United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
K. CHEN, United States District Judge
Jason Vale brings this pro se complaint against
Northwell Health and multiple individual employees.
Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is granted. For the reasons
set forth below, the Complaint (Dkt. 1) is dismissed pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), with leave to file an
amended complaint within 30 days of the date of this Order.
following factual allegations are taken from the complaint
and assumed to be true for purpose of this Order. Plaintiff
was admitted to a Northwell Health hospital in Queens on
October 25, 2017 and was treated for a heart attack and an
infection. (Compl. at ¶ 11.) The following day, a family
member brought Plaintiff's service dog to the hospital.
(Compl. at ¶ 12.) Thereafter, defendant Ann Marie
McCabe, the Nursing Director, is alleged to have
“continuously harassed” Plaintiff and directed
defendants Charles Catapano, the Assistant Director of
Security, and multiple John Doe security officers to search
Plaintiff's person and property and to seize his
property. (Compl. at ¶¶ 13-14.) “Defendant
Ann Marie McCabe would not permit the [P]laintiff to walk his
service dog[, ] and [he] was constrained to keep his dog
isolated in his room.” (Compl. at ¶ 16, n. 1.)
Plaintiff asserts that defendants' actions violated his
rights under the Fourth and Eighth Amendments and constituted
discrimination in violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act. (Compl. at ¶¶ 14, 16, 18-19, 25.)
Plaintiff seeks monetary relief only.
complaint is subject to review under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Pursuant to the in forma pauperis
statute, a district court must dismiss a case if the court
determines that the action “(i) is frivolous or
malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Pro se complaints are held to less
stringent standards than pleadings drafted by attorneys, and
the Court is required to read the Plaintiff's pro
se complaint liberally and interpret it as raising the
strongest arguments it suggests. Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). The Court must grant leave to amend
the complaint if a liberal reading of the complaint
“gives any indication that a valid claim might be
stated.” Cuoco v. Moritsugu, 222 F.3d 99, 112
(2d Cir. 2000). However, the complaint must plead sufficient
facts to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Civil Rights Claims
allegations that his Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights were
violated suggests claims invoking 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(“Section 1983”). In order to maintain a Section
1983 action, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements.
First, “the conduct complained of must have been
committed by a person acting under color of state law.”
Pitchell v. Callan, 13 F.3d 545, 547 (2d Cir. 1994).
Second, “the conduct complained of must have deprived a
person of rights, privileges or immunities secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States.”
Id. As the Supreme Court has held, “the
under-color-of-state-law element of § 1983 excludes from
its reach merely private conduct, no matter how
discriminatory or wrongful.” American Mfrs. Mut.
Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40, 50 (1999) (internal
citations and quotations omitted). Defendant Northwell Health
is a private medical services provider. Neither the hospital
nor its employees are alleged to have acted under color of
state law. Accordingly, the Section 1983 claims are dismissed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
The Americans with Disabilities Act
alleges that defendants violated the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”) by not permitting
Plaintiff to walk his service dog. (Compl. at ¶ 16.)
Title II of the ADA provides that “no qualified
individual with a disability shall, by reason of such
disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied
the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a
public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such
entity.” 42 U.S.C. § 12132. A private hospital is
not a public entity and thus is not subject to liability
under Title II. See Green v. City of New York, 465
F.3d 65, 78-80 (2d Cir. 2006) (affirming dismissal of claims
against a private hospital under Title II of the ADA).
III of the ADA provides that “[n]o individual shall be
discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full
and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities,
privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of
public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or
leases to), or operates a place of public
accommodation.” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a).
are considered “public accommodations” for the
purposes of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(F) (defining
“public accommodation” to include “a ...
hospital”). However, Plaintiff seeks only monetary
damages, and the only available remedy under Title III of the
ADA is injunctive relief. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(a)(1).
“Monetary relief . . . is not available to private
individuals under Title III of the ADA.” Powell v.
Nat'l Bd. of Med. Exam'rs, 364 F.3d 79, 86 (2d
Cir. 2004); see also Krist v. Kolombos Rest. Inc.
688 F.3d 89, 94 (2d Cir. 2012) (holding that Title III of the
ADA “authorizes private actions only for injunctive
relief, not monetary damages”). “Since
[P]laintiff seeks only monetary relief with respect to [his]
ADA claims”, the complaint “fails to state a
plausible claim for relief under Title III of the ADA.”
Sandler v. Benden, No. 15-CV-1193(SJF)(AKT), 2016 WL
9944017, at *16 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 19, 2016), aff'd,
No. 16-3218, 2017 WL 5256812 (2d Cir. Nov. 13, 2017).
Further, when injunctive relief is not available, the ADA
claim becomes moot, and the district court no longer has
subject-matter jurisdiction. Brief v. Albert Einstein
Coll. of Med., 423 Fed.Appx. 88, 90 (2d Cir. 2011)
(finding ADA claim moot where injunctive relief no longer
possible); Bacon v. Walgreen Co., 91 F.Supp.3d 446,
453 (E.D.N.Y. 2015) (dismissing ADA Title III claim as moot
when injunctive relief was no longer possible). In this case,
Plaintiff has not requested injunctive relief and has not
demonstrated that he “continue[s] to have a personal
stake in the outcome of the lawsuit.” Lewis v.
Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 478 (1990)
(quoting Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 101
(1983) (internal quotation marks omitted)).
damages are not available under Title III of the ADA,
Plaintiff's claim for damages is dismissed.
Sandler, 2016 WL 9944017, at *16 (dismissing Title
III ADA claim for failure to state a claim where plaintiff
sought only monetary damages); see also Bernas v.
Cablevision Sys. Corp., 215 F. App'x 64, 68 (2d Cir.
2007) (affirming dismissal where plaintiff “cannot seek
damages for past ‘harassment' under Title III of
the ADA”); Fiorica v. Univ. of Rochester, Sch. of
Nursing, No. 07-CV-6232T, 2008 WL 907371, at *2
(W.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2008) (dismissing Title III ADA claim for
failure to state a claim where plaintiff sought only monetary