Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cross v. Cirtin

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division

December 5, 2016

CHRISTOPHER CROSS, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT CIRTIN, et al ., Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS COUNT IV WITHOUT PREJUDICE

          BETH PHILLIPS, JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, has filed suit on behalf of himself and an undefined class against Greene County Presiding Commissioner Robert Cirtin, Greene County Sheriff James Arnott, and numerous Jane and John Does. All Defendants are sued in their personal capacities and not in their official capacities.

         Cirtin has filed a Motion to Dismiss that targets only Count IV of the Amended Complaint.[1] Count IV alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”). Cirtin argues that Plaintiff lacks standing to pursue a claim under the ADA; the Court agrees, so Cirtin's motion, (Doc. 19), is GRANTED, and Count IV is dismissed.[2]

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Amended Complaint, (Doc. 9), is forty-six pages long, contains nearly 200 separately numbered paragraphs, asserts four substantive counts, and asserts two counts that do not present substantive claims but only seek declaratory and injunctive relief for the four substantive counts. Counts I through III are legally distinct from the ADA claim asserted in Count IV. Moreover, there is no need to detail all of Plaintiff's factual allegations in order to address the pending motion. Therefore, the Court will focus on those allegations that relate to Plaintiff's ADA claim.[3]

         Plaintiff contends that he is the legal guardian for an unnamed individual (hereafter referred to as Plaintiff's “Ward”), and that his Ward participates in some manner in “programs” related to sex offenders. He identifies these programs by reference to Missouri statutes, and the statutes Plaintiff cites relate to restrictions on where certain sex offenders may live and requirements that certain sex offenders register with law enforcement. (Doc. 9, ¶¶ 103, 108.) Plaintiff contends Defendants have not permitted Plaintiff's Ward access to these “programs” in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, (“ADA”), but he does not set forth any facts that explain this claim. (Doc. 9, ¶¶ 170-73.) He also alleges that Green County generally, and the Greene County Sheriff's Department specifically, do not have an ADA coordinator, a published ADA grievance procedure, or “auxiliary aids as defined in” the ADA. (Doc. 9, ¶¶ 99-102, 169.)

         Cirtin argues Plaintiff lacks standing to assert ADA claims because Plaintiff has not alleged that he suffered an injury and Plaintiff cannot rely on the Ward's claims to support his own standing. Cirtin further argues that Plaintiff cannot present his Ward's claims because he is not a licensed attorney. Plaintiff contends that he has standing because his Ward's claims are really his own. The Court resolves these arguments below.

         II. DISCUSSION

         The requirement that a plaintiff have standing to sue arises from Article III of the Constitution and its command that the judicial power of the United States be applied only to cases and controversies. E.g., Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1546-47 (2016). The “irreducible constitutional minimum” required to demonstrate standing requires that a plaintiff “have (1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.” Id. at 1547. Cirtin's argument focuses on the first requirement and contends that the Amended Complaint does not allege any injuries suffered by Plaintiff. Cirtin argues that at best the Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff's Ward has suffered injuries, but Plaintiff cannot rely on his Ward's injuries to satisfy the requirement that he suffered an injury, nor can he assert claims on his Ward's behalf.

         Plaintiff concedes that his Ward is not party to this suit; in fact, he insists upon this point. (Doc. 23, pp. 8-9.)[4] He suggests he has suffered injuries by virtue of his association with his Ward. (Doc. 23, pp. 11-12.) Plaintiff also argues that he has standing - not “in his capacity as an individual, but rather, in his capacity as a duly appointed legal guardian who has full guardianship and full statutory authority, because the capacity of a guardian trumps the capacity of an individual.” (Doc. 23, p. 11.) It is not clear whether these are intended to be distinct arguments or are part of a single argument; the Court will treat them as separate arguments in order to provide a fuller analysis.

         A. Plaintiff's Standing Based on Injuries He Suffered

         The Amended Complaint does not allege that Plaintiff has suffered an injury that will support the first requirement for standing. “To establish injury in fact, a plaintiff must show that he or she suffered ‘an invasion of a legally protected interest' that is “concrete and particularized' and ‘actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.'” Spokeo, 136 S.Ct. at 1548 (quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992)). The Amended Complaint does not allege that Plaintiff has been denied access to programs, or that any other action has been taken against him that violates the ADA.

         Plaintiff points to 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(4), which defines “discrimination against a qualified individual on the basis of disability” to include “excluding . . . benefits to a qualified individual because of the known disability of an individual with whom the qualified individual is known to have a relationship or association.” He also relies on 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(1)(E), which declares that it is “discriminatory to exclude or otherwise deny equal [treatment] because of the known disability of an individual with whom the individual or entity is known to have a relationship or association.” Both statutes apply when a person is denied benefits or otherwise subjected to discriminatory treatment because of their association with a disabled person. However, Plaintiff has not alleged that he was denied any benefits, or that he suffered any discriminatory treatment, because of his Ward's disability. These statutes do not apply in this case, and do not provide Plaintiff with the injury the Constitution requires for standing.

         B. Plaintiff's Standing as his ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.