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Van Story v. Washington County Health Dept.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 25, 2019

PATRICIA VAN STORY Plaintiff
v.
WASHINGTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPT, MARYLAND DEPT OF HEALTH & MENTAL HYGIENE, and LARRY HOGAN, GOVERNOR Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Ellen L. Hollander United States District Judge.

         In this employment discrimination case, plaintiff Patricia Van Story, D.D.S. sued her former employer, the Washington County Health Department (“WCHD”), as well as the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (the “MDH” or the “Department”), [1] and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. ECF 1. In an Amended Complaint (ECF 15), plaintiff asserts a single count of retaliation, “pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 via 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.” Id. at 1.[2]

         According to the caption of the Amended Complaint, plaintiff sued WCHD, MDH, and the Governor. Although the text of the suit identifies MDH and WCHD as defendants, the retaliation claim appears to be directed only at WCHD. And, the suit contains no allegations as to Governor Hogan.

         WCHD and Governor Hogan have moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). ECF 18; ECF 18-1. It is supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 18-1) (collectively, the “Motion to Dismiss”) and an exhibit. ECF 18-2. Curiously, MDH did not join in the Motion. Van Story opposes the Motion to Dismiss (ECF 24), and WCHD and Governor Hogan have replied. ECF 26.

         On January 18, 2019, Van Story filed a “Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint.” ECF 21 (the “Motion for Leave”). It is supported by five exhibits. See ECF 21-2 to ECF 21-6. In the Motion for Leave, plaintiff expressly withdraws all claims against defendants Hogan and MDH (identified in the Motion for Leave as the “State”). ECF 21 at 1.[3] In light of plaintiff's withdrawal of all claims against Hogan and MDH, WCHD is the only remaining defendant. However, in the Motion for Leave plaintiff seeks to add two defendants: her former supervisors, Rod MacRae[4] and Susan Parks, in their individual and official capacities. See ECF 21-1 at 1, 2, ¶¶ 4-5. WCHD, Hogan, and MDH oppose the Motion for Leave. See ECF 25. Plaintiff did not reply, and the time to do so has expired. See Local Rule 105.2.

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, I shall deny the Motion for Leave and grant the Motion to Dismiss.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background[5]

         Plaintiff alleges that WCHD “is an agency of and is governed by” the Department. ECF 15, ¶ 3. Further, she alleges that the Department “is the managing agency of the State of Maryland's health care delivery system . . . .” Id. ¶ 4.

         Van Story, a licensed African American dentist, was employed by WCHD from December 7, 2007 to April 2016. ECF 15, ¶ 2, 6 n.1. During the relevant time period, she served as the “Dental Director/Program Manager.” Id. ¶ 5.

         WCHD is one of twenty-four statutorily created county health departments in Maryland. Md. Code (2015 Repl. Vol., 2017 Supp.), § 3-301(a) of the Health-General Article (“H.G.”).[6] Each county has a county health officer, who appoints the staff of the county's health department. H.G. § 3-306(b)(2).

         In November 2012, Van Story filed a complaint against her supervisor, Rod MacRae, who was the Director of Health Services. Id. ¶ 9. Thereafter, Susan Parks replaced MacRae as Van Story's supervisor. Id. Van Story alleges that after she filed “her complaint against Mr. [MacRae], WCHD retaliated against her by any of [sic] continued harassment and discrimination.” Id. ¶ 10. On March 31, 2014, Parks reportedly “disciplined” Van Story. Id. Van Story appealed the discipline. Id.

         Van Story complains that her “name and title were omitted from the Department's staff directory while the Department's Medical Director, her white counterpart, Dr. Mark Jameson was included.” Id. ¶ 12. On September 4, 2014, Van Story learned that “[e]ven though [she] was the Dental Director, . . . WCHD had previously applied for a dental grant without her knowledge or input.” Id. ¶ 11. Instead, Parks, her supervisor, prepared the application with a local entity. Id. Van Story complained about the grant. Id. ¶ 13.

         On October 16, 2014, WCHD “informed [Van Story] that an employee complaint had been filed against her, and that she was required to appear at a hearing regarding that complaint” later that same day. Id. The following day, plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with both the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Id. ¶ 14; see ECF 21-3; ECF 21-5.

         Almost six months later, on April 9, 2015, “Van Story was terminated from her position at WCHD.” ECF 15, 16. The EEOC concluded its investigation on June 12, 2015. Id. ¶ 17; see also ECF 1, ¶ 17. However, plaintiff did not file suit until December 2017.[7]

         II. Motion to Dismiss

         A. Standards of Review

         1. Rule 12(b)(1)

         As noted, defendants have moved to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, asserting that plaintiff's claims are barred by sovereign immunity. Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), plaintiff bears the burden of proving, by a preponderance of evidence, the existence of subject matter jurisdiction. See Demetres v. East West Const., Inc., 776 F.3d 271, 272 (4th Cir. 2015); see also The Piney Run Preservation Ass'n v. Cty. Comm'rs of Carroll Cty., 523 F.3d 453, 459 (4th Cir. 2008); Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir. 1999).

         A challenge to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) may proceed “in one of two ways”: either a facial challenge, asserting that the allegations pleaded in the complaint are insufficient to establish subject matter jurisdiction, or a factual challenge, asserting “‘that the jurisdictional allegations of the complaint [are] not true.'” Kerns v. United States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted); accord Durden v. United States, 736 F.3d 296, 300 (4th Cir. 2013). In a facial challenge, “the facts alleged in the complaint are taken as true, and the motion must be denied if the complaint alleges sufficient facts to invoke subject matter jurisdiction.” Kerns, 585 F.3d at 192. On the other hand, in a factual challenge, “the district court is entitled to decide disputed issues of fact with respect to subject matter jurisdiction.” Id. In that circumstance, the court “may regard the pleadings as mere evidence on the issue and may consider evidence outside the pleadings without converting the proceeding to one for summary judgment.” Velasco v. Gov't of Indonesia, 370 F.3d 392, 398 (4th Cir. 2004); see also United States ex rel. Vuyyuru v. Jadhav, 555 F.3d 337, 347-48 (4th Cir. 2009); Evans, 166 F.3d at 647.

         Defendants raise a facial challenge to the Court's subject matter jurisdiction. As indicated, this challenge is based on the four corners of the Amended Complaint.

         The Fourth Circuit recently reiterated that the defense of sovereign immunity is a jurisdictional bar, stating that “‘sovereign immunity deprives federal courts of jurisdiction to hear claims, and a court finding that a party is entitled to sovereign immunity must dismiss the action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.'” Cunningham v. Gen. Dynamics Info. Tech., Inc., 888 F.3d 640, 649 (4th Cir. 2018) (quoting Ackerson v. Bean Dredging LLC, 589 F.3d 196, 207 (5th Cir. 2009)). But, a defendant “bears the burden of demonstrating” sovereign immunity, because it is “akin to an affirmative defense.” Hutto v. S.C. Ret. Sys., 773 F.3d 536, 543 (4th Cir. 2014).

         2. Rule 12(b)(6)

         A defendant may test the legal sufficiency of a complaint by way of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). In re Birmingham, 846 F.3d 88, 92 (4th Cir. 2017); Goines v. Valley Cmty. Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 165-66 (4th Cir. 2016); McBurney v. Cuccinelli, 616 F.3d 393, 408 (4th Cir. 2010), aff'd sub nom., McBurney v. Young, 569 U.S. 221 (2013); Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion constitutes an assertion by a defendant that, even if the facts alleged by a plaintiff are true, the complaint fails as a matter of law “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

         Whether a complaint states a claim for relief is assessed by reference to the pleading requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). That rule provides that a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” The purpose of the rule is to provide the defendants with “fair notice” of the claims and the “grounds” for entitlement to relief. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).

         To survive a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain facts sufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (citation omitted) (“Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for ‘all civil actions' . . . .”); see also Paradise Wire & Cable Defined Benefit Pension Plan v. Weil, 918 F.3d 312, 317 (4th Cir. 2019); Willner v. Dimon, 849 F.3d 93, 112 (4th Cir. 2017). To be sure, a plaintiff need not include “detailed factual allegations” in order to satisfy Rule 8(a)(2). Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Moreover, federal pleading rules “do not countenance dismissal of a complaint for imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted.” Johnson v. City of Shelby, Miss., 574 U.S. 10,, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014) (per curiam). But, mere “‘naked assertions' of wrongdoing” are generally insufficient to state a claim for relief. Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).

         In other words, the rule demands more than bald accusations or mere speculation. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see Painter's Mill Grille, LLC v. Brown, 716 F.3d 342, 350 (4th Cir. 2013). If a complaint provides no more than “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” it is insufficient. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. “[A]n unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation” does not state a plausible claim of relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Rather, to satisfy the minimal requirements of Rule 8(a)(2), the complaint must set forth “enough factual matter (taken as true) to suggest” a cognizable cause of action, “even if . . . [the] actual proof of those facts is improbable and . . . recovery is very remote and unlikely.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court “must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint” and must “draw all reasonable inferences [from those facts] in favor of the plaintiff.” E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon Indus., Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted); see Semenova v. MTA, 845 F.3d 564, 567 (4th Cir. 2017); Houck v. Substitute Tr. Servs., Inc., 791 F.3d 473, 484 (4th Cir. 2015); Kendall v. Balcerzak, 650 F.3d 515, 522 (4th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 565 U.S. 943 (2011). But, a court is not required to accept legal conclusions drawn from the facts. See Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986); Glassman v. Arlington Cty., 628 F.3d 140, 146 (4th Cir. 2010). “A court decides whether [the pleading] standard is met by separating the legal conclusions from the factual allegations, assuming the truth of only the factual allegations, and then determining whether those allegations allow the court to reasonably infer” that the plaintiff is entitled to the legal remedy sought. A Society Without a Name v. Virginia, 655 F.3d 342, 346 (4th. Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 566 U.S. 937 (2012).

         Courts ordinarily do not “‘resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses'” through a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Edwards, 178 F.3d at 243 (quoting Republican Party v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992)). However, “in the relatively rare circumstances where facts sufficient to rule on an affirmative defense are alleged in the complaint, the defense may be reached by a motion to dismiss filed under Rule 12(b)(6).” Goodman v. Praxair, Inc., 494 F.3d 458, 464 (4th Cir. 2007) (en banc); accord Pressley v. Tupperware Long Term Disability Plan, 553 F.3d 334, 336 (4th Cir. 2009). Because Rule 12(b)(6) “is intended [only] to test the legal adequacy of the complaint, ” Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. Forst, 4 F.3d 244, 250 (4th Cir. 1993), “[t]his principle only applies . . . if all facts necessary to the affirmative defense ‘clearly appear[ ] on the face of the complaint.'” Goodman, 494 F.3d at 464 (quoting Forst, 4 F.3d at 250) (emphasis added in Goodman ).

         “Generally, when a defendant moves to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), courts are limited to considering the sufficiency of allegations set forth in the complaint and the ‘documents attached or incorporated into the complaint.'” Zak v. Chelsea Therapeutics Int'l, Ltd., 780 F.3d 597, 606 (4th Cir. 2015) (quoting E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 637 F.3d at 448). The court “may not consider any documents that are outside of the complaint, or not expressly incorporated therein . . . .” Clatterbuck v. City of Charlottesville, 08 F.3d 549, 557 (4th Cir. 2013); see Bosiger v. U.S. Airways, Inc., 510 F.3d 442, 450 (4th Cir. 2007).

         But, under limited circumstances, when resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court may consider documents beyond the complaint without converting the motion to dismiss to one for summary judgment. Goldfarb v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, 791 F.3d 500, 508 (4th Cir. 2015). In particular, a court may properly consider documents that are “explicitly incorporated into the complaint by reference and those attached to the complaint as exhibits.” Goines, 822 F.3d at 166 (citation omitted); see also Six v. Generations Fed. Credit Union, 891 F.3d 508, 512 (4th Cir. 2018); Anand v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 754 F.3d 195, 198 (4th Cir. 2014); U.S. ex rel. Oberg v. Pa. Higher Educ. Assistance Agency, 745 F.3d 131, 136 (4th Cir. 2014); Am. Chiropractic Ass'n v. Trigon Healthcare, Inc., 367 F.3d 212, 234 (4th Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 979 (2004); Phillips v. LCI Int'l Inc., 190 F.3d 609, 618 (4th Cir. 1999).

         However, “before treating the contents of an attached or incorporated document as true, the district court should consider the nature of the document and why the plaintiff attached it.” Goines, 822 F.3d at 167 (citing N. Ind. Gun & Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of S. Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 455 (7th Cir. 1998)). And, “[w]hen the plaintiff attaches or incorporates a document upon which his claim is based, or when the complaint otherwise shows that the plaintiff has adopted the contents of the document, crediting the document over conflicting allegations in the complaint is proper.” Goines, 822 F.3d at 167. Conversely, “where the plaintiff attaches or incorporates a document for purposes other than the truthfulness of the document, it is inappropriate to treat the contents of that document as true.” Id.

         A court may also “consider a document submitted by the movant that [is] not attached to or expressly incorporated in a complaint, so long as the document was integral to the complaint and there is no dispute about the document's authenticity.” Goines, 822 F.3d at 166 (citations omitted); see also Woods v. City of Greensboro, 855 F.3d 639, 642 (4th Cir. 2017), cert. Denied, ___ U.S.___, 138 S.Ct. 558 (2017); Oberg, 745 F.3d at 136; Kensington Volunteer Fire Dep't. v. Montgomery Cty., 684 F.3d 462, 467 (4th Cir. 2012). To be “integral, ” a document must be one “that by its ‘very existence, and not the mere information it contains, gives rise to the legal rights asserted.'” Chesapeake Bay Found., Inc. v. Severstal Sparrows Point, LLC, 794 F.Supp.2d 602, 611 (D. Md. 2011) (citation omitted) (emphasis in original). See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c) (“A copy of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is a part of the pleading for all purposes.”).

         In addition, without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment, “a court may properly take judicial notice of ‘matters of public record' and other information that, under Federal Rule of Evidence 201, constitute ‘adjudicative facts.'” Goldfarb, 791 F.3d at 508; see also Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007); Katyle v. Penn Nat'l Gaming, Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 466 (4th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 565 U.S. 825 (2011); Philips v. Pitt Cty. Mem. Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009). This includes “docket entries, pleadings and papers in other cases . . . .” Brown v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, PJM-14-3454, 2015 WL 5008763, at *1 n. 3 (D. Md. Aug. 20, 2015), aff'd, 639 Fed.Appx. 200 (4th Cir. May 6, 2016); cf. Anderson v. Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp., 918 F.2d 1139, 1141 n. 1 (4th Cir. 1990) (concluding that a district court may “properly take judicial notice of its own records”). However, “these facts [must be] construed in the light most favorable” to the non-movant. Clatterbuck v. City of Charlottesville, 708 F.3d 549, 557 (4th Cir. 2013) (abrogated on other grounds by Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Ariz., 576 U.S.___, 135 S.Ct. 2218 (2015), as recognized in Cahaly v. Larosa, 796 F.3d 399 (4th Cir. 2015)). But, under Fed.R.Evid. 201, a court may take judicial notice of adjudicative facts only if they are “not subject to reasonable dispute, ” in that they are “(1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.”

         Defendants submitted the affidavit of Beth Reid, Deputy Director of the Office of Human Resources for the MDH. ECF 18-2. I need not consider this exhibit to resolve the Motion.

         B. Discussion

         1. 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983

         Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff alleges a violation of rights guaranteed in 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Section 1983 establishes a cause of action against any “person” who, acting under color of state law, “subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws” of the United States. It “‘is not itself a source of substantive rights,' but merely provides ‘a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.'” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)).

         Here, plaintiff invokes § 1983 as a vehicle for the contention that defendants discriminated against her on the basis of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Section 1981 prohibits, inter alia, “discrimination in employment on the basis of race.” Yashenko v. Harrah's NC Casino Co., LLC, 446 F.3d 541, 551-52 (4th Cir. 2006); see Johnson v. Ry. Express Agency, Inc., 421 U.S. 454, 459-60 (1975) (“§ 1981 affords a federal remedy against discrimination in private employment on the basis of race.”); Nnadozie v. Genesis Healthcare Corp., 730 Fed. App'x 151, 156 (4th Cir. 2018).

         Section 1981(a) provides, in part: “All persons within the Jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right . . . to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws . . . as is enjoyed by white citizens.” Section 1981(b) states: “For purposes of this section, the term ‘make and enforce contracts' includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.” Id. Section 1981(b), enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, ensures that § 1981 applies not “only to the formation of a contract” but also to “‘conduct by the employer after the contract relation has been established, including breach of the terms of the contract or imposition of discriminatory working conditions.'” CBOCS West, Inc. v. Humphries, 553 U.S. 442, 449 (2008) (emphasis in original) (quoting Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U.S. 164, 177 (1989)) (discussing post-Patterson enactment of § 1981(b)).

         The framework for proof of a claim of retaliation under § 1981 is the same as the framework applicable to a claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”). See Guessous v. Fairview Prop. Invs., LLC, 828 F.3d 208, 216 (4th Cir. 2016); Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corp., 786 F.3d 264, 281 (4th Cir. 2015) (en banc); Hawkins v. PepsiCo, Inc., 203 F.3d 274, 281 n. 1 (4th Cir. 2000). To state a claim for retaliation, plaintiff must aver that: (1) she engaged in protected activity; (2) the employer took a materially adverse action against her; and (3) the protected activity and the adverse action were causally connected. See Guessous, 828 F.3d at 217; Boyer-Liberto, 786 F.3d at 281.

         2. Sovereign Immunity

         WCHD contends that it is protected from plaintiff's suit in federal court based on sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment. ECF 18-1 at 5-8. The 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.”

         Under the Eleventh Amendment, states generally enjoy immunity from suits brought in federal court by their own citizens. See Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1, 3 (1890); see also Bd. of Trustees of Univ. of Ala. 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.”). Therefore, absent consent or a valid congressional abrogation of sovereign immunity, the Eleventh Amendment bars a private individual from bringing suit against a state in federal court to recover damages, unless there is an exception to sovereign immunity. See Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Md., 556 U.S. 30, 35 (2012) (“A foundational premise of the federal system is that States, as sovereigns, are immune from suits for damages, save as they elect to waive that defense.”); Va. Office for Prot. & Advocacy v. Stewart, 563 U.S. 247 (2011); see also Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 54-55 (1996) (“For over a century we have reaffirmed that federal jurisdiction over suits against unconsenting States was not contemplated by the Constitution when establishing the judicial power of the United States.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651 (1974).

         The Eleventh Amendment did not create sovereign immunity, however. Rather, it preserved the sovereign immunity that the states enjoyed prior to the formation of the Union. See Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706, 724 (1999); see also Sossamon v. Texas, 563 U.S. 277, 284 (2011). State sovereign immunity “accord[s] states the dignity that is consistent with their status as sovereign entities[.]” Fed. Mar. Comm'n v. S.C. State Ports Auth., 535 U.S. 743, 760 (2002).

         Of import here, sovereign immunity also bars suit against an instrumentality of a state, sometimes referred to as an “arm of the state, ” including state agencies. 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.”); see also Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Doe, 519 U.S. 425, 429 (1997); Pense v. Maryland Dep't of Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs., 926 F.3d 97, 100 (4th Cir. 2019) McCray v. Md. Dep't of Transp., Md. Transit Admin., 741 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2014); Bland v. Roberts, 730 F.3d 368, 389 (4th Cir. 2013); Constantine v. Rectors and Visitors of George Mason Univ., 411 F.3d 474, 479 (4th Cir. 2005). The question here, addressed infra, is whether WCHD is an arm of the State.

         The Fourth Circuit has noted three exceptions to the Eleventh Amendment's prohibition of suits against a state or an arm of the state. In Lee-Thomas v. Prince George's Cnty. Pub. Sch., 666 F.3d 244 (4th Cir. ...


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