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Johnson v. County of Los Angeles

United States District Court, C.D. California

January 14, 2015

JOCELYN ANNETTE JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

KENLY KIYA KATO, Magistrate Judge.

I.

INTRODUCTION

On December 30, 2014, plaintiff Jocelyn Annette Johnson, proceeding in forma pauperis, filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") alleging multiple civil rights claims against defendant County of Los Angeles ("County") and Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services ("DPSS") employees Sylvia D. Franco and Maritza Cedeno. Upon screening the FAC pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court finds plaintiff's allegations fail to state a claim in regard to any of her causes of action. Accordingly, the FAC is dismissed with leave to amend. If plaintiff desires to pursue this action, she is ORDERED to file within 14 days of the service date of this Order a Second Amended Complaint remedying the deficiencies discussed below.

II.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On June 18, 2014, plaintiff, who is at liberty and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, filed a pro se Civil Rights Complaint against defendant County and defendants Franco and Cedeno. Docket No. ("dkt.") 3. The Complaint named defendants Franco and Cedeno in their individual and official capacities. Id. at 2. On October 28, 2014, the Court dismissed the Complaint with leave to amend, finding the Complaint failed to: (1) state viable official capacity and municipal liability claims for a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; (2) state viable individual capacity claims for a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; and (3) state viable official and individual capacity claims for a violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Dkt. 31.

On December 30, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant FAC. Dkt. 38. As in the original Complaint, the FAC alleges two causes of action arising out of the denial of plaintiff's CalFresh benefits application by the defendants: (1) violation of plaintiff's rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983); and (2) violation of plaintiff's rights to be free of disability-based discrimination in public services and programs under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (specifically 42 U.S.C. § 12132). Id. at 4-5. In the FAC, plaintiff again sues defendants Franco and Cedeno in both their individual and official capacities. Id. at 1.

III.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS IN THE FAC

Plaintiff suffers from a number of disabilities, because of injuries to her spinal cord, knee, and brain. FAC at 5. Plaintiff also suffers from cardiovascular problems and lung disease. Id.

On April 20, 2012, plaintiff submitted a yearly redetermination application to DPSS, seeking CalFresh benefits for her granddaughter, Micha Beatrice Johnson, and for herself as a disabled household member. Id. at 2.

Subsequently, DPSS denied plaintiff's application. Id. The FAC alleges plaintiff's application was denied because defendant Franco did not properly assess plaintiff's eligibility for CalFresh benefits. Id. at 2-3. According to the FAC, defendant Franco determined plaintiff was ineligible because she did not appear disabled and looked "able-bodied." Id. at 3. Defendant Franco also remarked that plaintiff needed to secure a job to become eligible for CalFresh benefits. Id.

Plaintiff appears to have administratively appealed the denial and procured a remand of the decision. Id. On July 31, 2012, during proceedings on remand, plaintiff received a notice from defendant Cedeno informing plaintiff that her eligibility for CalFresh benefits would be recalculated. Id.

DPSS subsequently denied plaintiff's application for CalFresh benefits. Id. After receiving notice of the denial, plaintiff contacted defendant Cedeno by phone. Id. Defendant Cedeno claimed plaintiff had too much income and would have to stop receiving spousal ...


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