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Doe v. Skyway House, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 12, 2017

JANE DOE, and RON DOE, Plaintiffs,
v.
SKYWAY HOUSE, INC., SKYWAY HOUSE LLC, and JENNIFER CARVALHO, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          Troy L. Nunley United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants Skyway House, Inc. and Jennifer Carvalho's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 7) and Defendant Skyway House LLC's separate Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 8).[1] Plaintiffs Jane Doe and Ron Doe (collectively “Plaintiffs”) oppose the motions. (ECF Nos. 11 & 12.) Defendants filed replies. (ECF Nos. 13 & 14.) Having reviewed the briefing filed by both parties and for the reasons set forth below, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. (ECF Nos. 7 & 8.)

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiffs allege Jane Doe began receiving medical treatment related to alcohol abuse in March 2014. (Compl., ECF No. 1 ¶ 13.) Jane Doe was transferred to Skyway House (“the Facility”), a 24-hour recovery hospital located in Butte County. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 14.) Plaintiffs allege Plumas County paid for the first 30 days of Jane Doe's residency and her father, Ron Doe, paid for the remainder of the time Jane Doe was at the Facility. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 13.)

         Plaintiffs allege that during the first few weeks of Jane Doe's residency a male employee began to pay particular attention to her. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 19.) Plaintiffs allege Jane Does was coerced into leaving the 24-hour intensive rehabilitation facility by the male employee. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 19.) Jane Doe was subsequently moved to the Sober Living Environment (SLE), a less intensive and less supervised center. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 20.) Plaintiffs allege the reason the male employee “wanted to move Jane Doe to the SLE was to commence a sexual relationship with her, which was not possible so long as she remained in the 24-hour unit.” (ECF No. 1 ¶ 23.) Once moved to the SLE, Plaintiffs allege the male employee began taking Jane Doe on outings and eventually had sexual relations. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 25.) Plaintiffs allege Jane Doe gave “nominal consent” to the relationship. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 25.)

         Plaintiffs allege the relationship began in May 2014 and ended when Jane Doe learned she was pregnant in June 2014. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 30.) The male employee was subsequently “terminated by [the Facility] because of his inappropriate relationship with Jane Doe.” (ECF No. 1 ¶ 30.) Plaintiffs allege Jane Doe left the Facility in July 2014 and did not complete her dependency recovery program. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 30.) Plaintiffs allege there is a history of inappropriate sexual relationships between staff and residents at the Facility. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 10.) Plaintiffs allege this conduct still continues because Defendant Carvalho has not changed the policies or procedures to protect residents from these relationships. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 32.)

         Acadia Healthcare, Inc. purchased the Facility from Skyway House Inc., on December 31, 2014. (ECF No. 11 at 3.) Beginning in January 2015, the Facility was owned and operated by Acadia's subsidiary Skyway House LLC. (ECF No. 11 at 3.) Defendant Carvalho was CEO during Jane Doe's stay at the Facility and has continued on under the new owner. (ECF No. 11 at 3.)

         Plaintiffs filed an action in California State Superior Court, County of Butte, on July 29, 2015. (Req. for Judicial Notice, ECF No. 7-2, Ex. 2.)[2] The state court dismissed the action against Skyway House LLC and Acadia because of the intervening sale of the Facility. (ECF No. 11 at 3.) On November 5, 2015, California State Superior Court, County of Butte, sustained a demurrer filed by Skyway House, Inc. and granted Plaintiffs leave to amend the complaint. (ECF No. 7-2, Ex. 3.) Jane Doe filed a first amended complaint and thereafter dismissed the state law action without prejudice in order to pursue her claims in federal court. (ECF No. 7-2, Exs. 4 & 5.) Plaintiffs filed the instant action on March 24, 2016. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges six causes of action: (1) violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; (3) physical abuse of a dependent adult in violation of Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.63; (4) neglect of a dependent adult in violation of Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.57; (5) violation of Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657; and (6) fraud. (ECF No. 1 at 12-20.)

         On July 22, 2016, Defendants Skyway House, Inc. and Jennifer Carvalho filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or in the alternative failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 7.) On July 29, 2016, Defendant Skyway House LLC filed a separate motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or in the alternative failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 8.)

         II. Standard of Law

         A. Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to 12(b)(1)

         A party may bring a motion to challenge a court's subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Thornhill Publ'g Co. v. Gen. Tel. & Elec. Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir. 1979). The objection that a federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction may be raised by a party, or by a court on its own initiative, at any stage in the litigation, even after trial and the entry of judgment. Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 506 (2006). The challenge can be either facial or factual. White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214, 1242 (9th Cir. 2000).

         “When subject matter jurisdiction is challenged under Federal Rule of [Civil] Procedure 12(b)(1), the plaintiff has the burden of proving jurisdiction in order to survive the motion.” Tosco Corp. v. Communities for a Better Env't, 236 F.3d 495, 499 (9th Cir. 2001) (abrogated on other grounds by Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77 (2010)). “‘Unless the jurisdictional issue is inextricable from the merits of a case, the court may determine jurisdiction on a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1)[.]'” Robinson v. U.S., 586 F.3d 683, 685 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal citations omitted). “A suit brought by a plaintiff without Article III standing is not a ‘case or controversy, ' and an Article III federal court therefore lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the suit.” Cetacean Community v. Bush, 386 F.3d 1169, 1175 (9th Cir. 2004). If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, “the court must dismiss the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).

         B. Motion to Dismiss ...


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