a vested
property right, without just compensation, in violation of
the Fifth Amendment. See ECF 1-1. In addition, Hyde
alleged violations of Article 24 of the Maryland Declaration
of Rights and Article III, § 40 of the Maryland
Constitution, as well as a common law claim for breach of
original complaint was dismissed, without prejudice, by Order
of July 7, 2017 (ECF 43), for the reasons set forth in a
Memorandum Opinion of the same date. See ECF 42.
Plaintiff was given 21 days from that date to file an amended
complaint. Id. On July 28, 2017, plaintiff timely
sought to file an amended complaint (ECF 44), but failed to
identify the amendments to the pleading, as required by Local
Rule 103.6(c). Over a month later, plaintiff properly filed
his Amended Complaint. ECF 46. Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint appears to assert against the Board the same claims
alleged in the initial Complaint. See Id. at 10-12.
plaintiff has named two other defendants in the Amended
Complaint: Ngoc Q. Chu, DDS (alleged to be the president of
the Board, id. ¶ 8), and Friends Medical
Laboratory, Inc. (alleged to be an agent of the Board,
id. ¶ 9). Several additional claims are
asserted against these new defendants. See ECF 46 at
12-13. Plaintiff may also have sued the State of Maryland,
which is mentioned in several of the claims interchangeably
with the Board, but is not discussed as a party. See
Id. at 1, 3-4, 10.
Board moved to strike the Amended Complaint as untimely filed
or, in the alternative, to dismiss. ECF 47
(“Motion”). I denied the motion to strike (ECF
48), and stated that I would consider the motion to dismiss.
Thereafter, plaintiff responded in opposition to the Motion.
ECF 51 (“Opposition”). Defendant did not reply.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See
Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, and as set out
more fully in my Memorandum Opinion of July 7, 2017 (ECF 42),
incorporated herein to the extent relevant, I shall grant the
Motion as to the Board.
Memorandum Opinion of July 7, 2017, I dismissed plaintiffs
claims against the Board on the ground that the suit was
barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution.
See ECF 42 at 15. Because plaintiffs claims in the
Amended Complaint are substantially unchanged, the Board has
moved to dismiss, for the reasons previously stated in its
prior motion to dismiss. See ECF 17; ECF 47-1 at 4
(incorporating ECF 17).
as in my prior Memorandum Opinion, I shall consider the
motion to dismiss on the basis of the Eleventh Amendment as a
motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. See ECF 42 at 5-6 (citing
Beckham v. National R.R. Passenger Corp., 569
F.Supp.2d 542, 548 (D. Md. 2008)); see also Abril v. Com.
Of Virginia, 145 F.3d 182, 184 (4th Cir. 1998)
(affirming the district court's dismissal of a claim
barred by state sovereign immunity under Rule 12(b)(1)).
Eleventh Amendment provides: “The Judicial power of the
United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in
law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the
United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or
subjects of any Foreign State.” Thus, states enjoy
immunity from suits brought in federal court by their own
citizens, even though the text of the Eleventh Amendment does
not explicitly address such a scenario. See Hans v.
Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1, 3 (1890); see also Board of
Trustees of University of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S.
356, 363 (2001) (“The ultimate guarantee of the
Eleventh Amendment is that nonconsenting states may not be
sued by private individuals in federal court.”).
immunity under the Eleventh Amendment also bars suit against
an instrumentality of a state, sometimes referred to as an
“arm of the state, ” absent waiver or a valid
congressional abrogation of sovereign immunity. See
Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S.
89, 101-02 (1984) (“It is clear, of course, that in the
absence of consent a suit in which the State or one of its
agencies or departments is named as the defendant is
proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment.”). The Board is
an entity or arm of the State of Maryland. See Md.
Code (2014 Repl. Vol., 2017 Supp.), § 4-201 of the
Health Occupations Article (“H.O.”). Therefore,
sovereign immunity, unless waived, bars suit against the
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has noted three
exceptions to the Eleventh Amendment's prohibition of
suits against a state or an arm of the state. They are (1)
explicit Congressional abrogation of the Eleventh Amendment;
(2) prospective injunctive relief against a state official in
his or her official capacity; and (3) voluntary waiver.
See Lee-Thomas v. Prince George's Cnty. Pub.
Sch., 666 F.3d 244, 249 (4th Cir. 2012). As discussed
more thoroughly in ECF 42, those exceptions do not apply to
plaintiff's claims against the Board itself.
offers no argument in his Opposition that can overcome the
Eleventh Amendment's bar to his claims. In the Amended
Complaint, plaintiff expands his assertion that the
suspension of his dental license is an unconstitutional
taking under the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments.
See ECF 51 at 4-5. However, the Eleventh Amendment
bars such a claim against the State in federal court. See
Hutto v. S.C. Ret. Sys., 773 F.3d 536, 552 (4th Cir.
2014). Accordingly, for the reasons set out in ECF 42,
plaintiff's claims against the Board shall be ...