Ass'n for Disabled Americans v. Fla. Intern. Univ., No. 02-10360.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtKravitch
Citation405 F.3d 954
Docket NumberNo. 02-10360.
Decision Date06 April 2005
PartiesASSOCIATION FOR DISABLED AMERICANS, INC., Michelle Calderon, Steve Brother, Jorge Luis Rodriguez, Plaintiffs-Appellants, United States of America, Intervenor, v. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY, Defendant-Appellee.
405 F.3d 954
ASSOCIATION FOR DISABLED AMERICANS, INC., Michelle Calderon, Steve Brother, Jorge Luis Rodriguez, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

Page 955

United States of America, Intervenor,
v.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 02-10360.
United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.
April 6, 2005.

Rhonda Anne Anderson, Rhonda A. Anderson, P.A., William Nicholas Charouhis, Charouhis & Associates, P.A., Miami, FL, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Sherril M. Colombo, Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, Miami, FL, for Defendant-Appellee.

Sarah E. Harrington, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights, Appellate, Washington, DC, for Intervenor.

Page 956

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before BIRCH, KRAVITCH and GIBSON*, Circuit Judges.

KRAVITCH, Circuit Judge:


The issue presented in this case is whether the Eleventh Amendment prevents a disabled person from suing a state university under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq. ("Title II of the ADA").

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs-appellants, Association for Disabled Americans, Inc., Michelle Calderon, Steve Brother, and Jorge Rodriguez (collectively "appellants"), filed a complaint against defendant-appellee Florida International University (FIU),1 alleging that FIU violated Title II of the ADA by, inter alia, failing to provide qualified sign language interpreters, failing to provide adequate auxiliary aids and services such as effective note takers, and failing to furnish appropriate aids to its students with disabilities such as physical access to certain programs and facilities at FIU. The complaint sought injunctive relief to prevent the discrimination. FIU alleged that the appellants' claims were barred by the Eleventh Amendment.

The district court granted FIU's motion to dismiss, finding that the Eleventh Amendment barred appellants' claims. The appellants appealed and the United States intervened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2403(a) to defend the constitutionality of the abrogation of Eleventh Amendment immunity in Title II of the ADA.

This appeal was stayed pending the Supreme Court's decision in Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S. 509, 124 S.Ct. 1978, 158 L.Ed.2d 820 (2004), which concerned the constitutionality of Title II of the ADA as applied to cases implicating the right of access to the courts by disabled citizens. In light of Lane, we now turn to the question of whether the Eleventh Amendment bars appellants from suing FIU.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

The granting of a motion to dismiss based upon Eleventh Amendment Immunity is subject to de novo review. Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 11 F.3d 1016 (11th Cir.1994), aff'd 517 U.S. 44, 116 S.Ct. 1114, 134 L.Ed.2d 252 (1996); McDonald v. Hillsborough County School Bd., 821 F.2d 1563 (11th Cir.1987).

B. Eleventh Amendment Immunity as applied to a Public Education Institution

Title II of the ADA prescribes that "no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity." 42 U.S.C. § 12132 (emphasis added).

The Eleventh Amendment grants States immunity to suits brought by private citizens in federal court. U.S. Const. amend. XI. Congress can abrogate that immunity where (1) Congress "unequivocally expressed its intent to abrogate" the States' sovereign immunity in the statute at issue and (2) "Congress acted pursuant

Page 957

to a valid grant of constitutional authority." Kimel v. Florida Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 73, 120 S.Ct. 631, 640, 145 L.Ed.2d 522 (2000). Congress satisfied the first requirement by writing the following language into Section 12202 of the ADA: "[a] State shall not be immune under the eleventh amendment to the Constitution of the United States from an action in Federal or State court ... for a violation of" the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12202. This appeal, therefore, involves the second requirement, i.e. whether the statutory provision removing Eleventh Amendment immunity for private suits under Title II of the ADA is a valid exercise of Congress's authority under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment.

"When Congress seeks to remedy or prevent unconstitutional discrimination, § 5 [of the Fourteenth Amendment] authorizes it to enact prophylactic legislation proscribing practices that are discriminatory in effect, if not in intent, to carry out the basic objectives of the Equal Protection Clause." Lane, 124 S.Ct. at 1986. In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507, 519-20, 117 S.Ct. 2157, 2164, 138 L.Ed.2d 624 (1997), the Supreme Court held that Section 5 legislation is valid if it exhibits "a congruence and proportionality between the injury to be prevented or remedied and the means adopted to that end." (Emphasis added).

In order to establish whether Congress's enactment of Title II of the ADA satisfies the Boerne"congruence and proportionality" requirements in the context of a public education institution, we follow a three-step analysis. See Board of Trustees v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 365-70, 121 S.Ct. 955, 963-66, 148 L.Ed.2d 866 (2001); Boerne, 521 U.S. at 519, 117 S.Ct. at 2164. Under this analysis, we must determine: (1) the constitutional right or rights that Congress sought to enforce when it enacted the ADA, (2) whether there was a history of unconstitutional discrimination to support Congress's determination that prophylactic legislation was necessary; and (3) whether Title II is an appropriate response to this history and pattern of unequal treatment. Id. We will discuss each step in turn.

(1) The Constitutional Right or Rights that Congress Sought to Enforce

In Tennessee v. Lane, the Supreme Court identified that Title II seeks to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment's "prohibition on irrational disability discrimination." 124 S.Ct. at 1998. Additionally, the Court noted that Title II seeks to enforce the constitutional guarantees under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment in the...

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65 practice notes
  • Chase v. Baskerville, Civil Action No. 3:04CV759-HEH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • August 2, 2007
    ...rights in the context of public higher education. Constantine, 411 F.3d at 490 (citing Ass'n for Disabled Ams., Inc. v. Fla. Int'l Univ., 405 F.3d 954, 959 (11th Cir.2005)). In reaching that conclusion, the Fourth Circuit downplayed the States' sovereign interest of conserving scarce financ......
  • Clifton v. Georgia Merit System, Civil Action No. 1:05-CV-3272-CAP.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • March 6, 2007
    ...II claims based on accessibility to public education. In Association for Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Florida International University, 405 F.3d 954 (11th Cir.2005), the Eleventh Circuit expanded the holding of Lane to find that Title II of the ADA is valid legislation enacted pursuant to § ......
  • Arce v. La. State, CIVIL ACTION No. 16–14003
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • November 16, 2017
    ...Revenue, State of Missouri , 455 F.3d 888, 896–97 (8th Cir. 2006) (Arnold, J.); Ass'n for Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Fla. Int'l Univ. , 405 F.3d 954, 957–59 (11th Cir. 2005) (Kravitch, J.); see also McCarthy ex rel. Travis v. Hawkins , 381 F.3d 407, 423–26 (5th Cir. 2004) (Garza, J., concu......
  • John Doe v. Bd. Of Regents Of The Univ. Of Neb. ., No. S-09-256.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • August 27, 2010
    ...Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 475 F.3d 524 (3d Cir.2007), citing Garrett, supra note 68; Ass'n for Disabled Americans v. Fla. Intern. Univ., 405 F.3d 954 (11th Cir.2005). 80See Hibbs, supra note 74. 81Id., 538 U.S. at 736, 123 S.Ct. 1972. 82See Garrett, supra note 68. 83Id., 531 U.S. at 368, 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
65 cases
  • Chase v. Baskerville, Civil Action No. 3:04CV759-HEH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • August 2, 2007
    ...rights in the context of public higher education. Constantine, 411 F.3d at 490 (citing Ass'n for Disabled Ams., Inc. v. Fla. Int'l Univ., 405 F.3d 954, 959 (11th Cir.2005)). In reaching that conclusion, the Fourth Circuit downplayed the States' sovereign interest of conserving scarce financ......
  • Clifton v. Georgia Merit System, Civil Action No. 1:05-CV-3272-CAP.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • March 6, 2007
    ...II claims based on accessibility to public education. In Association for Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Florida International University, 405 F.3d 954 (11th Cir.2005), the Eleventh Circuit expanded the holding of Lane to find that Title II of the ADA is valid legislation enacted pursuant to § ......
  • Arce v. La. State, CIVIL ACTION No. 16–14003
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • November 16, 2017
    ...Revenue, State of Missouri , 455 F.3d 888, 896–97 (8th Cir. 2006) (Arnold, J.); Ass'n for Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Fla. Int'l Univ. , 405 F.3d 954, 957–59 (11th Cir. 2005) (Kravitch, J.); see also McCarthy ex rel. Travis v. Hawkins , 381 F.3d 407, 423–26 (5th Cir. 2004) (Garza, J., concu......
  • John Doe v. Bd. Of Regents Of The Univ. Of Neb. ., No. S-09-256.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • August 27, 2010
    ...Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 475 F.3d 524 (3d Cir.2007), citing Garrett, supra note 68; Ass'n for Disabled Americans v. Fla. Intern. Univ., 405 F.3d 954 (11th Cir.2005). 80See Hibbs, supra note 74. 81Id., 538 U.S. at 736, 123 S.Ct. 1972. 82See Garrett, supra note 68. 83Id., 531 U.S. at 368, 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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