United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the motion to dismiss of
Defendants Recovery Innovations, Inc. (“Recovery
Innovations”), Sami French (“French”),
Jennifer Clingenpeel (“Clingenpeel”), and Dr.
Vasant Halarnakar, M.D. (“Halarnaker”)
(collectively “Defendants”). Dkt. 9. The Court
has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in
opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and
hereby denies the motion for the reasons stated herein.
8, 2018, Plaintiff Kenneth Rawson (“Plaintiff”)
filed his complaint. Dkt. 1. Plaintiff filed an amended
complaint on June 8, 2017. Dkt. 5. Plaintiff brings claims
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities
Act (“ADA”), and various state laws. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that he was both wrongfully involuntarily
committed at Recovery Innovations and wrongfully forced to
take antipsychotic medication. Id.
20, 2017, Defendants moved to dismiss. Dkt. 9. On August 8,
2017, Plaintiff responded. Dkt. 14. On August 24, Defendants
replied. Dkt. 16.
to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure may be based on either the lack of a
cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts
alleged under such a theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica
Police Department, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
Material allegations are taken as admitted and the complaint
is construed in the plaintiff's favor. Keniston v.
Roberts, 717 F.2d 1295, 1301 (9th Cir. 1983). To survive
a motion to dismiss, the complaint does not require detailed
factual allegations but must provide the grounds for
entitlement to relief and not merely a “formulaic
recitation” of the elements of a cause of action.
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965
(2007). Plaintiffs must allege “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Id. at 1974.
Color of State Law
establish a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must show that an
individual acting under the color of state law deprived him
of a right, privilege, or immunity protected by the United
States Constitution or federal law.” Levine v. City
of Alameda, 525 F.3d 903, 905 (9th Cir. 2008).
Defendants argue that Plaintiff has failed to state a §
1983 claim on the basis that their actions were not taken
“under color of state law” because they are
comprised of a private entity and its employees.
individual acts under color of state law when he or she
exercises power possessed by virtue of state law and made
possible only because the wrongdoer is clothed with the
authority of state law.” Naffe v. Frey, 789
F.3d 1030, 1036 (9th Cir. 2015) (quotation omitted). As a
general rule, it is presumed that actions by private parties
are not taken under color of state law. Florer v.
Congregation Pidyon Shevuyim, N.A., 639 F.3d 916, 922
(9th Cir. 2011) (“We start with the presumption that
conduct by private actors is not state action.”).
However, “[i]f the [Constitution] is not to be
displaced, . . . its ambit cannot be a simple line between
States and people operating outside formally governmental
organizations, and the deed of an ostensibly private
organization or individual is to be treated sometimes as if a
State had caused it to be performed.” Brentwood
Acad. v. Tennessee Secondary Sch. Athletic Ass'n,
531 U.S. 288, 295 (2001). Therefore, “a private entity
may be designated a state actor for some purposes but still
function as a private actor in other respects.”
Caviness v. Horizon Cmty. Learning Ctr., Inc., 590
F.3d 806, 814 (9th Cir. 2010). “In § 1983 actions,
“color of state law” is synonymous with state
action.” George v. Pac.-CSC Work Furlough, 91
F.3d 1227, 1229 (9th Cir. 1996).
Ninth Circuit has “recognize[d] at least four different
criteria, or tests, used to identify state action: (1) public
function; (2) joint action; (3) governmental compulsion or
coercion; and (4) governmental nexus.” Kirtley v.
Rainey, 326 F.3d 1088, 1092 (9th Cir. 2003) (quotation
omitted). The “public function” test is perhaps
the most clearly defined theory out of those listed above,
and it has been set forth by the Ninth Circuit as follows:
Under the public function test, “when private
individuals or groups are endowed by the State with powers or
functions governmental in nature, they become agencies or
instrumentalities of the State and subject to its
constitutional limitations.” Evans v. Newton,
382 U.S. 296, 299 (1966). To satisfy the public function
test, the function at issue must be both  ...