Hopkins v. The Salvation Army et al

Filing 34

ORDER by Judge James Donato granting 29 Motion for Summary Judgment. (lrcS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/12/2016)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 KEVIN L. HOPKINS, 7 Plaintiff, 8 v. 9 THE SALVATION ARMY, 10 Defendant. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 14-cv-01494-JD ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT Re: Dkt. No. 29 12 13 Kevin L. Hopkins, a former state prisoner proceeding pro se, has brought an action 14 pursuant to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Defendant has filed a second 15 motion for summary judgment. Hopkins has filed a brief opposition. The motion is granted. BACKGROUND 16 17 Hopkins’ original complaint was filed while he was incarcerated at California State Prison 18 - Solano.1 Liberally construing the complaint, the Court found that Hopkins was bringing a claim 19 pursuant to Title II of the ADA against Defendant Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation 20 Program, a Contra Costa County superior court judge, and Hopkins’ appointed trial attorney. 21 Hopkins sought money damages only. He contended that he injured his knee while in the 22 Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Program and that the Salvation Army did not allow him to 23 return to the program due to the injury. As a result, according to Hopkins, his probation was 24 revoked and he was sent to prison. The Court dismissed the claims against the judge and the 25 appointed attorney and dismissed the complaint against the Salvation Army with leave to amend 26 to provide more information regarding his ADA claim. 27 28 1 Plaintiff has since been released. 1 Hopkins filed an amended complaint, again seeking only money damages, and stated that 2 his cause of action was pursuant to Title II of the ADA. The Court found that, liberally construed, 3 his claim was sufficient to demonstrate a violation of Title II of the ADA for purposes of 4 screening. The Court also noted that for purposes of screening and based on the allegations in the 5 complaint, it appeared that the Salvation Army was an appropriate public entity pursuant to Title II 6 of the ADA. 7 DISCUSSION 8 Title II of the ADA “prohibit[s] discrimination on the basis of disability,” Lovell v. 9 Chandler, 303 F.3d 1039, 1052 (9th Cir. 2002), and provides that “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination 12 by any such entity.” 42 U.S.C. § 12132. Title II of the ADA applies to inmates within state 13 prisons. Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206, 213 (1998). 14 In order to state a claim that a public program or service violated Title II of the ADA, a 15 plaintiff must show: he is a “qualified individual with a disability”; he was either excluded from 16 participation in or denied the benefits of a public entity’s services, programs, or activities, or was 17 otherwise discriminated against by the public entity; and such exclusion, denial of benefits, or 18 discrimination was by reason of his disability. McGary v. City of Portland, 386 F.3d 1259, 1264- 19 65 (9th Cir. 2004). 20 Title II provides for liability only against public entities, which it defines as: “(A) any State 21 or local government; (B) any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality 22 of a State or States or local government; and (C) the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and 23 any commuter authority . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 12131. 24 Plaintiff may bring a claim under Title II of the ADA against state entities for injunctive 25 relief and damages. See Phiffer v. Columbia River Correctional Institute, 384 F.3d 791, 792 (9th 26 Cir. 2004). The standard for recovery of damages is deliberate indifference to plaintiff’s rights 27 under the ADA. Duvall v. County of Kitsap, 260 F.3d 1124, 1138 (9th Cir. 2001). “Deliberate 28 indifference requires both knowledge that a harm to a federally protected right is substantially 2 1 2 likely, and a failure to act upon that likelihood.” Id. at 1139. Defendant states that the Salvation Army is not a public entity under Title II. Defendant 3 contends that the Salvation Army is not a state or local government or a National Passenger 4 Corporation or other commuter authority and it is not a department, agency, or district of a state or 5 local government. Defendant also argues that the Salvation Army is not an “other instrumentality” 6 pursuant to the statute. 7 The Ninth Circuit has not ruled on the question of when a private company can be held 8 liable under Title II when it performs contracted services for the government. Wilkins-Jones v. 9 County of Alameda, 859 F. Supp. 2d 1039, 1045 (N.D. Cal. 2012). Here, Defendant has previously stated that the Salvation Army provides free of charge drug and alcohol rehabilitation 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 services to any individual requesting it. Docket No. 23 at 4. Defendant’s services were 12 completely unrelated to the State of California or the parole board, and there was no agreement 13 between the Salvation Army and the state or parole board. Id. The Salvation Army was not 14 involved in any agreement between Hopkins and the state or municipality. Id. These facts 15 strongly indicate that the Salvation Army operated on a totally independent basis from the 16 government. 17 But even if it were determined to be a government contractor, the Salvation Army is not 18 liable. The circuits that have addressed this issue have found that Title II does not apply to 19 government contractors. Edison v. Douberly, 604 F.3d 1307, 1309-10 (11th Cir. 2010) (a private 20 prison management company was not an “instrumentality of the [state]” under Title II); Green v. 21 City of New York, 465 F.3d 65, 79 (2d Cir. 2006) (a private hospital performing services through a 22 contract with the city is not an instrumentality of the state, which is best read as referring to a 23 creature of a state or municipality); Phillips v. Tiona, 508 F. App’x 737, 754 (10th Cir. 2013) 24 (Title II does not apply to private corporations that operate prisons); Maringo v. Warden, 283 F. 25 App’x 205 (5th Cir. 2008) (same). 26 Several district courts in the Ninth Circuit have reached this same conclusion. Wilkins- 27 Jones v. County of Alameda, 859 F. Supp. 2d 1039, 1046-48 (N.D. Cal. 2012); Martinez v. Mercy 28 Hospital of Bakersfield, No. 09-1994 OWW SMS, 2011 WL 444861, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 8, 3 1 2011); Rodrigues v. Arizona Dep’t of Corr., No. 12-8071 PCT DGC, 2012 WL 6200624, at *9-10 2 (D. Ariz. Dec. 12, 2012) 3 The Court also finds that Defendant Salvation Army is not a public entity in this case and 4 Hopkins cannot proceed with his claim against Defendant under Title II of the ADA. To the 5 extent Hopkins seeks to proceed under Title III, the Court already informed him that the only 6 remedy available to him would be injunctive relief, see Antoninetti v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, 643 7 F.3d 1165, 1174 (9th Cir. 2010), but he solely seeks money damages in this case. To the extent 8 Hopkins seek to proceed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, any such claim has already been denied. See 9 Docket No. 32. For all these reasons, summary judgment is granted to Defendant. CONCLUSION 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 1. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment (Docket No. 29) is GRANTED. 12 2. The Clerk shall terminate all pending motions, enter judgment, and close the file. 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. 14 Dated: April 12, 2016 15 16 JAMES DONATO United States District Judge 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 KEVIN L. HOPKINS, Case No. 14-cv-01494-JD Plaintiff, 5 v. CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE 6 7 THE SALVATION ARMY, Defendant. 8 9 10 I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 That on April 12, 2016, I SERVED a true and correct copy(ies) of the attached, by placing said copy(ies) in a postage paid envelope addressed to the person(s) hereinafter listed, by depositing said envelope in the U.S. Mail, or by placing said copy(ies) into an inter-office delivery receptacle located in the Clerk's office. 16 17 18 Kevin L. Hopkins 29358 Sandburg Way Hayward, CA 94544 19 20 Dated: April 12, 2016 21 22 23 Susan Y. Soong Clerk, United States District Court 24 25 26 By:________________________ LISA R. CLARK, Deputy Clerk to the Honorable JAMES DONATO 27 28 5

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