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McGugan v. Aldana-Bernier

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

May 16, 2014

KRATON McGUGAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
LINDA L. ALDANA-BERNIER, M.D., personally, SHUSHAN HOVANESIAN, M.D., personally, RABBI MAHMUDUR, M.D., personally, FEMI ABIOYE, R.N., personally, JAMAICA HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant-Appellees, NEW YORK CITY, GAMALIEL BONILLA, personally, KENNETH BOGLE, personally, Port Authority Police Department Officer ANGERHAUSER, Shield Number 2653, personally, and THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, Defendants.

Argued September 24, 2013

Page 225

Plaintiff Kraton McGugan appeals from the judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Melanç on, J.) dismissing her complaint against Defendant-Appellees for failure to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Court of Appeals (Leval, J.) concludes that McGugan failed to allege state action on the part of Defendant-Appellees and failed to allege discrimination on the basis of a disability under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The judgment of the district court is therefore AFFIRMED.

WILLIAM M. BROOKS, Mental Disability Law Clinic, Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, Central Islip, NY, for Plaintiff-Appellant Kraton McGugan.

BRIAN E. LEE, Ivone, Devine & Jensen, LLP, Lake Success, NY, for Defendant-Appellee Shushan Hovanesian, M.D.

BRUCE M. BRADY, Callan, Koster, Brady & Brennan LLP, New York, N.Y. (Stephen J. Barrett, on the brief), for Defendant-Appellee Linda L. Aldana-Bernier, M.D.

ARJAY G. YAO, Martin Clearwater & Bell LLP, New York, N.Y. (Kenneth R. Larywon and Gregory J. Radomisli, on the brief), for Defendant-Appellees Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Rabbi Mahmudur, M.D., and Femi Abioye.

Before: LEVAL, HALL, and LOHIER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 226

LEVAL, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Kraton McGugan appeals from the judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Melanç on, J.) dismissing her complaint. McGugan brought suit against Defendants Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and four of its employees -- Linda L. Aldana-Bernier, M.D., Shushan Hovanesian, M.D., Rabbi Mahmudur, M.D., and Femi Abioye, R.N. -- (collectively, " Defendants" )

Page 227

for their alleged role in forcibly medicating and hospitalizing McGugan.[1] The Defendants moved to dismiss McGugan's complaint. The district court granted the motions, concluding that McGugan failed to state a claim against the Defendants (1) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, because she failed to allege state action, and (2) under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, because she failed to allege discrimination on the basis of disability against an otherwise qualified individual. The district court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over McGugan's state law claims against the Defendants. On appeal, McGugan contests only the district court's conclusion that she failed to state a claim against Defendants under § 1983 and § 504.

We agree with the district court that McGugan failed to allege state action for the purposes of her § 1983 claims and that she failed to allege actionable discrimination for the purposes of her § 504 claim. We therefore affirm the judgment of dismissal.

BACKGROUND

I. McGugan's Involuntary Hospitalization

The facts, as alleged in McGugan's complaint, are as follows.

In the early morning of July 24, 2008, McGugan boarded a red-eye flight from San Francisco to New York City (John F. Kennedy International Airport) to visit her boyfriend, Chris Tulipanov. On the plane, McGugan began coughing uncontrollably. She asked to be moved to a less crowded area of the plane to avoid bothering neighboring passengers, but a flight attendant told her to return to her seat. Still coughing, McGugan renewed her request " using stronger language." Second Am. Compl. ¶ 29. The flight attendant then moved another passenger, leaving McGugan in a row of seats to herself.

McGugan fell asleep and did not wake up until after the plane had landed and all the other passengers had deplaned. When she woke up, three police officers were standing over her. They took her to a police station at the airport for questioning and handcuffed her to the wall. After McGugan answered the officers' questions, an unidentified man informed her that she would be taken to the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center (" JHMC" ). JHMC is a private hospital that receives federal funding and is licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health (" OMH" ) to provide psychiatric services.

McGugan's boyfriend then accompanied her in an ambulance to the JHMC. During their ride to the JHMC, one of two government officials (defendants who are not parties to this appeal) injected McGugan with medication without her consent, after erroneously determining that she was a danger to others. The ...


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