Gipson v. Castillo, Case No. EDCV 19-473-R (KK)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
PartiesBRUCE LEE GIPSON, Plaintiff, v. A. CASTILLO, ET AL., Defendants.
Docket NumberCase No. EDCV 19-473-R (KK)
Decision Date18 April 2019

A. CASTILLO, ET AL., Defendants.

Case No. EDCV 19-473-R (KK)


April 18, 2019



Plaintiff Bruce Lee Gipson ("Gipson"), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). For the reasons discussed below, the Court dismisses the Complaint with leave to amend.


On February 28, 2019, Gipson, who is currently incarcerated in West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California, constructively filed1 a Complaint

Page 2

against defendants Risk Management, Arrowhead Medical Center, Captain A. Castillo, and Nurse Rensink in their individual and official capacities (collectively, "Defendants"). ECF Docket No. ("Dkt.") 1.

Gipson alleges the following. Gipson is a "wheelchair-bound inmate and was given an ADA chrono but was never given an ADA compliant cell." Dkt. 1 at 5. He "filled out a grievance stating [his] need to be[] housed properly, [but] was retaliated against and sent to the [Secured Housing Unit ("SHU")], [which was] also [] non-ADA compliant." Id. Gipson received a response to his grievance and was told he was never "issued a[n] ADA chrono by medical staff." Id. He alleges this was "a lie because [he] has a chrono that was issued Nov[ember] 29, 2018." Id. He argues defendants Castillo and Rensink have "systematically falisif[ied] documents/evidence and botch[ed] investigations." Id.

Gipson sets forth the following claims:

• Defendant Risk Management "is responsible for all conduct and misconduct of their employees as insurance";

• Defendant Castillo "falsif[ied] legal documents resulting in [a] botch[ed] investigation" in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment, Fourteenth Amendment due process, and ADA;

• Defendant Rensink "falsif[ied] legal documents" in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment, Fourteenth Amendment due process, and ADA; and,

• Defendant Arrowhead Medical Center did "not properly document[] misconduct by [the] Sheriff's Office", violated the Eighth Amendment by "not properly housing ADA inmates", and "falsif[ied] documents" in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Dkt. 1 at 3-4.

Gipson seeks actual, compensatory, and punitive damages. Dkt. 1 at 6.

Page 3


Where a plaintiff is incarcerated and proceeding in forma pauperis, a court must screen the complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A and is required to dismiss the case at any time if it concludes the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A; see Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998).

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 ("Rule 8"), a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim for screening purposes, a court applies the same pleading standard as it would when evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012).

A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim "where there is no cognizable legal theory or an absence of sufficient facts alleged to support a cognizable legal theory." Zamani v. Carnes, 491 F.3d 990, 996 (9th Cir. 2007). In considering whether a complaint states a claim, a court must accept as true all of the material factual allegations in it. Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 892-93 (9th Cir. 2011). However, a court need not accept as true "allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008). Although a complaint need not include detailed factual allegations, it "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Cook v. Brewer, 637 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009)). A claim is facially plausible when it "allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. The complaint "must contain sufficient allegations of

Page 4

underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively." Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).

"A document filed pro se is 'to be liberally construed,' and a 'pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Woods v. Carey, 525 F.3d 886, 889-90 (9th Cir. 2008). However, liberal construction should only be afforded to "a plaintiff's factual allegations," Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9, 109 S. Ct. 1827, 104 L. Ed. 2d 339 (1989), and a court need not accept as true "unreasonable inferences or assume the truth of legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations," Ileto v. Glock Inc., 349 F.3d 1191, 1200 (9th Cir. 2003).

If a court finds the complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim, a court has discretion to dismiss with or without leave to amend. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-30 (9th Cir. 2000). Leave to amend should be granted if it appears possible the defects in the complaint could be corrected, especially if the plaintiff is pro se. Id. at 1130-31; see also Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995). However, if, after careful consideration, it is clear a complaint cannot be cured by amendment, a court may dismiss without leave to amend. Cato, 70 F.3d at 1107-11; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 972 (9th Cir. 2009).



1. Applicable Law

To prove a public program or service violates Title II of the ADA, a plaintiff must show: (1) he is a "qualified individual with a disability"; (2) he was either excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of a public entity's services, programs or activities, or was otherwise discriminated against by the public entity; and (3) such exclusion, denial of benefits, or discrimination was because of his disability.

Page 5

Weinreich v. Los Angeles Cnty. Metro. Transp. Auth., 114 F.3d 976, 978 (9th Cir. 1997) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 12132).

A plaintiff may only assert a Title II claim against "public entities." 42 U.S.C. § 12132; Miranda B. v. Kitzhaber, 328 F.3d 1181, 1187-88 (9th Cir. 2003). While the Ninth Circuit has not squarely addressed the issue in a published opinion2, district courts within the Ninth Circuit have determined the term "public entity" under Title II does not encompass a public official sued in his or her individual capacity. See Chester v. Univ. of Washington, No. C11-5937 BHS, 2012 WL 3599351 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 21, 2012); A.B. ex rel. B.S. v. Adams-Arapahoe 28J School Dist., 831 F. Supp. 2d 1226 (D. Colo. 2011); Thomas v. Nakatani, 128 F. Supp. 2d 684 (D. Hawaii 2000); Becker v. State. of Oregon, ODOC, et al., 170 F. Supp. 2d 1061, 1066 (D. Or. 2000). Rather, only public agencies and public officials acting in their official capacity are subject to suit under Title II. Kitzhaber, 328 F.3d at 1187.

Additionally, to assert a claim against a private entity under Title III of the ADA, a plaintiff must allege: "(1) he is disabled as defined by the ADA; (2) the defendant is a private entity that owns, leases or operates a place of public accommodation; (3) the defendant employed a discriminatory policy or practice; and (4) the defendant discriminated against the plaintiff based upon the plaintiff's disability by (a) failing to make a requested reasonable modification that was (b)

Page 6

necessary to accommodate the plaintiff's disability". Fortyune v. Am. Multi-Cinema, Inc., 364 F.3d 1075, 1082 (9th Cir. 2004).

2. Analysis

First, to the extent Gipson asserts ADA claims against defendants Castillo and Rensink in their individual capacity, he fails to state a cognizable claim. See Kitzhaber, 328 F.3d at 1187.

Second, to the extent Gipson asserts ADA claims against defendants Castillo and Rensink in their official capacity, he fails to allege sufficient facts to support his claims. Gipson alleges defendants Castillo and Rensink violated the ADA because they "systematically falisif[ied] documents/evidence and botch[ed] investigations" which led to Gipson, a wheelchair bound inmate, not being housed in an ADA compliant cell. Dkt. 1 at 5. Although it appears Gipson has alleged facts meeting the first two elements of an ADA claim, his allegation does not meet the third element because he fails to contend defendants Castillo and Rensink denied Gipson an ADA compliant cell because of his disability. See Weinreich, 114 F.3d at 978.

Moreover, to the extent Gipson alleges defendants Arrowhead Medical Center and Risk Management violated the ADA, he has failed to allege any facts to support such a claim. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Additionally, Gipson has not alleged, nor can the Court infer, that defendant Risk Management is either part of or created by the state for it to be liable under Title II of the ADA. See M.S. v. Cty. of Ventura, No. CV 16-03084-BRO (RAOx), 2016 WL 11506613, at *13 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 24, 2016) (finding that to be exposed to liability under Title II of the ADA, a private entity must be either part of or created by the government itself). Finally, Gipson has not alleged any facts to support a claim against defendant Risk Management under Title III of the ADA. See Fortyune, 364 F.3d at 1082.

Accordingly, Gipson's ADA claims against Defendants are subject to...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT