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Torres v. San Francisco Human Services Agency

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 18, 2019

JESUS TORRES, Plaintiff,


          KANDIS A WESTMORE United States Magistrate Judge.

         On March 1, 2019, Defendants City and County of San Francisco and Trent Rhorer filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings.

         On July 18, 2019, the Court held a hearing, and, after careful consideration of the parties' arguments and the applicable legal authority, for the reasons set forth below, GRANTS Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 17, 2017, Plaintiff Jesus Torres, proceeding pro se, filed the instant suit against “San Francisco Human Services Agency, ” which is a department of the City and County of San Francisco, and Trent Rhorer in his official capacity in San Francisco Superior Court. The Summons and Complaint was served on Defendants on November 8, 2018.

         Plaintiff's complaint alleges that the benefits that he was receiving through the County Adult Assistance Program (“CAAP program”)-a workforce program for low-income San Franciscans-were improperly terminated. The Department of Human Services (“DHS”) administers the CAAP program on behalf of the City, providing financial assistance and social services to indigent adults through programs, such as Personal Assistance Employment Services (“PAES”). (Defs.' Mot. at 3 (citing S.F. Ordinance No. 153-16).) Plaintiff claims that his PAES benefits were terminated on or around October 1, 2016, and that he did not receive notice of the proposed action, which resulted in him not having a hearing held until 25 days after his request. (Compl. at 3; Pl.'s Opp'n at 3.) Plaintiff claims that he reapplied for PAES assistance in February 2017, and that his benefits were restored as of February 3, 2017. (Pl.'s Opp'n at 3.)

         Plaintiff alleges five causes of action: (1) deprivation of benefits “without good cause, due process of a fair hearing”; (2) a violation of Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments; (3) a violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act; (4) violation of various San Francisco municipal codes; and (5) negligent infliction of emotional distress. (Compl. at 3).

         On March 1, 2019, Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Defs.' Mot., Dkt. No. 14.) On May 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amended opposition.[1] (Pl.'s Opp'n, Dkt. No. 24.) On May 31, 2019, Defendants filed a reply. (Defs.' Reply, Dkt. No. 26.)

         On July 16, 2019, Plaintiff filed a declaration in support of “the Opposition to the Reply by San Francisco's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.” (Dkt. No. 30.) Plaintiff did not obtain leave to file any other documents pertaining to the instant motion, so his declaration is stricken.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) allows a party to move for judgment on the pleadings after the pleadings are closed but early enough not to delay trial. “[T]he same standard of review applicable to a Rule 12(b) motion applies to its Rule 12(c) analog, ” because the motions are “functionally identical.” Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989). A Rule 12(c) motion may thus be predicated on either (1) the lack of a cognizable legal theory or (2) insufficient facts to support a cognizable legal claim. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(c), the court “must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Fleming v. Pickard, 581 F.3d 922, 925 (9th Cir. 2009).

         Pro se pleadings are liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). “A pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers . . . .” Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106 (internal citations omitted). When a court grants a Rule 12(c) motion, leave to amend should be freely given if it is possible that further factual allegations will cure any defect. See Somers v. Apple, Inc., 729 F.3d 953, 960 (9th Cir. 2013).


         As an initial matter, the Court notes that Plaintiff's complaint, drafted on a Judicial Council of California form, does not contain sufficient facts to satisfy pleading standards under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. While Plaintiff's opposition provides sufficiently more factual allegations, some of which are cited in this order, those cannot be properly considered in deciding the instant motion, but are included for the sake of clarity. ...

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