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Barker v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 25, 2015

WILLIAM BARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, et al., Defendants.

ORDER & FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

KENDALL J. NEWMAN, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is a state prisoner, who is represented by counsel in this action. Plaintiff proceeds on his First Amended Complaint, in which he raises claims arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and California state law.

Presently before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends that the motion to dismiss be granted in part, and that plaintiff be denied leave to file a Second Amended Complaint.

I. Background

A. Procedural History

This case proceeds on plaintiff's First Amended Complaint ("FAC, " ECF No. 9), against defendants State of California, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"), and Mark Green. The FAC includes claims pursuant to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131 et seq., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701, and state law claims under the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51 et seq. ("Unruh Act"), and the California Disabled Persons Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 54.1 et seq. ("CDPA") (all alleged against defendants CDCR and the State of California), and an Eighth Amendment claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (alleged against defendant Green).

On September 11, 2014, the court, after screening the FAC pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, issued an order directing service on defendants State of California, CDCR, and Green. (ECF No. 14.)

Now pending before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on the following grounds:

• Defendants move to dismiss plaintiff's ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims against CDCR and the State of California for failure to state a claim.
• Defendants move to dismiss plaintiff's state law claims against CDCR and the State of California as barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity
• Defendants move to dismiss plaintiff's Section 1983 claim against defendant Green in his official capacity as barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity.

(Motion, ECF No. 19.)

B. Factual Allegations

In the operative First Amended Complaint, plaintiff alleges as follows.

At all pertinent times, plaintiff was an inmate at California Medical Facility ("CMF") in Vacaville, California. (FAC, ECF No. 9-1 at 2.)

Plaintiff is confined to a wheelchair, and has been designated "DPW" under the remedial plan ordered by the court in Armstrong v. Brown, No. C 94-2307 CW (N.D. Cal.). As a result of this designation, plaintiff is prescribed a wheelchair at all times, and requires wheelchair-accessible housing and paths of travel. (Id. at 2.)

Defendant Mark Green is a Material and Stores Supervisor I at CMF, who is allegedly responsible for issuing wheelchairs to CMF inmates. (Id. at 2.)

On May 23, 2012, plaintiff purchased a new wheelchair ("Initial Wheelchair") from CMF. The Initial Wheelchair was equipped with a regular frame and a 20-inch wide seat. (Id. at 3.)

In the course of testing the Initial Wheelchair, plaintiff found that it responded as if it had a bent axle. According to plaintiff, he therefore made several informal requests for a heavy-duty wheelchair, as he suspected that he weighed too much to safely use a regular wheelchair. (Id. at 3, 4.) Plaintiff describes a heavy-duty wheelchair as having "a higher weight capacity than a regular wheelchair." He adds that the "rear wheels [of a heavy-duty wheelchair] have a dual axel whereas a regular wheelchair has a single axel." (Id. at 3.)

On June 18, 2012, plaintiff made a formal request for a heavy-duty wheelchair. Plaintiff alleges that, in support of his request, he indicated that his weight exceeded the weight capacity of the Initial Wheelchair, that the wheels of the Initial Wheelchair did not roll properly, that portions of the Initial Wheelchair had become torn after less than one month of ...


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