United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
ARTHUR DIAMOND, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, et al.,
PENNSYLVANIA STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.
GIBSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Arthur Diamond, Justin Barry, Douglas R. Kase, Jeffrey
Schwartz, Matthew Shively, Matthew Simkins, and Sandra H.
Ziegler (collectively, "Plaintiffs") bring this
purported class-action lawsuit against the Pennsylvania State
Education Association, the Chestnut Ridge Education
Association, and the National Education Association
(collectively, "Union Defendants"), as well as
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Chairman of the
Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board James M. Darby, Members of
the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board Albert Mezzaroba and
Robert H. Shoop, Jr., and Bedford County, Pennsylvania,
District Attorney Lesley Childers-Potts (collectively,
"Commonwealth Defendants"). Plaintiffs, who are all
current or retired Pennsylvania public-school teachers,
allege that Union Defendants violated Plaintiffs'
constitutional rights by forcing Plaintiffs to pay fees to
unions as a condition of their employment ("fair-share
fees") under 71 Pa. Stat. § 575 ("Section
575"), even though Plaintiffs chose not to join the
Pennsylvania State Education Association or its affiliate
unions. Plaintiffs also claim that Commonwealth Defendants,
who are charged in various ways with enforcing
Pennsylvania's laws, must be enjoined from enforcing
Section 575 in an unconstitutional manner. The outcome of
this case turns in significant part on the application of
]anus v. American Federation of State, County, and
Municipal Employees, Council 31, 138 S.Ct. 2448 (2018),
which was decided by the Supreme Court on June 27, 2018, less
than two weeks after Plaintiffs filed their original
Complaint in this matter. (See ECF No. 1.)
before the Court are two Motions to Dismiss filed by
Commonwealth Defendants and Union Defendants. (ECF Nos. 38,
40.) These Motions have been fully briefed (ECF Nos. 38, 39,
40, 41, 48, 51) and are now ripe for disposition.
reasons that follow, this Court will GRANT
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (ECF Nos. 38, 40).
a substantial part of the events giving rise to
Plaintiffs' claims occurred in the Western District of
Pennsylvania, venue is proper in this District pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2).
Background on the Constitutionality of Fair-Share
discussing Plaintiffs' claims, the Court will briefly
describe the law on the constitutionality of fair-share fees.
Abood v. Detroit Board of Education
1977, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Abood v.
Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977). In
Abood, the Court confronted a Michigan statute that
allowed unions representing local-government employees to
utilize "agency-shop" clauses in
collective-bargaining agreements. Id. at 211. These
clauses required every employee represented by a union, even
those who declined to become union members for political or
religious reasons, to pay union dues. Id. at 212.
Pursuant to this statute, a union that represented teachers
employed by the Detroit Board of Education (the
"Board") entered into a collective-bargaining
agreement with the Board that required non-union-member
teachers to pay a charge to the union equal to the regular
dues paid by union members. Id. The non-member
teachers sued, alleging that the charges paid under the
agency-shop clause were used to support political activities,
as opposed to simply being used to defray the costs of the
union's collective-bargaining activities, and that the
clause thus violated the teachers' First Amendment
rights. Id. at 213.
Court held that the charges were constitutional to the extent
they were used to finance the union's
collective-bargaining, contract-administration, and grievance
activities. Id. at 225. The Court explained:
A union-shop arrangement has been thought to distribute
fairly the cost of [collective-bargaining] activities among
those who benefit, and it counteracts the incentive that
employees might otherwise have to become 'free
riders' to refuse to contribute to the union while
obtaining benefits of union representation that necessarily
accrue to all employees.
Id. at 221-22. Furthermore, the Court reasoned that
agency-shop arrangements promote what later case law has
dubbed "labor peace." Janus, 138 S.Ct. at
2465. The Court explained that designating one union as the
exclusive representative of a group of employees "frees
the employer from the possibility of facing conflicting
demands from different unions, and permits the employer and a
single union to reach agreements and settlements that are not
subject to attack from rival labor organizations."
Abood, 431 U.S. at 221.
the Court also concluded that the agency-shop clause and fees
were unconstitutional insofar as the clause compelled
non-member teachers to pay fees to the union that supported
the union's political activities. Id. at 234-36.
Writing for the majority, Justice Stewart explained that
"at the heart of the First Amendment is the notion that
an individual should be free to believe as he will, and that
in a free society one's beliefs should be shaped by his
mind and his conscience, rather than coerced by the
State." Id. at 234-35. Based on these First
Amendment principles, the Court held that the Constitution
prohibited the union from requiring a non-member "to
contribute to the support of an ideological cause he may
oppose as a condition of holding a job as a public school
teacher." Id. at 235. The Court elaborated:
We do not hold that a union cannot constitutionally spend
funds for the expression of political views, on behalf of
political candidates, or toward the advancement of other
ideological causes not germane to its duties as
collective-bargaining representative. Rather, the
Constitution requires only that such expenditures be financed
from charges, dues, or assessments paid by employees who do
not object to advancing those ideas and who are not coerced
into doing so against their will by the threat of loss of
Id. at 235-36.
71 Pa. Stat. § 575
accordance with Abood, Pennsylvania enacted its own
agency-shop statute for public employees in 1988, 71 Pa.
Stat. § 575. According to Section 575, if mandated by
the provisions of a collective-bargaining agreement,
non-members of public-employee unions must pay fair-share
fees to the unions. Id. § 575(b). These fees
consist of the regular union-membership dues less "the
cost for the previous fiscal year of [the unions']
activities or undertakings which were not reasonably employed
to implement or effectuate the duties of the employe
organization as exclusive representative." Id.
575 also contains provisions (1) indicating how the public
employer is to deduct the fair-share fees from
non-members' paychecks, (2) describing union notice
obligations to non-members, and (3) providing procedures for
non-members to challenge the propriety of fair-share fees or
the payment of fair-share fees on religious grounds.
Id. § 575(c)-(h). In the event of a challenge
on religious grounds, the non-member objector must pay the
equivalent of the fair-share fee. Id. § 575(h).
However, the union does not receive that payment-the fee goes
"to a nonreligious charity agreed upon by the
non[-]member and the [union]." Id.
Section 575 contains penalty provisions. Particularly,
"[a]ny employe organization which violates the
provisions of this section or fails to file any required
report or affidavit or files a false report or affidavit
shall be subject to a fine of not more than two thousand
dollars ($2, 000)." Id. § 575(l).
In addition, "[a]ny person who willfully violates this
section, or who makes a false statement knowing it to be
false, or who knowingly fails to disclose a material fact
shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1, 000)
or undergo imprisonment for not more than thirty (30) days,
or both." Id. § 575(m).
with Abood, the general propriety of the fair-share
fees permitted under Section 575 withstood constitutional
scrutiny for many years. See Hohe v. Casey, 740
F.Supp. 1092, 1094 (M.D. Pa. 1989) ("It is beyond doubt
that agency shop fair-share fees, accompanied by appropriate
procedural safeguards, are constitutional." (citing
Chi. Teachers Union, Local No. 1 v. Hudson, 475 U.S.
292 (1986); Ellis v. Ry. Clerks, 466 U.S. 435
(1984); Abood, 431 U.S. at 209)), vacated in
part on other grounds, 956 F.2d 399 (3d Cir.
1992). However, the Supreme Court slowly began to question
its holding in Abood. See Harris v. Quinn, 134 S.Ct.
2618, 2627, 2632-38 (2014); Knox v. Serv. Emps. Int'l
Union, Local 1000, 567 U.S. 298, 311 (2012)
("Acceptance of the free-rider argument as a
justification for compelling non[-]members to pay a portion
of union dues represents something of an anomaly-----").
Then, the Court overruled Abood in June 2018 in
Janus. See Janus, 138 S.Ct. at 2460. Based on
Janus, the constitutionality of Section 575 is now
Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and
Municipal Employees, Council 31
Janus, the Court dealt again with a state law
requiring non-union-member public employees to pay fees to
the union to compensate the union for costs incurred in the
collective-bargaining process. See Id. at 2460-61.
The Court held that the state law was unconstitutional.
Id. at 2478, 2486.
Court rejected the rationale in Abood because, among
other reasons, Abood's free-rider justification
did not support upholding the fees. Id. at 2469.
Specifically, the Court explained:
In simple terms, the First Amendment does not permit the
government to compel a person to pay for another party's
speech just because the government thinks that the speech
furthers the interests of the person who does not want to
Id. at 2467.
the Court rejected Abood's "labor
peace" argument. Id. at 2465-66. The Court
explained that the Abood Court falsely assumed a
close relationship between the designation of a union as the
exclusive representative of a group of employees and the
fees. Id. The Court noted that today, there are
groups of public employees who are exclusively represented by
one union but who are not compelled to pay such fees.
Id. at 2466. "It is [thus] now undeniable that
'labor peace' can readily be achieved 'through
means significantly less restrictive of associational
freedoms' than the assessment of agency fees."
concluding that the doctrine of stare decisis did
not prohibit overruling Abood, the Court held that
"States and public-sector unions may no longer extract
agency fees from nonconsenting employees." Id.
at 2486. "Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to
the union may be deducted from a non[-]member's wages,
nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment,
unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay."
bring the present claims within this context.
Factual and Procedural Background
Arthur Diamond, Justin Barry, Douglas R. Kase, Jeffrey
Schwartz, Matthew Shively, and Matthew Simkins are
public-school teachers in various Pennsylvania school
districts. (ECF No. 62 ¶¶ 17-22.) Plaintiff Sandra
H. Ziegler is a retired public-school teacher who taught in a
Pennsylvania school district for 24 years. (Id.
¶ 23.) Plaintiffs represent two distinct classes: the
"agency-fee payers" and the "religious
objectors," described below. (Id. at 2.)
bring this purported class-action lawsuit against the
following Defendants: the Pennsylvania State Education
Association (the "PSEA"), a labor union; the
Chestnut Ridge Education Association (the "CREA"),
a local union chapter affiliated with the PSEA; the National
Education Association (the "NEA"), a labor union
affiliated with the PSEA; Josh Shapiro, the attorney general
of Pennsylvania, in his official capacity; James M. Darby,
the chairman of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (the
"PLRB"), in his official capacity; Albert Mezzaroba
and Robert H. Shoop, Jr., members of the PLRB, in their
official capacities; and Lesley Childers-Potts, the district
attorney of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, in her official
capacity and as a representative of the class of all district
attorneys in Pennsylvania with the authority to prosecute
violations of Section 575. (Id. ¶¶ 11-16.)
Diamond, who represents the agency-fee-payer class, refuses
to join the PSEA or its affiliates because he disapproves of
their political advocacy and the salaries paid to their
members. (Id. ¶ 17.) However, the
collective-bargaining agreements negotiated by the PSEA
compelled Mr. Diamond and others like him to pay a fair-share
fee to the PSEA and its affiliates as a condition of their
employment. (Id. ¶¶ 24-25.) Pennsylvania
law authorized the PSEA and its affiliates to extract these
fair-share fees. (Id. ¶ 31); see 71
Pa. Stat. § 575.
Barry, Mr. Kase, Mr. Schwartz, Mr. Shively, Mr. Simkins, and
Ms. Ziegler represent the second class of
Plaintiffs-the religious objectors. (ECF No. 62 at 2.) These
Plaintiffs refuse to join the PSEA or its affiliates because
the union advocates for policies that contradict their
religious beliefs. (Id. ¶¶ 18-23.) The
collective-bargaining agreements negotiated by the PSEA
compelled Plaintiffs and their fellow religious objectors to
pay a fee for choosing not to join the union. (Id.
¶ 24.) Specifically, the religious-objector Plaintiffs
paid the equivalent of a fair-share fee to nonreligious
charities approved by the union. (Id.) This option
was available only to those who objected to the union's
activities on "bona fide religious grounds" and is
also authorized by Pennsylvania law. (Id.
¶¶ 24, 31); see 71 Pa. Stat. § 575.
claim that Union Defendants' "compelled extraction
of money from the representative plaintiffs and their fellow
class members violated their constitutional rights-
regardless of whether the union kept the money for themselves
or directed it toward a union-approved charity." (ECF
No. 62 ¶ 28.) Plaintiffs bring this class-action lawsuit
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Declaratory Judgment Act,
28 U.S.C. § 2201. (Id. ¶ 53.) Plaintiffs
also bring state-law causes of action against Union
Defendants, including conversion, trespass to chattels,
replevin, unjust enrichment, and restitution. (Id.
¶ 54.) Plaintiffs request that this Court:
(1) Certify plaintiff classes of agency-fee payers and
religious objectors and defendant classes of all chapters and
affiliates of the PSEA and of all district attorneys in
Pennsylvania with the authority to prosecute violations of
Section 575 (id. ¶ 55(a)-(d));
(2) Declare that Plaintiffs have a constitutional right to
decline to join or financially support a public-employee
union and that they cannot be penalized or forced to pay
money to a union or third-party entity as a consequence of
exercising this constitutional right (id. ¶
(3) Declare that all collective-bargaining agreements that
compel non-union members to pay fair-share fees violate
Plaintiffs' constitutional rights (id. ¶
(4) Declare Section 575 unconstitutional to the extent it
allows public-employee unions to extract fair-share fees from
non-members' salaries without first securing their
consent (id. ¶ 55(g)-(h)) and to the extent it
delineates punishments for those who refuse to join or
financially support a public-employee union or pay money to a
union-approved charity (id. ¶ 55(n));
(5) Declare Section 575 unconstitutional because it forces
religious objectors to pay fees to union-approved charities
and penalizes them for exercising their constitutional right
not to join or financially support a union, and also because
it disqualifies religious charities from receiving a
non-union member's fair-share fees (id. ¶
(6) Declare the objection and arbitration provisions of
Section 575 unconstitutional (id. ¶ 55(i)-(k));
(7) Enjoin the PSEA and its affiliates from enrolling
Plaintiffs in union membership unless the union informs them
of their constitutional rights and secures a waiver of those
rights (id. ¶ 55(q));
(8) Enjoin the PSEA from entering into collective-bargaining
agreements that compel employees to pay money to a union as a
condition of employment, compel employees who decline union
membership to pay money to third-party entities, or allow a
union to enroll employees in union membership without
informing them of their constitutional rights and securing a
waiver (id. ¶ 55(r));
(9) Enjoin Defendants from enforcing provisions of
collective-bargaining agreements that require payment as a
consequence of exercising one's constitutional right not
to join or financially support a public-employee union
(id. ¶ 55(s));
(10) Enjoin Commonwealth Defendants from enforcing Section
575 in an unconstitutional manner (id. ¶
(11) Order the PSEA, NEA, and their affiliates and chapters
to repay all fair-share fees they extracted from Plaintiffs,
regardless of whether Union Defendants kept those funds for
themselves or diverted them to charities (id. ¶
(12) Award costs and attorneys' fees (id. ¶
initiated this lawsuit on June 15, 2018, by filing their
Class Action Complaint.
No. 1.) On August 20, 2018, Commonwealth Defendants and Union
Defendants filed separate Motions to Dismiss with
accompanying briefs. (ECF Nos. 30, 31, 32, 33.) In response,
Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 37.)
Commonwealth Defendants and Union Defendants filed new
Motions to Dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) and briefs in support on September 19,
2018. (ECF Nos. 38, 39, 40, 41.) Plaintiffs
responded with their Brief in Opposition to the
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss First Amended Complaint
(ECF No. 48) on October 10, 2018. After receiving leave of
court (see ECF No. 50), Union Defendants filed a
Reply Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss First Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 51) on October 30, 2018. Union Defendants
also submitted two Notices of Supplemental Authority (ECF
Nos. 52, 53), directing this Court's attention to
relevant cases that were decided after Union Defendants
submitted their Reply Brief.
January 7, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Leave to File
a Second Amended Class-Action Complaint (ECF No. 58) and
brief in support (ECF No. 59). After Union Defendants opposed
the Motion (ECF No. 60), the Court granted in part and denied
in part Plaintiffs' Motion on January 31, 2019.
(See ECF No. 61.) Plaintiffs then filed their Second
Amended Complaint (ECF No. 62) on February 5, 2019. Per the
Court's January 31, 2019, Memorandum Order, the Court
treats the Motions to Dismiss Plaintiffs' First Amended
Complaint (ECF Nos. 38, 40) as Motions to Dismiss
Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint. (See ECF
No. 61 at 5.) Since the filing of the Second Amended
Complaint, Union Defendants have filed ten Notices of
Supplemental Authority (ECF Nos. 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69,
70, 71, 72) identifying new decisions that purportedly
support Union Defendants' position in this matter.
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1), under which a complaint may be dismissed for lack
of subject-matter jurisdiction, puts the court's
"very power to hear the case" at issue.
Petruska v. Gannon Univ., 462 F.3d 294, 302 (3d Cir.
2006) (quoting Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan
Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977)). There are
two types of Rule 12(b)(1) challenges: facial and factual.
In re Horizon Healthcare Sews. Inc. Data Breach
Litig., 846 F.3d 625, 632-33 (3d Cir. 2017); Hartig
Drug Co. Inc. v. Senju Pharm. Co. Ltd., 836 F.3d 261,
268 (3d Cir. 2016).
facial challenge "attacks the complaint on its face
without contesting its alleged facts." Hartig,
836 F.3d at 268. This type of challenge is treated like a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, discussed infra, in that the
court must assume that the complaint's well-pleaded
factual allegations are true. Davis v. Wells Fargo,
824 F.3d 333, 346 (3d Cir. 2016); Hartig, 836 F.3d
at 268. Facial challenges address issues such as whether the
complaint presents a question of federal law or pleads
diversity jurisdiction, and such attacks can occur before the
moving party has filed an answer. Constitution Party of
Pa. v. Aichele, 757 F.3d 347, 358 (3d Cir. 2014).
contract, a factual attack "is an argument that there is
no subject matter jurisdiction because the facts of the case
... do not support the asserted jurisdiction."
Id. This challenge "allows the defendant to
present competing facts," id.; see Davis, 824
F.3d at 346, and the court does not assume that the
plaintiff's allegations are true. Davis, 824
F.3d at 346. For example, "while diversity of
citizenship might have been adequately pleaded by the
plaintiff, the defendant can submit proof that, in fact,
diversity is lacking." Constitution Party, 757
F.3d at 358.
order to tell the difference between a facial and factual
attack, the court looks to the stage of the proceedings: if a
complaint is challenged under Rule 12(b)(1) before the
defendant answered the complaint or otherwise presented
competing facts, it is a facial attack. Id; Davis,
Commonwealth Defendants have not yet filed an answer or
presented competing facts; therefore, their Motion to
Dismiss, to the extent it is based on Rule 12(b)(1), must be
treated as a facial attack on this Court's subject-matter
jurisdiction, a conclusion with which they agree.
(See ECF No. 39 at 3.)
contrast, in support of their Motion to Dismiss, Union
Defendants submitted various sworn declarations. (ECF Nos.
41-1, 41-2, 41-3, 41-4, 41-5, 41-6, 41-7.) Union Defendants
seem to assert that based on the submission of these
declarations, their Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1)
must be treated as a factual attack on this Court's
subject matter jurisdiction. (See ECF No. 41 at 10
n.1 (citing Gould Elecs. v. United States, 220 F.3d
169, 176-77 (3d Cir. 2000), which discussed treating a
12(b)(1) motion as a factual attack).) And Plaintiffs do not
challenge this assertion. Therefore, when evaluating Union
Defendants' 12(b)(1) grounds for dismissal, the Court may
consider Union Defendants' affidavits.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
complaint may be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Rule
12(b)(6) for "failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted." Connelly v. Lane Constr.
Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 786 (3d Cir. 2016). But detailed
pleading is not generally required. Id. The Rules
demand only "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" to give
the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
the pleading regime established by Twombly and
Iqbal, a court reviewing the sufficiency of a
complaint must take three steps. First, the court must
"tak[e] note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead
to state a claim." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 675 (2009). Second, the court should identify
allegations that, "because they are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth." Id. at 679; see also Burtch v.
Milberg Factors, Inc., 662 F.3d 212, 224 (3d Cir. 2011)
("Mere restatements of the elements of a claim are not
entitled to the assumption of truth." (citation
omitted)). Finally, "[w]hen there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, [the] court should assume their veracity
and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
"A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Id.; see also Connelly,
809 F.3d at 786. Ultimately, the plausibility determination
is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
Commonwealth Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is
Commonwealth Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 38) and brief in support thereof (ECF No.
39), Commonwealth Defendant move to dismiss Plaintiffs'
Second Amended Complaint because (1) Plaintiffs' §
1983 claim fails to specify which constitutional rights are
at issue, (2) Plaintiffs' claims against Commonwealth
Defendants are barred by the Eleventh Amendment, and (3) the
chairman and members of the PLRB and Attorney General Shapiro
are not appropriate defendants to this action. (Id.)
Plaintiffs' § 1983 claim states a claim even though
it does not explicitly state which constitutional rights are
initial matter, the Court rejects Commonwealth
Defendants' assertion that Plaintiffs' failure to
specify the constitutional rights at issue is fatal to
Plaintiffs' § 1983 claim. The Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure require only that a complaint state "a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed
factual allegations are not required-the complaint must
simply contain enough information to give the defendants fair
notice of the claim and the facts upon which the claim is
based. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Plaintiffs'
Second Amended Complaint clearly gives notice of the
constitutional rights at issue through its factual
allegations and its reliance on ]anus. The cases to
which Commonwealth Defendants cite are inapposite, as they
involved factual allegations that were not clear enough to
implicate specific constitutional rights. See, e.g.,
Culver v. Pennsylvania, Civil No. 3:10-CV-382, 2010 WL
11531289, at *4 (M.D. Pa. May 19, 2010) ("Culver's
claims against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania do not allege
in an intelligible fashion any cognizable violation of
specific rights guaranteed by the Constitution or laws of the
United States upon which relief can be granted."),
report and recommendation adopted by 2010 WL
11537607 (M.D. Pa. July 28, 2010). Therefore, based on the
Court's experience and common sense, Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679, the Court declines to dismiss Plaintiffs'
§ 1983 claim as to Commonwealth Defendants for failure
to specify the constitutional rights on which the claim is
Based on Eleventh Amendment immunity, Plaintiffs' claims
against Commonwealth Defendants are dismissed.
Defendants next move to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims
against them because they are barred by the Eleventh
Amendment. (ECF No. 39 at 6.) Commonwealth Defendants explain
that the Eleventh Amendment protects Commonwealth Defendants
from this lawsuit and that no exception to Eleventh Amendment
immunity applies. (Id. at 8-10.)
response, Plaintiffs do not dispute that Eleventh Amendment
immunity generally applies to Commonwealth Defendants.
Instead, Plaintiffs assert that their claims against
Commonwealth Defendants fall within the Ex parte
Young exception to Eleventh Amendment immunity because
Plaintiffs seek prospective relief to enjoin violations of
federal law. (ECF No. 48 at 29.)
The Eleventh Amendment
Eleventh Amendment states that "[t]he 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." U.S. Const, amend. XI. The Supreme Court
"has long 'understood the Eleventh Amendment to
stand not so much for what it says, but for the
presupposition . . . which it confirms." Kimel v.
Fla. Bd. of Regents,528 U.S. 62, 72-73 (2000)
(citations omitted) (quoting Seminole Tribe of Fla. v.
Florida,517 U.S. 44, 54 (1996)). This presupposition is
that "the States entered the federal system with their
sovereignty intact [and] that the judicial authority in
Article III is limited by this sovereignty."
Blatchford v. Native Vill. of Noatak & Circle
Vill.,501 U.S. 775, 779 (1991) (citing Welch v.
Tex. Dep't of Highways and Pub. Transp., 483 U.S.
468, 472 (1987)). "Accordingly, for over a century now,
[the Supreme Court has] made clear ...