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Mayle v. Chicago Park District

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 2, 2019

KENNETH WILLIAM MAYLE, Plaintiff,
v.
CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Harry D. Leinenweber, United States District Judge.

         Defendants-United States Attorney General, City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Cook County Animal Control (“Defendants”)-move separately to dismiss Plaintiff Kenneth Mayle's (“Mayle”) Complaint. For the reasons stated herein, the Motions to Dismiss (Dkt. Nos. 19, 22, 48, 51, and 54) are granted in part and denied in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises from Mayle's disability and inability to access public facilities owned by certain Defendants, allegedly in violation of his constitutional and statutory rights. Mayle suffers from bipolar disorder. Because Mayle is allergic to dogs, he depends on his Guinea Hog, Chief Wiggum, to provide service and emotional support. The Guinea Hog performs tasks such as massage therapy on Mayle's hands to mitigate feelings of anxiety and depression. The Guinea Hog also encourages Mayle to engage in physical activity: Mayle transports the Guinea Hog with a shopping cart attached to his bike. Finally, Mayle is a Satanist and uses his Guinea Hog during his religious practices.

         Mayle alleges that Defendants, through various means and measures, repeatedly denied him the right to bring his Guinea Hog to places of public accommodation in and around the Chicago area. These places include: North Avenue Beach, Montrose Beach, Millennium Park, Grant Park, and other unnamed parks maintained by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

         Based on the foregoing, Mayle brought the instant action, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief: He requests the Court to designate his Guinea Hog as a service animal equal to dogs and miniature horses. Mayle asserts the following four counts against the various Defendants:

I. A violation of Title II of the ADA against the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, and the Cook County Animal Control.
II. A violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act against the City of Chicago and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
III. Deprivation of Equal Protection under the Fourteenth Amendment against the United States Attorney General.
IV. A violation of the First Amendment against the City of Chicago and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
V. A violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), against the City of Chicago and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

         Defendants now move separately to dismiss the entirety of Mayle's Complaint, asserting that (1) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1); and (2) Mayle has failed to state any claims under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Each basis to dismiss will be discussed in turn.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Pro Se Complaints

         Mayle has filed and litigated this case on a pro se basis. Courts construe pro se complaints more liberally than pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Typically, courts will treat “allegations of a pro se complaint to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Id.

         B. Rule 12(b)(1) Dismissal

         The Court will first address subject matter jurisdiction before turning to the merits of the underlying claims. See Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 94-95 (1998). Standing is a jurisdictional matter; thus, a motion to dismiss for lack of standing is properly brought under Rule 12(b)(1). Goleta Nat'l Bank v. O'Donnell, 239 F.Supp.2d 745, 752 (S.D. Ohio 2002). A plaintiff lacks standing when the complaint lacks sufficient facial allegations to establish subject matter jurisdiction. See St. John's United Church of Christ v. City of Chicago, 502 F.3d 616, 625 (7th Cir. 2007).

         1. Cook County Animal Control

         Mayle asserts that Cook County Animal Control violated his rights under Title II of the ADA by not issuing his Guinea Hog a Dog Friendly Area (“DFA”) tag-a rabies vaccination certification that allows owners to bring their dogs to dog parks and dog beaches. Defendant Cook County Animal Control, however, asserts that Mayle does not have standing to bring this claim. To have standing, a plaintiff must show that he has (1) suffered an “injury in fact”; (2) the injury is reasonably traceable to the defendant's challenged action; and (3) it must be likely, rather than speculative, that the plaintiff's injury will be redressable by a favorable decision. Lujan v. ...


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