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Timothy Daubert v. Lindsay Unified School District

June 9, 2011

TIMOTHY DAUBERT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
LINDSAY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT (Document 50)

BACKGROUND

On February 23, 2011, Plaintiff, Timothy Daubert, ("Plaintiff") filed a Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") against Defendant, Lindsay Unified School District ("Defendant").*fn1 The SAC alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ("the Rehabilitation Act" or "RA") at the Lindsay High School Stadium ("the stadium").

On March 18, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss.*fn2 (Doc. 50). Plaintiff filed an opposition on April 7, 2011. (Doc. 51). Defendant filed a reply on April 22, 2011. (Doc. 54).

On May 25, 2011, the Court took the matter under submission pursuant to Local Rule 230 (g). (Doc. 56). Upon a review of all of the pleadings, the Court DENIES Defendant's motion.

LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)a claim may be dismissed because of the plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Johnson v. Riverside Healthcare Sys., 534 F.3d 1116, 1121 (9th Cir. 2008); Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). In reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), the court accepts the complaint's material allegations of fact as true, and the court construes these facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Marceau v. Balckfeet Hous. Auth., 540 F.3d 916, 919 (9th Cir. 2008); Vignolo v. Miller, 120 F.3d 1075, 1077 (9th Cir. 1999). The court must also assume that general allegations embrace the necessary, specific facts to support the claim. Smith v. Pacific Prop. and Dev. Corp., 358 F.3d 1097, 1106 (9th Cir. 2004). However, the court is not required "to 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, 1056-57 (9th Cir. 2008); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). Although they may provide the framework of a complaint, legal conclusions are not accepted as true and "[t]hreadbare recitals of elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50 (2009); see also Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003). As the Supreme Court has explained:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief. . . .

Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where the well-pleaded facts do 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.

Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50 (internal cites and quotes omitted). "In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory 'factual content,' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT *fn3

The SAC alleges the following

Plaintiff is a resident of Lindsay, California with physical disabilities. He uses a wheelchair for mobility because he is significantly impaired in his ability to walk. (Doc. 48, ¶ 5).

Defendant is a public school district who owns and operates Lindsay High School located in Lindsay, California. (Doc. 48, ¶ 2). One of the programs the district offers to the public is high school football games which are held at the Lindsay High School Stadium. (Doc. 48, ¶5).

Plaintiff has been attempting to attend public football games since 1997. He discovered there was no accessible seating in the stadium bleachers and he was forced to sit elsewhere. (Doc. 48, ¶7).

On or about October 13, 1997, Plaintiff went to the Lindsay City Council meeting and complained about the stadium's lack of seating. The City Manager met with the Plaintiff after the meeting, discussed the complaint, and stated that he would talk with Defendant about the issue. (Doc. 48, ¶ 8).

Between 1997 and 2005, Plaintiff attended the Lindsay High School Stadium several times and on each occasion discovered that no accessible seating was available in the bleachers. (Doc. 48, ¶9).

On or about November 8, 2005, Plaintiff met with Del Corley, the maintenance supervisor for Defendant at a training session held at Lindsay City Hall. At the meeting, Karen Bobo, a representative from the Department of Justice or other federal agency dealing with civil rights, informed Mr. Corley ...


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