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Reed v. Columbia St. Mary's Hospital

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

March 30, 2015

LINDA REED, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
COLUMBIA ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL, Defendant-Appellee.

Submitted February 17, 2015[*]

Page 332

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 14-C-330 -- Rudolph T. Randa, Judge.

Linda Reed, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Milwaukee, WI.

Before BAUER, TINDER, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 333

Hamilton, Circuit Judge.

Linda Reed sued Columbia St. Mary's Hospital alleging that the hospital discriminated against her on the basis of her disability during her stay there. She alleges violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12182 (prohibiting disability discrimination in public accommodations), and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794 (prohibiting disability discrimination by entities that receive federal funding). In this, her second federal suit based on these facts, the district court dismissed her claims for two reasons. First, it concluded that her claims were precluded by the dismissal of her earlier suit. Second, even if her claims were not precluded, the district court concluded that neither the ADA nor the Rehabilitation Act could offer her any remedy. We disagree on both grounds and therefore vacate the judgment of the district court and remand.

Reed alleged in her first complaint that she has tardive dyskinesia, a neurological

Page 334

disorder that causes involuntary facial and limb movements and makes speaking difficult. During an inpatient stay at the hospital in March 2012, Reed alleged, its staff ignored her requests, treated her poorly, refused to consult with her regarding her care, and physically injured her when she was forcibly discharged. Judge Stadtmueller, the judge assigned to that first case, ruled that the complaint did not contain " a short and plain statement" of the claim as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), dismissed it, and invited Reed to amend. She did so. The amended complaint repeated these factual allegations and alleged an unelaborated claim of " retaliation," a violation of Title III of the ADA, and several state-law claims.

Upon review of the amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), Judge Stadtmueller dismissed the action " with-out prejudice." He considered whether any of her claims asserted a violation of federal law, including the Rehabilitation Act and the retaliation provision of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12203. But for each potential federal violation, the judge believed that Reed failed to state a claim for relief.

The judge then wrote that because Reed did not state a violation of federal law, the court lacked jurisdiction and had to dismiss the case without prejudice:

Having dismissed all of Ms. Reed's claims that could conceivably arise under federal law, the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Likewise, the Court lacks diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Therefore, lacking a basis for jurisdiction over the potentially-federal claims, the Court may not exercise ...

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