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Kimiko P. v. Alta California Regional Center

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 9, 2019

KIMIKO P., Plaintiff,
v.
ALTA CALIFORNIA REGIONAL CENTER, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

         Defendant Placer ARC's motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) is before the court. For the reasons set out below, the court GRANTS defendant's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, Kimiko P., a conserved adult with autism, filed this suit through her conservators against defendants Alta California Regional Center, On My Own Independent Living Services, Inc., and Placer ARC, alleging, inter alia, violations of § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794.[1]

         Defendant Placer ARC moved to dismiss the complaint on March 28, 2019, Mot., ECF No. 12, and plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (FAC)on April 18, 2019, ECF No. 18. In response, the court ordered the parties to file a joint statement addressing whether the motion to dismiss was rendered moot by the First Amended Complaint (FAC). ECF No. 19. The parties filed a report stating they agreed “[t]he only portion of the Motion to Dismiss that was not made moot by the First Amended Complaint is Section C, which is entitled 'DEFENDANT PLACER ARC'S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION CHARGING RETALIATION UNDER SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT SHOULD BE GRANTED.'” ECF No. 22 at 2. There are two errors in this statement: first, the quoted text is the title of Section B, not Section C, of defendant's motion to dismiss, Mot. at 5; second, plaintiff's original complaint, the subject of the motion to dismiss, only contained a claim for violation of § 504, not retaliation, ECF No. 1 at 1. This creates some confusion, because the operative complaint contains both a claim for retaliation under § 504 and a claim for violation of § 504. FAC at 14, 16. Based on the parties' representations at hearing, and because defendant's argument goes to the viability of any § 504 claim, the court treats defendant's motion as a challenge to plaintiff's first and second claims under § 504.

         Plaintiff opposes defendant's motion, ECF No. 27, and defendant has replied, ECF No. 30. The court heard oral argument on the motion on June 28, 2019, and resolves it here.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         A party may move to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The court may grant the motion only if the complaint lacks a “cognizable legal theory” or if its factual allegations do not support a cognizable legal theory. Hartmann v. Cal. Dep't of Corr. & Rehab., 707 F.3d 1114, 1122 (9th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). A complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), though it need not include “detailed factual allegations, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). But “sufficient factual matter” must make the claim at least plausible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, ” and conclusory statements do not suffice. Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In a Rule 12(b)(6) analysis, the court must accept well-pled factual allegations as true and construe the complaint in plaintiff's favor. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (citations omitted).

         If a plaintiff requests leave to amend a claim subject to dismissal, the federal rules mandate that leave “be freely given when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Before granting leave, a court considers any potential bad faith, delay, or futility regarding the proposed amendment, and the potential prejudice to the opposing party. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); see also Smith v. Pac. Prop. Dev. Co., 358 F.3d 1097, 1101 (9th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Defendant Placer ARC argues plaintiff's claims against it for violation of § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act should be dismissed because plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to show defendant receives federal financial assistance, a necessary element of a § 504 claim. Mot. at 5 (citing Drawsand v. F.F. Props., L.L.P., 866 F.Supp.2d 1110 (N.D. Cal. 2011)); see also U.S. Dep't of Transp. v. Paralyzed Veterans of Am., 477 U.S. 597, 607 (1986), superseded by statute on other grounds as stated in Anderson v. USAir, Inc., 818 F.2d 49, 53 (D.C. Cir. 1987). In opposition, plaintiff maintains it has sufficiently pled defendant is the recipient of federal funds, and points to the following facts alleged in its First Amended Complaint:

1. Alta California Regional Center is a recipient of federal funds. FAC ¶ 5.
2. Alta California Regional Center purchased services with state and federal dollars from private businesses and private non-profit entities such as Placer ARC to support individuals served under California Welfare and Intuitions Code section 4500 et seq. Id.
3. Placer ARC is contracted with Alta California Regional Center to provide adult day program ...

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