United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS 
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Genevieve Duronslet is a transgender minor who is
biologically male but who identifies as female. (Compl.
¶¶ 1, 13, ECF No. 1-2.) In October 2015, the Los
Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services
(“DCFS”) detained Plaintiff in connection with a
juvenile dependency case. (Id. ¶ 13.) During
her detention, DCFS personnel allegedly forced Plaintiff to
use male restroom facilities and to sleep on the
“boy's side” of the DCFS Welcome Center, even
though they “knew or should have known” that
Plaintiff identified as female. (Id. ¶¶ 9,
10, 13.) Plaintiff alleges that DCFS staff were acting
pursuant to an official policy or practice that treats
transgender detainees according to their birth-assigned
gender rather than their gender identity. (See Id.
¶¶ 24-25.) Plaintiff subsequently filed suit
against Defendant County of Los Angeles, alleging: (1)
violation of the California Unruh Civil Rights Act; (2)
intentional infliction of emotional distress; (3) violation
of the federal Due Process Clause; and (4) violation of the
federal Equal Protection Clause. (ECF No. 1-2.) The County
has moved to dismiss all of Plaintiff's claims. (ECF No.
7.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS IN PART
and DENIES IN PART the County's Motion.
may dismiss a complaint for lack of a cognizable legal theory
or insufficient facts pleaded to support an otherwise
cognizable legal theory. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6);
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d
696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To survive a dismissal motion, the
complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The determination whether a
complaint satisfies the plausibility standard is a
“context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. A court is
generally limited to the pleadings and must construe all
“factual allegations set forth in the complaint . . .
as true and . . . in the light most favorable” to the
plaintiff. Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668,
688 (9th Cir. 2001). But a court need not blindly accept
conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of fact, and
unreasonable inferences. Sprewell v. Golden State
Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). The Court
must grant the plaintiff leave to amend if there is any
possibility that amendment could cure the deficiencies, even
if the plaintiff fails to request such leave. Lopez v.
Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).
Unruh Civil Rights Act
County argues that there are insufficient facts to infer that
DCFS personnel intentionally discriminated against Plaintiff.
Because Plaintiff is required to plausibly allege intentional
discrimination to state a claim under the Unruh Civil Rights
Act, the County argues, Plaintiff's claim must be
dismissed. (Mot. at 3-4, ECF No. 7.) The Court agrees.
Unruh Civil Rights Act provides as follows:
All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free
and equal, and no matter what their sex . . . are entitled to
the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities,
privileges, or services in all business establishments of
every kind whatsoever.
Cal. Civ. Code § 51(b); see also Id. §
52(a) (“Whoever denies, aids or incites a denial, or
makes any discrimination or distinction contrary to Section
51 . . . is liable for each and every offense . . .
.”). The Act defines “sex” discrimination
to include discrimination based on gender identity.
Id. § 51(e)(5). “[A] plaintiff seeking to
establish a case under the Unruh Act must plead and prove
intentional discrimination.” Harris v. Capital
Growth Investors XIV, 52 Cal.3d 1142, 1175 (1991). Facts
showing that a facially neutral policy has a disparate impact
on a protected class “may be probative of intentional
discrimination, ” but is alone insufficient to
establish liability. Id.
federal court, a plaintiff cannot plead discriminatory intent
merely by making a conclusory allegation to that effect.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 686. Rather, the complaint must
include some factual context that gives rise to a plausible
inference of discriminatory intent. See Id. at 683,
686; see also Wilkins-Jones v. Cty. of Alameda, 859
F.Supp.2d 1039, 1052 (N.D. Cal. 2012); Earll v. eBay,
Inc., No. 5:11-CV-00262-JF HRL, 2011 WL 3955485, at *3
(N.D. Cal. Sept. 7, 2011); C.B. v. Sonora Sch.
Dist., 691 F.Supp.2d 1123, 1155 (E.D. Cal. 2009);
K.S. v. Fremont Unified Sch. Dist., No. C 06-07218
SI, 2007 WL 4287522, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 6, 2007).
has not met that standard here. To show that the County
intended to discriminate against her based on her transgender
status, Plaintiff must plausibly allege that the County knew
of her transgender status. See Wilkins-Jones, 859
F.Supp.2d at 1052 (discriminatory intent not plausibly
established where the plaintiff failed to allege that her
“disabilities warranting such additional accommodations
were obvious and should have been known by [the
defendant]”). While Plaintiff makes the conclusory
assertion that the County “knew or should have
known” that she was transgender, there are insufficient
underlying facts showing how or why the County knew or should
have known this. The only allegation potentially supporting
such an inference is Plaintiff's repeated insistence that
she was “forced” to use male facilities, which
suggests that she first requested to use female facilities.
(Compl. ¶ 13.) However, this does not necessarily mean
that she informed them of her transgender status or that they
otherwise must have drawn the conclusion that she is
transgender. Thus, the Court dismisses this claim with leave
to amend to cure this deficiency.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
County contends that Plaintiff has not stated a claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress because: (1)
public entities are not subject to common law liability in
California; and (2) there are no facts showing that the
County acted with the requisite state of mind, that the
County's conduct was extreme and outrageous, or that