Unpublished Disposition, 844 F.2d 793 (9th Cir. 1987)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 844 F.2d 793 (9th Cir. 1987)

UNIVERSITY VILLAGE MUSIC CENTER, a minority business; JamesShelton, Plaintiffs/Appellants,v.SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT; Bellevue School District; LakeWashington School District; Blanchet High SchoolDistrict, Defendants/Appellees.

No. 87-3548.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted Dec. 29, 1987.* Decided April 8, 1988.As Corrected April 19, 1988.

Before JAMES R. BROWNING, Chief Judge, and SKOPIL and KOZINSKI, Circuit Judges.


James Shelton brought this pro se action on behalf of himself and his business against several Washington public school districts, a private school, several community colleges, and the University of Washington, seeking injunctive and monetary damages for alleged racial discrimination arising from the defendants' failure to do business with him. The district court dismissed the community colleges and the University of Washington and granted summary judgment in favor of the remaining defendants. We affirm.


The eleventh amendment bars any action in federal court against a state or state agency, absent the state's consent. Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 663 (1974) (action for money damages); Pennhurst State Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100-01 (1983) (actions in equity). The University of Washington and the community colleges are state agencies. Hontz v. State, 105 Wash. 2d 302, 310, 714 P.2d 1176, 1180 (1986) (university); Centralia College Educ. Ass'n v. Bd. of Trustees, 82 Wash. 2d 128, 129, 508 P.2d 1357, 1358 (1973) (community colleges). Washington has not waived its immunity under the eleventh amendment. See McConnell v. Critchlow, 661 F.2d 116, 117 (9th Cir. 1981). Accordingly, the district court properly dismissed these claims against the University and the community colleges.

The district court also properly granted summary judgment in favor of the remaining defendants. Liberally construed, Shelton's complaint alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983 (1982) and the Equal Protection Clause of the fourteenth amendment. To support these claims, Shelton must allege facts indicating a discriminatory intent on the part of the defendants. See Firefighters Local Union No. 1784 v. Stotts, 467 U.S. 561, 583 n. 16 (1984) (sections 1981 and 1983); Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 265 (1977) (equal protection). Shelton fails to allege any facts indicating a discriminatory intent on the part of the defendants. He asserts only that he had been in business for twelve years and that during that time none of the defendants transacted business with him. From this he concludes that the defendants discriminated against his business because his former wife is of Japanese descent. Such conclusory allegations are insufficient to state a claim under the Civil Rights Act. See Jones v. Community Redevelopment Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984).

Similarly, Shelton's pendent state claims must also fail. His conclusory allegations of racial discrimination are insufficient to state a cause of action under Wash.Rev.Code Sec. 49.60.030 (1987). See Marquez v. University of Washington, 32 Wash. App. 302, 309, 648 P.2d 94, 98 (1982) (summary judgment for defendant proper when plaintiff failed to allege facts indicating discrimination), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1013 (1983). There are also insufficient allegations to support his claim of an unlawful boycott under Wash.Rev.Code Sec. 49.60.030(1) (f). Shelton does not allege that a foreign person or government "required or imposed" a boycott of his business. See Wash.Rev.Code Sec. 49.60.030(1) (f).

Shelton also contends that the district court erred by denying his request to reassign the case to a different judge. He supported his request for reassignment, however, only by listing previous actions in which the district judge ruled against persons of Japanese descent. " [A] judge's prior adverse ruling is not sufficient cause for recusal." United States v. Studley, 783 F.2d 934, 939 (9th Cir. 1986). Furthermore, Shelton is mistaken in his contention that the challenged judge cannot rule on the sufficiency of the reassignment request. See id. at 940.

Finally, we consider whether to impose sanctions on Shelton for filing a frivolous appeal. Generally, we are hesitant to impose sanctions against pro se litigants. Nevertheless, " [w]hen issues are raised and disposed of in prior proceedings, the reassertion of those issues may give rise to a finding of frivolousness sufficient to support sanctions." Scott v. Younger, 739 F.2d 1464, 1467 (9th Cir. 1984); see also Cook v. Spillman, 806 F.2d 948, 949 (9th Cir. 1986) (sanctions imposed on pro se litigant who raised argument repeatedly rejected by the court). Shelton has filed a number of cases including one in which he sued the United States, the state of Washington, and various state officials alleging several of the claims presented in this action. See Shelton v. United States, No. 86-4041 (9th Cir. April 10, 1987) (memorandum disposition). In our decision on that appeal we sought to make it clear that Shelton's "claims of discrimination and conspiracy are groundless." Id. Under these circumstances, we conclude that sanctions pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 38 are appropriate. Accordingly, Shelton is hereby ordered to pay appellees' costs and to pay attorneys' fees in the amount of $1500.00 to be divided equally among appellees.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for submission on the record and briefs and without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a), Ninth Circuit Rule 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3