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John T. Myers v. California Department of Rehabilitation

August 13, 2012

JOHN T. MYERS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION, AND DOES 1-20,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. Senior United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S DISMISSAL MOTION

Defendant California Department of Rehabilitation ("CDOR") moves for dismissal of all of Plaintiff John T. Myers's ("Myers") claims in his complaint. The motion is brought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6). Myers opposes the motion.

I. BACKGROUND

Myers's claims concern CDOR's Business Enterprise Program for the Blind ("BEP"). Myers alleges CDOR "is a public entity and an agency of the State of California[,] . . . which operates, maintains, governs, and administers the BEP[.]" (Compl. ¶ 8.) Myers alleges the BEP "was developed by CDOR to train blind persons to operate privately owned food facilities in federal and state buildings, including cafeterias, food stands and vending machines." Id. ¶ 1.

Myers alleges he "is totally blind as the result of a motor vehicle accident." Id. ¶ 2. Myers alleges he "was accepted into the BEP, and the training course commenced on or around October 11, 2010." Id. Myers alleges he "was the only totally blind person among the five students in the BEP" training course. Id. Myers alleges that during the training course, CDOR "provid[ed] him with an inadequate, 'makeshift' audio CD of course materials, whereas the other students were able to make use of the text, pictures and charts in [the] materials." Id. ¶ 3(a). Myers alleges he "questioned the BEP instructor prior to his first exam as to the inadequacy of the audio CD, only to be rebuffed[.]" Id.

¶ 3(b). Myers alleges that "[a]s a result of the inadequate audio CD, . . . [he] failed the first exam." Id. ¶ 3(c).

Myers alleges he "was subsequently provided materials on a CD scanned with" a program that converts images to text. Id. ¶ 3(d). Myers alleges, however, that the materials were inadequate, because the CD "made reference to [math] formulas which were not provided" and "[t]he tables and charts were copied in vertical columns on the CD instead of horizontally, making it virtually impossible to compare the information in columnar fashion[, which] was available to the other students." Id.

¶ 3(d)-(e). Myers alleges he brought "[t]his issue . . . to the attention of the BEP instructor, but [it] went unresolved." Id. ¶ 3(e).

Myers also alleges "[t]he BEP instructor . . . lecture[d] rapidly, stating long series of numbers to the students to prepare draft monthly operating reports ('MOR')." Id. ¶ 3(f). Myers alleges "[t]he non-blind students were able to note the numbers on the MOR, but [Myers] was unable to keep up[, since] his Excel spreadsheet takes more time to jump[] from line to line." Id. Myers alleges he "made repeated requests to the instructor that the numbers be repeated, but the instructor became impatient and unresponsive." Id. Myers alleges it was "impossible to complete the MOR assignment[,]" "[g]iven the speed at which the instructor was stating the numbers." Id.

Myers alleges the "BEP instructor also made use of visual displays to illustrate math problems[, but] there was little, if any[,] explanation of what was written on the displays." Id. ¶ 3(g). Myers further alleges that "[d]uring On-The-Job Training (OJT), [he] was left alone [on] at least two occasions while the other non-blind students participated in the OJT exercises." Id. ¶ 3(h).

Myers alleges that "[d]uring one exam, [he] was provided three different human readers[, which] caus[ed] disruption in the test taking process." Id. ¶ 3(i). Myers alleges "[o]ther readers assigned to [him] had no interest in being there, and expressed annoyance at [him] when he would ask them to repeat questions or sets of potential answers." Id. Myers alleges that "[d]uring the midterm exam, the reader assigned to [him] failed to return after lunch, and [Myers] was required to continue the exam the next day with a different reader." Id. ¶ 3(j). Myers alleges that "the first reader made mistakes . . . inputting numbers on the MOR, resulting in [Myers] being unable to complete that portion of the exam." Id. Myers alleges the "BEP instructor refused to allow [him] additional time to finish the exam." Id. Myers further alleges he "was dismissed from the BEP [on January 3, 2011] due to 'low test scores on a mid-term exam' and a purported concern over his lack of mobility." Id. ¶ 4.

Myers alleges he was denied "full and equal access" to the BEP "based solely on his blindness." Id. ¶ 9. Myers alleges CDOR discriminated against him based on his disability in violation of the following statutes: the California Unruh Civil Rights Act ("Unruh Act"), Cal. Civ. Code § 51; the California Disabled Persons Act ("CDPA"), Cal. Civ. Code § 54; California Government Code section 11135 ("section 11135"); Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12132; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ("§ 504"), 29 U.S.C. § 794. Id. ¶¶ 9-44. Myers seeks declaratory relief, an injunction ordering CDOR to comply with the aforementioned statutes, statutory damages, and attorneys' fees and costs. Id. ¶¶ A-F.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Decision on CDOR's Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal motion requires determination of "whether the complaint's factual allegations, together with all reasonable inferences, state a plausible claim for relief." Cafasso, U.S. ex rel. v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant ...


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