United States District Court, D. Nevada
before the court is defendants Jaime Cruz and Workforce
Connections' (collectively “defendants”)
motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 28). Plaintiff Nevada Partners,
Inc. (“Nevada Partners”) filed a response (ECF
No. 32), to which defendants replied (ECF No. 34).
action arises from a dispute regarding Workforce
Connections' award of federal grants in the amount of
$10, 000, 000 to ResCare Workforce Services
(“ResCare”), which is an organization that
matches job applicants with employers. (ECF No. 1). The
complaint contains the following allegations:
Connections is Southern Nevada's local workforce
development board. Id. Among its various duties,
Workforce Connections distributes federal grants for the
improvement of employment services pursuant to the Workforce
Innovation and Opportunity Act (“WIOA”), 29
U.S.C. § 3102 et seq. Id. Local boards
award WIOA grants on a competitive basis, in which the
applicants with the best performance are more likely to
receive funds. 29 U.S.C. § 1322(d)(10)(B)(i); NRS
2015 to 2018, Workforce Connections distributed over $9, 000,
000 to Nevada Partners. (ECF No. 1). Nevada Partners used
those funds to assist thousands of residents with job
readiness services and provide federal tax return assistance.
Id. Workforce Connections also awarded ResCare
millions of dollars in grants during this time period.
Id. On July 1, 2015, Workforce Connections also
designated ResCare to operate the One-Stop Center in its
building. Id. One-Stop Center operators coordinate
workforce services that organizations like Nevada Partners
provide. Id. On March 21, 2017, ResCare ceased to
serve as the One-Stop Center operator but remained in
Workforce Connections' building. Id.
2018, Workforce Connections began a new request for proposals
process to fund WIOA programs from July 2019 to June 2022.
Id. The new application process had two substantial
changes: (1) past performance evaluations were no longer a
part of the initial technical review stage and (2) grant
applicants had to comply with a “cash match”
requirement to receive WIOA funds. Id.
“cash match” provision required applicants to
match two percent of their requested grant amount in cash
resources. Id. The new “cash match”
requirement did not displace the “in-kind match”
requirement that Workforce Connections required in prior
request for proposals processes. Id. The
“in-kind match” provision required applicants to
match three percent of their requested grant amount but did
not require applicants to commit those matching funds to the
relevant grant project. Id.
early 2019, Workforce Connections required Nevada Partners to
undergo an on-site monitoring review during the days before,
and immediately up to, the deadline to submit grant
applications. Id. The monitoring process involved a
review of all fiscal and administrative documents.
Id. Nevada Partners also kept its staff and
directors available on site to answer all questions, collect
documents, and participate in meetings. Id.
Workforce Connections did not conduct other on-site
monitoring reviews for any other grant applicants in the days
before the submission deadline. Id.
March 13, 2019, Workforce Connections convened a programs
committee meeting in which it planned to award $10, 000, 000
to ResCare and no WIOA funding to Nevada Partners, consistent
with the ad hoc selection panel's recommendation.
Id. Various individuals at the meeting raised
concerns regarding Workforce Connections' plan.
Id. The primary points of contention were that the
request for proposals process did not include interviews with
grant applicants and that ResCare allegedly performed worse
than other applicants that the ad hoc selection panel did not
recommend for funding. Id. In response to those
concerns, Workforce Connections continued the meeting.
April 2, 2019, the programs committee reconvened.
Id. Two weeks in advance of that meeting, Nevada
Partners submitted a written request to Cruz asking for
notice. Id. Workforce Connections failed to provide
a copy of notice to Nevada Partners and did not post public
notice by March 29, 2019. Id. The committee
ultimately approved the ad hoc selection panel's
recommendation. Id. On May 9, 2019, Workforce
Connections' board of directors held an open meeting
where it followed the ad hoc selection panel's
recommendation and awarded $10, 000, 000 to ResCare.
3, 2019, Nevada Partners initiated this action, asserting
eight causes of action: (1) violation of procedural due
process; (2) violation of substantive due process; (3)
violation of equal protection; (4) violation of Nevada's
open meeting law, NRS 241.020; (5) violation of WIOA's
competitive process requirement, 29 U.S.C. § 3122 et
seq.; (6) violation of WIOA's performance
accountability measures requirement, 29 U.S.C. § 3141
et seq.; (7) violation of WIOA's conflict of
interest provision, 29 U.S.C. § 3122(h) et
seq.; and (8) injunctive relief. (ECF No. 1).
defendants move to dismiss all causes of action pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 28).
may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint for “failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pled complaint must provide
“[a] short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). While Rule 8 does not require detailed
factual allegations, it demands “more than labels and
conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).
allegations must be enough to rise above the speculative
level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, to
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter to “state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678 (citation omitted).
Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step
approach district courts are to apply when considering
motions to dismiss. First, the court must accept as true all
well-pled factual allegations in the complaint; however,
legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of
truth. Id. at 678-79. Mere recitals of the elements
of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory
statements, do not suffice. Id.
the court must consider whether the factual allegations in
the complaint allege a plausible claim for relief.
Id. at 679. A claim is facially plausible when the
plaintiff's complaint alleges facts that allow the court
to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the alleged misconduct. Id. at 678.
the complaint does not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
“alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Id. at 679. When the
allegations in a complaint have not crossed the line from
conceivable to plausible, plaintiff's claim must be
dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
Ninth Circuit addressed post-Iqbal pleading
standards in Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th
Cir. 2011). The Starr court held,
First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth,
allegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply
recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain
sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair
notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself
effectively. Second, the factual allegations that are taken
as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such
that it is ...