Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, No. 92-56066

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtDAVID R. THOMPSON
Citation18 F.3d 752
PartiesFrizell CLEGG, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CULT AWARENESS NETWORK; Cult Awareness Network, Los Angeles Chapter; Cynthia Kisser; Priscilla Coates, Defendants-Appellees.
Decision Date31 January 1994
Docket NumberNo. 92-56066

Page 752

18 F.3d 752
Frizell CLEGG, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CULT AWARENESS NETWORK; Cult Awareness Network, Los Angeles
Chapter; Cynthia Kisser; Priscilla Coates,
Defendants-Appellees.
No. 92-56066.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Jan. 31, 1994 *.
Decided March 9, 1994.

Page 753

Michael T. Stoller, Besbris, Hollis & Stoller, Los Angeles, California; and Randall A. Spencer, Bowles & Nixon, Hollywood, California, for the plaintiff-appellant.

Peter M. Schnirch and Denial A. Leipold, Hagenbaugh & Murphy, Orange, California, for the defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Before: SNEED, THOMPSON and RYMER, Circuit Judges.

DAVID R. THOMPSON, Circuit Judge:

Frizell Clegg sued the Cult Awareness Network, alleging discrimination on the basis of race and religion in violation of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000a (1988). This statute prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation. 1 The district court concluded Cult

Page 754

Awareness was not a place of public accommodation within the meaning of the statute, and dismissed Clegg's federal civil rights claim with prejudice and without leave to amend pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The court also dismissed, without prejudice, Clegg's pendent state claim under the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Cal.Civ.Code Sec. 51 et seq.).

In this appeal, Clegg challenges only the district court's dismissal of his federal claim. He does not challenge the propriety of the dismissal of that claim without leave to amend.

We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1291, and we affirm. The allegations of Clegg's complaint do not tend to show that Cult Awareness is a place, establishment, lodging or facility open to the public, or that it is an organization which provides access to an otherwise public place, within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000a.

FACTS

Clegg is an African-American and self-avowed member of the Church of Scientology. Cult Awareness is a national non-profit organization, providing both information to the public concerning cults and support to former cult members.

In his complaint, Clegg alleged that he sent a letter to the Los Angeles affiliate of Cult Awareness (Cult Awareness-L.A.), stating he was a Scientologist and wanted to become a member of Cult Awareness. His letter further stated if he did not receive a response within ten working days, he would consider his request for membership denied on the basis that he is a Scientologist.

Cult Awareness failed to respond to Clegg's letter. Clegg later telephoned the director of Cult Awareness-L.A., explaining he desired membership in the organization to discuss the link between racial bigotry and religious intolerance. Cult Awareness denied his request for membership. Clegg then filed his complaint in this action, and appeals from the district court's judgment of dismissal for failure to state a claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A dismissal for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is a ruling on a question of law and as such is reviewed de novo. Oscar v. University Students Co-operative Ass'n, 965 F.2d 783, 785 (9th Cir.) (en banc), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 113 S.Ct. 655, 121 L.Ed.2d 581 (1992); Kruso v. International Tel. & Tel. Corp., 872 F.2d 1416, 1421 (9th Cir.1989), cert. denied, 496 U.S. 937, 110 S.Ct. 3217, 110 L.Ed.2d 664 (1990).

Review is limited to the contents of the complaint. Buckey v. County of Los Angeles, 968 F.2d 791, 794 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 113 S.Ct. 599, 121 L.Ed.2d 536 (1992); Love v. United States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir.1990). All allegations of material fact in the complaint are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Buckey, 968 F.2d at 794; Love, 915 F.2d at 1245. A complaint should not be dismissed unless it appears beyond doubt the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Buckey, 968 F.2d at 794; Love, 915 F.2d at 1245. However, the court is not required to accept legal

Page 755

conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations if those conclusions cannot reasonably be drawn from the facts alleged. Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106 S.Ct. 2932, 2944, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986); United States ex rel. Chunie v. Ringrose, 788 F.2d 638, 643 n. 2 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1009, 107 S.Ct. 650, 93 L.Ed.2d 705 (1986); Western Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1031, 102 S.Ct. 567, 70 L.Ed.2d 474 (1981).
DISCUSSION

Title II explicitly covers places, establishments, lodgings and facilities open to the public at large. Fifteen examples of such "places of public accommodation" are offered within the text of the law: inns, hotels, motels, restaurants, cafeterias, lunch rooms, lunch counters, soda fountains, retail establishments, gas stations, movie houses, theaters, concert halls, sports arenas and stadiums. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000a. Nowhere does the statute refer to membership organizations, or otherwise indicate congressional intent to regulate anything other than public facilities.

From the plain language of the statute, it is clear Congress' intent in enacting Title II was to provide a remedy only for discrimination occurring in facilities or establishments serving the public: to conclude otherwise would obfuscate the term "place" and render nugatory the examples Congress provides to illuminate the meaning of that term. See Welsh v. Boy Scouts of Am., 993 F.2d 1267, 1269 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 114 S.Ct. 602, 126 L.Ed.2d 567 (1993); see also Ardestani v. I.N.S., --- U.S. ----, ----, 112 S.Ct. 515, 520, 116 L.Ed.2d 496 (1991) ("The 'strong presumption' that the plain language of the statute expresses congressional intent is rebutted only in 'rare and exceptional circumstances,' when a contrary legislative intent is clearly expressed.") (citation omitted); Richards v. United States, 369 U.S. 1, 9, 82 S.Ct. 585, 591, 7 L.Ed.2d 492 (1962) ("the legislative purpose is expressed by the ordinary meaning of the words used"). This interpretation is in full accord with Daniel v. Paul, 395 U.S. 298, 307-08, 89 S.Ct. 1697, 1702, 23 L.Ed.2d 318 (1969), in which the Supreme Court determined that the "overriding purpose of Title II was 'to [re]move the daily affront and humiliation involved in discriminatory denials of access...

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241 practice notes
  • Plum Creek Timber Co., Inc. v. Trout Unlimited, No. CV02-365-C-EJL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Idaho
    • March 31, 2003
    ...conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations in plaintiffs complaint. See Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th Cir.1994). There is a strong presumption against dismissing an action for failure to state a claim. See Gilligan v. Jamco Dev. C......
  • Davis v. Powell, Civil No. 10cv1891–CAB (RBB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • October 4, 2012
    ...Inc., 11 F.3d 865, 868 (9th Cir.1993); see also Cholla Ready Mix, Inc., 382 F.3d at 973 (quoting Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754–55 (9th Cir.1994)) (stating that on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court “is not required to accept legal conclusions cast in the form of factual all......
  • Sung v. Hamilton, No. CV. 09-00212 DAE-KSC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Hawaii)
    • April 30, 2010
    ...state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Review is limited to the contents of the complaint. See Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754 (9th Cir.1994). Allegations of fact in the complaint must be taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Se......
  • Morongo Band of Mission Indians v. Stach, No. ED CV 96-0336-RT (VAPx).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • January 16, 1997
    ...in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party for the purpose of ruling on the motion to dismiss. Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th 2. Popanda, in his answer, admits that he sued the "Morongo Bingo Casino," but does not admit he sued Band, and denies that he fil......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
241 cases
  • Plum Creek Timber Co., Inc. v. Trout Unlimited, No. CV02-365-C-EJL.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Idaho
    • March 31, 2003
    ...conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations in plaintiffs complaint. See Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th Cir.1994). There is a strong presumption against dismissing an action for failure to state a claim. See Gilligan v. Jamco Dev. C......
  • Davis v. Powell, Civil No. 10cv1891–CAB (RBB).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of California)
    • October 4, 2012
    ...Inc., 11 F.3d 865, 868 (9th Cir.1993); see also Cholla Ready Mix, Inc., 382 F.3d at 973 (quoting Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754–55 (9th Cir.1994)) (stating that on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court “is not required to accept legal conclusions cast in the form of factual all......
  • Sung v. Hamilton, No. CV. 09-00212 DAE-KSC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Court (Hawaii)
    • April 30, 2010
    ...state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Review is limited to the contents of the complaint. See Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754 (9th Cir.1994). Allegations of fact in the complaint must be taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Se......
  • Morongo Band of Mission Indians v. Stach, No. ED CV 96-0336-RT (VAPx).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • January 16, 1997
    ...in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party for the purpose of ruling on the motion to dismiss. Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th 2. Popanda, in his answer, admits that he sued the "Morongo Bingo Casino," but does not admit he sued Band, and denies that he fil......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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