United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE DEFENDANT'S
RENEWED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. 55)
Ronald E. Bush, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge
is Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt.
55), seeking dismissal of all claims. Having reviewed the
briefing and supporting filings, participated in oral
argument, and otherwise being fully advised, the Court enters
the following Decision and Order:
Jun Yu (“Yu”) is a Chinese national who
matriculated into the Doctoral Clinical Psychology Program at
Defendant Idaho State University (“ISU”) in 2008.
First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 14-16 (Dkt. 41). By mid-2012,
all that remained for Yu to complete the requirements of the
program was a successful clinical internship. Id.
¶ 75, 161. Yu coordinated with ISU and the prestigious
Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism (“CCCA”) in
Cleveland, Ohio to develop a customized internship that would
allow him to fulfill his final graduation requirement.
Id. ¶ 87. He started the internship, which was
designed to last for at least twelve months, on January 2,
2013. Id. ¶¶ 107, 108 (Dkt. 41).
not complete the internship, as he was dismissed from the
CCCA in approximately April of 2013. Id. ¶ 130.
In May of 2013, ISU told Yu that the graduate faculty of the
Psychology Department had voted to dismiss him from its
doctoral program. Id. ¶ 6, 136. After various
unsuccessful voluntary appeals, Yu received a letter from
ISU's Graduate School Dean dated October 2, 2013 that
denied Yu's final appeal and stated that his dismissal
was effective immediately. Id. ¶¶ 7-10;
see also Pl.'s Resp. Exhibit PR1-8 (Dkt. 56-12)
initiated this action on September 16, 2015 by filing his
Complaint against ISU, alleging liability for violations of
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, deprivations of his
constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and
negligent infliction of emotional distress. Compl.
¶¶ 170-181 (Dkt. 1). On March 29, 2017, he filed an
Amended Complaint, expanding his § 1983 claim to include
allegations that ISU denied both his procedural due process
rights (Count Two) and his substantive due process rights
(Count Four). First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 354-359, 363-367
(Dkt. 41). He also added counts related to promissory
estoppel and claims arising in contract law, bringing a total
number of eighteen claims. Id. ¶¶ 368-435.
the Complaint and the First Amended Complaint name ISU and
“John/Jane Does I through X, whose true identities are
presently unknown” as defendants. Compl. (Dkt. 1);
First Am. Compl. (Dkt. 41). Yu did not timely move to amend
to substitute any Doe defendants or join additional
defendants, and the deadline to do so has passed. Second Am.
Case Mgmt. Order 1 (Dkt. 29). Further, Yu did not name as a
defendant any individuals associated with ISU, whether acting
in an official capacity or not.
renews its motion for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of
all eighteen claims. It argues that several of Yu's
claims, including his Title VI claim, are barred by the
statute of limitations because the claims accrued more than
two years prior to Yu's filing suit. It also argues that
ISU is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment for
every claim except the Title VI claim. For the reasons
that follow, the Court denies ISU's summary judgment
motion as to Yu's Title VI claim but grants the motion as
to the other seventeen claims.
judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to
any claim or defense, “there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). One of the
principal purposes of summary judgment “is to isolate
and dispose of factually unsupported claims . . . .”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
It is “not a disfavored procedural shortcut, ”
but is instead the “principal tool[ ] by which
factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be isolated
and prevented from going to trial with the attendant
unwarranted consumption of public and private
resources.” Id. at 327. “[T]he mere
existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). There must be a
genuine dispute as to any material fact - a fact
“that may affect the outcome of the case.”
Id. at 248.
evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and the court must not make credibility
findings. Id. at 255. Direct testimony of the
non-movant must be believed, however implausible. See
Leslie v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir.
1999). However, the Court is not required to adopt
unreasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence. See
McLaughlin v. Liu, 849 F.2d 1205, 1208 (9th Cir. 1988).
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine dispute as to material fact. See
Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir. 2001).
To carry this burden, the moving party need not introduce any
affirmative evidence (such as affidavits or deposition
excerpts) but may simply point out the absence of evidence to
support the non-moving party's case. See Fairbank v.
Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528, 532 (9th Cir.
2000). This shifts the burden to the non-moving party to
produce evidence sufficient to support a jury verdict in his
favor. See Devereaux, 263 F.3d at 1076. The
non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and show
“by [his] own affidavits, or by the depositions,
answers to interrogatories, or admissions on file” that
a genuine dispute of material fact exists. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 324. Where reasonable minds could differ on the
materials facts at issue, summary judgment should not be
granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251.
ISU Is Not Entitled to Summary Judgment on Yu's Title VI
One of Yu's First Amended Complaint alleges a violation
of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000d through 2000d-7. First Am. Compl.
¶¶ 351-353 (Dkt. 41). ISU moves for summary
judgment on this claim, arguing that (1) it is time-barred
and (2) there is a lack of factual support in the record.
Mem. in Supp. of Def.'s Renewed Mot. for Summ. J. 4-5,
9-10 (Dkt. 55-1). Each of these arguments will be addressed
Yu's Title VI Claim Is Timely as a Matter of
VI does not have its own statute of limitations; instead,
“claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 2000d are
governed by the same state limitations period applicable to
claims brought under § 1983.” Taylor v.
Regents of Univ. of Cal., 993 F.2d 710, 712 (9th Cir.
1993). The state's personal injury statute of limitations
applies to claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Wilson v.
Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 275 (1985). Applicable here,
therefore, is Idaho's two year statute of limitations for
personal injury claims, found at I.C. § 5-219(4).
law determines when a Title VI claim accrues, for purposes of
calculating the two-year statute of limitations under Idaho
law. See Elliott v. City of Union City, 25 F.3d 800,
801-802 (9th Cir. 1994); see also Taylor, 993 F.2d
at 712. Such a claim accrues “when the plaintiff knows
or has reason to know of the injury which is the basis of the
action.” Elliott, 25 F.3d at 802 (quotation
contends that Yu's Title VI claim accrued no later than
May 2013, when ISU notified him the graduate faculty had
voted to dismiss him from the doctoral program. Id.
at 4. Therefore, ISU argues, Yu's September 2015 filing
was untimely by some four months.
argues, first, that ISU's May 2013 notification did not
effectuate a dismissal from the doctoral program because he
possessed appeal rights (that could have kept him in the
program) that were not exhausted until October 2013.
Pl.'s Resp. 5 (Dkt. 56). Second, Yu argues that the
statute of limitations was equitably tolled while he
participated in ISU's voluntary administrative appeals
process. Id. at 6.
detailed description of the relevant facts and dates is
useful in evaluating Yu's arguments. In a letter dated
May 3, 2013, ISU told Yu:
It was the unanimous conclusion of the Graduate Faculty of
the Psychology Department that you are not making
satisfactory progress in the program. A formal ballot was
taken to record the votes of the 10 members of the Graduate
Faculty present at the meeting; all 10 members voted to
dismiss you from the doctoral program in clinical
psychology based on your unsatisfactory progress toward
. . . .
You have the right to appeal this decision by following the
procedures stated on pp. 16-17 of the Idaho State University
Graduate Catalog. . .
Pl.'s Resp. Ex. PR1-4 p. 2 (Dkt. 56-8) (emphasis added).
The letter was signed by Dr. Mark W. Roberts, Director ...