on the briefs: [*]
from the United States District Court for the District of
Utah (D.C. No. 2:13-CV-00319-DN)
D. Felix, Deiss Law PC, Salt Lake City, Utah, for
D. Davidson, Assistant Utah Solicitor General, Salt Lake
City, Utah, for Defendants-Appellees.
McHUGH, BALDOCK, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.
BALDOCK, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Williams, an inmate at the Utah Department of Corrections
(UDOC), appeals the judgment entered in favor of UDOC and
numerous prison officials on his claim that UDOC failed to
pay interest on prison accounts in violation of the Takings
Clause of the Fifth Amendment, and that prison officials
retaliated against him for raising this claim. We exercise
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and affirm, albeit
for reasons other than those stated by the district court,
and remand with instructions to the district court to dismiss
Mr. Williams' claims without prejudice.
that Utah state law requires UDOC to pay interest on prison
accounts, Mr. Williams investigated the relationship between
UDOC and Zions First National Bank (Zions Bank). Based on his
investigation, he concluded that Zions Bank had a contract
with UDOC to hold prisoner funds in an account administered
by UDOC, and that the interest earned on the funds was
illegally retained by the bank, when it should have been paid
to the prisoners who owned the funds. Mr. Williams believed
that, in response to this investigation, UDOC retaliated
against him by, among other things, seizing his legal papers
and giving him a negative parole report, which resulted in
the denial of parole. He claimed that he was a model prisoner
who was similarly situated to other prisoners who had been
Williams, then proceeding pro se, filed suit pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, against UDOC, numerous prison officials,
Zions Bank, and several Zions Bank employees. He alleged
takings and due-process constitutional violations for
withholding interest on inmate funds, and retaliation in
violation of the First Amendment for raising these
issues. After the district court appointed counsel
for Mr. Williams, all defendants filed motions to dismiss.
The district court dismissed all claims except the
retaliation claim, and dismissed all defendants except five
prison officials. The remaining defendants then filed a
motion for summary judgment on the retaliation claim, which
the district court granted.
their motion to dismiss, UDOC and the prison-official
defendants (collectively, the UDOC Defendants) asserted
Eleventh Amendment immunity, claiming that as an arm of the
State of Utah, UDOC was immune from suit, and that the prison
personnel were similarly immune from suit for claims against
them in their official capacities. Mr. Williams presented no
argument regarding the Eleventh Amendment, and the district
court did not address Eleventh Amendment immunity in any of
its rulings. On appeal, the UDOC Defendants renew their
argument that they are immune from suit under the Eleventh
Eleventh Amendment Immunity
Eleventh Amendment states, "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." U.S. Const. amend XI.
The Eleventh Amendment bars suits in federal court against a
nonconsenting state brought by the state's own citizens.
See Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 662-63 (1974).
This immunity extends to arms of the state and to state
officials who are sued for damages in their official
capacity. See Peterson v. Martinez, 707 F.3d 1197,
1205 (10th Cir. 2013). "[O]nce effectively asserted[, ]
[Eleventh Amendment] ...