Sharkey v. O'Neal

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Disability Law
  • Date Filed: 02-10-2015
  • Case #: 11-15619
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Reinhardt for the Court; Circuit Judge Watford and District Judge Lasnik
  • Full Text Opinion

California's three-year statute of limitations, found in Section 11135 of the California Government Code, applies to Title II claims.

Dennis Sharkey was a parolee, supervised by employees of the Parole Division of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Sharkey has a disability that requires him to use a wheelchair and two canes. While on parole, Sharkey initially lived alone in an accessible apartment. New housing restrictions under the California Sexual Predator and Control Act required Sharkey to move from his apartment. Sharkey alleges that one of the Parole Division employees only gave Sharkey one hour to move and 25 minutes to pack when relocating. Sharkey claims that he was relocated into two separate hotel rooms, which lacked the necessary accommodations for his disability and led him to lose access to medical services, doctor appointments, and needed surgeries, as well as causing him to fall and be injured. Sharkey filed suit against four Parole Division employees individually for violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and various constitutional provisions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The district court granted the Parole Division defendants’ motion to dismiss, on the grounds that the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury had run. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal for all claims, except the Title II claims. Under California Government Code § 11135, the state cannot discriminate based on disability, which the panel found to be the most analogous to the Title II. The panel found that the three-year statute of limitations in § 11135 should be applied to Sharkey’s claim and not the two-year personal injury limitation. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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