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1 XAVIER BECERRA, State Bar No. 118517


Attorney General of California
2 ISMAEL A. CASTRO, State Bar No. 85452
Supervising Deputy Attorney General
3 JUDY WONG, State Bar No. 299990
LAURIE N. ADAMSON, State Bar No. 242795
4 Deputy Attorneys General
1300 I Street, Suite 125
5 P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
6 Telephone: (916) 210-6095
Fax: (916) 324-5567
7 E-mail: Laurie.Adamson@doj.ca.gov
Attorneys for Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of
8 California, and Pat Leary, Acting Director of
California Department of Social Services
9
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
10
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
11

12
TEEN RESCUE, CARLTON WILLIAMS 2:19-cv-00457-JAM-EFB
13 as an individual and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND
14 AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF
Plaintiffs, DEFENDANTS XAVIER BECERRA AND
15 PAT LEARY’S MOTION TO DISMISS
v. PLAINTIFF CARLTON WILLIAMS’
16 FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT
PURSUANT TO FEDERAL RULES OF
17 XAVIER BECERRA, Attorney General of CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(1) and (6)
the State of California, in his official
18 capacity, WILLIAM LIGHTBOURNE, [Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), (6)]
Director of the State Department of Social
19 Services, in his official capacity, Butte [Filed Concurrently with Defendants’
County Department of Children’s Services Notice of Motion and Motion to Dismiss]
20 Division ad DOES 1-50,
Date: July 30, 2019
21 Defendants. Time: 1:30 p.m.
Dept: 6, 14th Floor
22 Judge: The Honorable John A. Mendez
Trial Date: None set
23 Action Filed: March 13, 2019
24

25

26

27

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1 TABLE OF CONTENTS
2 Page
3 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 1
Legal and Factual Background........................................................................................................ 1
4
I. The Community Care Facilities Act (CCFA) ......................................................... 1
5 II. Relevant Facts Alleged in the First Amended Complaint....................................... 2
6 Legal Standards ............................................................................................................................... 3
Argument ........................................................................................................................................ 4
7
I. Plaintiff Does Not Have Standing to Bring Constitutional Claims
8 Challenging the CCFA ............................................................................................ 4
A. Plaintiff Cannot Demonstrate Injury in Fact ............................................... 4
9
B. The Relief Sought by Plaintiff Cannot Be Granted by This Court ............. 5
10 C. Plaintiff Cannot Assert Standing on Behalf of Others ................................ 6
11 II. The First Amended Complaint Fails to State a Cognizable Free Exercise
Clause Claim under the First Amendment .............................................................. 6
12 A. The CCFA’s Neutral and Generally Applicable Provisions Do Not
Violate Plaintiff’s Right to Free Exercise of Religion under the First
13 Amendment ................................................................................................. 6
14 1. The CCFA is Neutral, as the Provisions Challenged by
Plaintiff Do Not Target or Reference Religion ............................... 7
15 2. The CCFA Does Not Selectively Burden Religion, and is
Therefore Generally Applicable.................................................... 12
16
B. The CCFA Furthers Legitimate Governmental Purposes ......................... 13
17 III. The First Amended Complaint Fails to State a Cognizable Claim for an
Impermissible Infringement of Parental Rights Under the First and
18 Fourteenth Amendments ....................................................................................... 14
19 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................... 15

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

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1 TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
2 Page
3 CASES
4 Ashcroft v. Iqbal
556 U.S. 662 (2009) ..............................................................................................................3, 12
5

6 Chandler v. State Farm Mutual, Ins. Co.


598 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2010).....................................................................................................3
7
Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (Lukumi)
8 508 U.S. 520 (1993) ..........................................................................................................8, 9, 12

9 City of Los Angeles v. Lyons


461 U.S. 95..................................................................................................................................5
10
Clapper v. Amnesty Int’l USA
11
568 U.S. 398 (2013) ....................................................................................................................4
12
Cole v. Oroville Union High School Dist.
13 228 F.3d 1092 .............................................................................................................................5

14 Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith


494 U.S. 872 (1990) ................................................................................................................6, 7
15
Hartmann v. California Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab.
16 707 F.3d 1114 (9th Cir. 2013)...................................................................................................12
17
Hooks v. Clark County
18 228 F.3d 1036 (9th Cir. 2000)...................................................................................................15

19 Kowalski v. Tesmer
543 U.S. 125 (2004) ....................................................................................................................6
20
Kreisner v. City of San Diego
21 1 F.3d 775 (9th Cir. 1993).........................................................................................................12
22
Lazy Y Ranch Ltd. V. Behrens
23 546 F.3d 580 (9th Cir. 2018).......................................................................................................3

24 Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife


504 U.S. 555 (1992) ................................................................................................................4, 5
25
Mayweathers v. Newland
26 314 F.3d 1062 (9th Cir. 2002).....................................................................................................9
27 McCollum v. California Dept. of Corrections & Rehab.
28 647 F3d 870 (9th Cir. 2011)........................................................................................................6
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1 TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
(continued)
2 Page
3 Meyers v. Nebraska
262 U.S. 390 (1923) ..................................................................................................................14
4
Miller v. Reed
5
176 F.3d 1202 (9th Cir. 1999).....................................................................................................7
6
Newdow v. Rio Linda Union School Dist.
7 597 F.3d 1007 (2010) ..................................................................................................................4

8 North Star Int’l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm’n


720 F.2d. 578 (9th Cir. 1983)......................................................................................................3
9
North Valley Baptist Church v. McMahon
10 696 F.Supp. 518 (E.D. Cal. 1988) .......................................................................................10, 14
11
Parham v. J. R.
12 442 U.S. 584 (1979) ..................................................................................................................15

13 Pickup v. Brown
740 F.3d. 1208 (2013) .........................................................................................................13, 15
14
Pierce v. Society Sisters
15 267 U.S. 510 (1925) ..................................................................................................................14
16 Powers v. Ohio
17 499 U.S. 400 (1991) ....................................................................................................................6

18 Prince v. Massachusetts
321 U.S. 158 (1944) ..................................................................................................................15
19
Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins
20 136 S.Ct. 1540 (2016) .................................................................................................................4
21 Stormans v. Wiesman
22 794 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 2015)...........................................................................................7, 8, 13

23 Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky


586 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2012).....................................................................................................6
24
Summers v. Earth Island Inst.
25 555 U.S. 488 (2009) ....................................................................................................................4
26 The Honorable Steven Baldwin
81 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen 189 (1998) ..............................................................................................10
27

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1 TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
(continued)
2 Page
3 Welch v. Brown
834 F.3d 1041 (9th Cir. 2016)...............................................................................................9, 13
4
Williams v. California
5
764 F.3d 1002 (9th Cir. 2014).........................................................................................9, 11, 14
6
Wittman v. Personhuballah
7 136 S.Ct. 1732 (2016) .................................................................................................................5

8 STATUTES

9 United States Code, Title 42 § 1983 .................................................................................................1


10 California Business and Professions Code
§ 865 ............................................................................................................................................9
11
§ 865.1 .........................................................................................................................................9
12 § 865.2 .........................................................................................................................................9

13 California Child Care Facilities Act..........................................................................................10, 14

14 California Community Care Facilities Act .......................................................................................1


15 California Health and Safety Code
§ 1500 et seq. ..............................................................................................................................1
16 § 1501, subd. (a) ......................................................................................................................1, 8
17 § 1501, subd. (b) .......................................................................................................................13
§ 1501, subd. (b)(3) .....................................................................................................................9
18 § 1502, subd. (a)(19) ...................................................................................................................2
§ 1502.2, subd. (c)(4) ........................................................................................................3, 8, 13
19 § 1502.2, subd. (d)(1)(P) ...................................................................................................3, 8, 13
§ 1503.5, subd. (b) ................................................................................................................2, 12
20
§ 1508 ........................................................................................................................................12
21 § 101223, subd. (a)(5) ...............................................................................................................10

22 California Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act ..............................................11, 14

23 CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

24 United States Constitution


Amendment I...............................................................................................................................6
25 Article III.................................................................................................................................4, 5
26

27

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1 TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
(continued)
2 Page
3 COURT RULES
4 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) .......................................................................................................................................3
5
12(b)(6) .......................................................................................................................................3
6
OTHER AUTHORITIES
7
California Code of Regulations, Title 22
8 § 80001 et seq. ............................................................................................................................1
§ 80001, subd. (c)(3) ...................................................................................................................2
9 § 80027 ..................................................................................................................................9, 13
§ 80072 ........................................................................................................................................3
10
§ 85079 ......................................................................................................................................11
11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

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1 INTRODUCTION
2 This Court should dismiss Plaintiff Carlton Williams’ (Plaintiff) first amended complaint
3 (FAC) with prejudice, which is brought on behalf of on behalf of others similarly situated persons
4 known as the Parent Class, 1 under 42 U.S.C., section 1983 against Defendants Xavier Becerra, in
5 his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of California, and Pat Leary, 2 in her official
6 capacity as Acting Director of the California Department of Social Services (collectively,
7 Defendants). Plaintiff challenges the California Community Care Facilities Act (CCFA),
8 asserting a Free Exercise Clause claim under the First Amendment, and a Parental Rights claim
9 under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and seeks injunctive and declaratory relief with
10 respect to the enforcement of the CCFA to River View Christian Academy (RVCA), a facility
11 operated by Teen Rescue. 3 However, the FAC fails to sufficiently allege that Plaintiff has
12 standing to bring this action in his own right. Moreover, Plaintiff fails to state facts sufficient to
13 show that the challenged provisions of the CCFA violate his Free Exercise rights, or
14 impermissibly infringe his Parental Rights. For the above reasons, Defendants’ motion to dismiss
15 should be granted without leave to amend.
16 LEGAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
17 I. THE COMMUNITY CARE FACILITIES ACT (CCFA)
18 CDSS is responsible for licensure, administration, and enforcement of the laws and
19 regulations governing community care facilities in the State of California. These laws are found
20 in Health and Safety Code section 1500 et seq., otherwise known as the CCFA. 4 The CCFA was
21 enacted with the primary purpose of establishing “a coordinated and comprehensive statewide
22 service system of quality community care for mentally ill, developmentally and physically
23 disabled, and children and adults who require care or services by a facility or organization issued
24 a license or special permit.” Cal. Health & Saf. Code, § 1501, subd. (a).
25 1
It is important to note that the Parent Class has not been certified by this Court.
2
Pat Leary has succeeded William Lightbourne and is Acting Director of California
26 Department of Social Services.
3
Teen Rescue’s claim was dismissed by this Court on April 11, 2019. See Court Docket
27 (CD) 21. Thus, this motion only addresses Plaintiff Carlton Williams’ claims.
4
CDSS’ regulations implementing the CCFA are found at California Code of
28 Regulations, title 22, section 80001 et seq.
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1 Under the CCFA, CDSS is required to license, inspect and monitor all community care

2 facilities, including children’s residential facilities that provide rehabilitative or treatment

3 services, or care and supervision, as defined in the CCFA. A “community care facility” means

4 any facility, place, or building that is maintained and operated to provide 24-hour non-medical

5 residential care, day treatment, adult day care, or foster family agency services for children,

6 adults, or children and adults, including, but not limited to, the physically handicapped, mentally

7 impaired, incompetent persons, and abused or neglected children, and includes the following:

8 “Private alternative boarding school” means a group home licensed by the department
to operate a program pursuant to Section 1502.2 to provide youth with 24-hour
9 residential care and supervision, which in addition to providing educational services
to youth, provides, or holds itself out as providing, behavioral-based services to youth
10 with social, emotional, or behavioral issues. The care and supervision provided by a
group home shall be nonmedical, except as otherwise permitted by law. 5
11

12 See Cal. Health & Saf. Code, § 1502, subd. (a)(19).


13 The CCFA prohibits the operation of unlicensed community care facilities. Cal. Health &

14 Saf. Code, § 1503.5, subd. (b). A facility is “deemed to be an ‘unlicensed community care

15 facility’ and ‘maintained and operated to provide nonmedical care’ if it is unlicensed and not

16 exempt from licensure, and any one of the following conditions are satisfied: (1) The facility is

17 providing care or supervision…; (2) The facility is held out or represented as providing care or

18 supervision…; and (3) The facility accepts or retains residents who demonstrate the need for care

19 or supervision…” Id.; see Cal. Code of Regs., tit. 22, § 80001, subd. (c)(3).

20 II. RELEVANT FACTS ALLEGED IN THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT


21 Plaintiff Carlton Williams is a parent of a child who boards at and is in enrolled in RVCA

22 (a Christian boarding school in Northern California operated by Teen Rescue), and brings the

23 FAC as a class action on behalf of all persons similarly situated. FAC, ¶¶ 7, 8, 13, 23. Plaintiff

24 brings a Free Exercise Clause claim under the First Amendment and a Parental Rights claim

25 under the First and Fourteenth Amendments against Defendants. Id., ¶¶ 91-103. The FAC

26 contends that the religious practices of RVCA violate portions of the CCFA, and that the

27
5
This provision became effective January 1, 2018.
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1 regulations related to the CCFA place restrictions on schools relative to religion and are

2 irreconcilable with a religious school. Id., ¶¶ 59-60, 62.

3 Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that California Code of Regulations, title 22, section 80072,

4 which protects the right of clients in community care facilities to be free to attend religious

5 services and have visits from spiritual advisors of their choice, poses an existential threat to

6 RVCA because it only provides Christian Bible studies and Christian church services. FAC, ¶ 59,

7 63. The FAC states, “The Parent Class specifically sends their children to [RVCA] because of

8 the spiritual guidance provided.” Id., ¶ 64. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that the CCFA

9 addresses moral issues in a manner that is inconsistent with RVCA’s religious beliefs and

10 practices by giving students a right “[t]o be free from acts that seek to change his or her sexual

11 orientation…” (Cal. Health & Saf. Code, § 1502.2, subd. (d)(1)(P)), and by requiring staff of

12 private alternative boarding schools to “submit a staff training plan to [CDSS] as part of its

13 operation” including the rights of youth in the area of “[c]ultural competency and sensitivity

14 relating to the [LGBT] communities.” Cal. Health & Saf. Code, § 1502.2, subd. (c)(4); FAC, ¶¶

15 66-67.

16 LEGAL STANDARDS
17 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) allows courts to dismiss a claim for lack of

18 subject-matter jurisdiction. This motion challenges subject matter jurisdiction based on the

19 allegations of the complaint. In such cases, the district court must accept the allegations of the

20 complaint as true. Chandler v. State Farm Mutual, Ins. Co., 598 F.3d 1115, 1121-22 (9th Cir.

21 2010), however, the burden of proof is on the party asserting federal subject matter jurisdiction.

22 Id. A motion to dismiss under Federal rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency

23 of the complaint. North Star Int’l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm’n, 720 F.2d. 578, 581 (9th Cir. 1983). “To

24 survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,

25 to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

26 The court accepts as true all material allegations in the complaint and construes allegations in the

27 light most favorable to the plaintiff. Lazy Y Ranch Ltd. V. Behrens, 546 F.3d 580, 588 (9th Cir.

28 2018).
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1 ARGUMENT

2 I. PLAINTIFF DOES NOT HAVE STANDING TO BRING CONSTITUTIONAL CLAIMS


CHALLENGING THE CCFA
3

4 Plaintiff fails to satisfy the standing requirements necessary to bring constitutional claims

5 challenging the CCFA. Standing is “an essential and unchanging part of the case-or-controversy

6 requirement of Article III.” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992); Clapper v.

7 Amnesty Int'l USA, 568 U.S. 398, 408 (2013) (“One element of the case-or-controversy

8 requirement is that plaintiffs must establish that they have standing to sue”). The party invoking

9 federal jurisdiction must establish each element with the manner and degree of evidence required

10 at the particular stage of the litigation. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. at 561; Spokeo,

11 Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1547-1548 (2016). Here, the FAC does not establish “a case or

12 controversy” within the meaning of Article III. The “irreducible minimum” elements are not met,

13 namely: (1) injury in fact; (2) causation; and (3) redressability. Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct.

14 at 1547; Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. at 560-561. Thus, Plaintiff’s claims are barred

15 due to lack of jurisdiction.

16 A. Plaintiff Cannot Demonstrate Injury in Fact

17 Plaintiff’s FAC fails to state facts sufficient to show that he is personally injured by the

18 CCFA. Plaintiff cannot demonstrate that he has suffered an injury in fact that is: (a) concrete and

19 particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical. Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins,

20 136 S.Ct. at 1548; Summers v. Earth Island Inst., 555 U.S. 488, 495-496 (2009). Here, Plaintiff

21 is unable to show that the CCFA causes him to suffer any concrete and particularized injury,

22 because nothing in the CCFA requires him to send his child to a community care facility. FAC,

23 ¶¶ 18, 19. The CCFA does not mandate Plaintiff to send his children to a facility that may be

24 subject to the CCFA and its requirements, such as RVCA. See Newdow v. Rio Linda Union

25 School Dist., 597 F.3d 1007 (2010) (Plaintiffs could not demonstrate personal injury in challenge

26 to statute codifying recitation of Pledge of Allegiance when statute did not require recitation and

27 children could choose not to participate). Indeed, Plaintiff is free to send his child to a Christian

28 boarding school that is not subject to the CCFA.


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1 Additionally, Plaintiff’s allegations regarding the harm that arises from CCFA’s

2 requirements on RVCA is too speculative to satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement of Article III.

3 In the context of injunctive relief, the plaintiff must demonstrate a real or immediate threat of an

4 irreparable injury. See City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 110–11. The FAC alleges that

5 the CCFA’s requirement that students be free to attend religious activities or services of his or her

6 choice is antithetical to the Parent Class’ decision to send their children to RVCA because of the

7 spiritual guidance provided. FAC, ¶¶ 59, 62-64. Plaintiff seems to allege a hypothetical situation

8 where a child enrolled in RVCA might request access to non-Christian services that are not

9 provided by RVCA. However, this threat of injury is neither real nor immediate. As the FAC

10 alleges, RVCA is a private school that is free to accept or decline any students it chooses, and can

11 limit enrollment to students who accept its faith statement. Id., ¶¶ 7, 34, 51. Therefore, the

12 likelihood that Plaintiff will suffer a future injury based on the CCFA’s requirements is

13 hypothetical and speculative, and Plaintiff cannot demonstrate a threat of real and immediate

14 injury as necessary to establish standing. See Cole v. Oroville Union High School Dist., 228 F.3d

15 1092, 1100.

16 B. The Relief Sought by Plaintiff Cannot Be Granted by This Court


17 Plaintiff also cannot demonstrate that there is a substantial likelihood that the relief he

18 seeks, if granted, will redress his alleged injury. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. at 559-

19 560; Wittman v. Personhuballah, 136 S.Ct. 1732, 1736-1737 (2016). The injunctive and

20 declaratory relief sought by Plaintiff exclusively concerns the enforcement of the CCFA to Teen

21 Rescue’s school, RVCA. FAC, pp. 24-25. As such, Plaintiff seeks “an order declaring that the

22 application of the [CCFA] to [RVCA] unconstitutionally interferes with the free exercise of

23 religion rights and the parental rights of the Parent Class.” Id. However, the relief sought by

24 Plaintiff solely relates to the relief sought by Teen Rescue, whose claim has already been

25 dismissed by this Court. CD 21. Specifically, this Court held that Teen Rescue’s challenge to the

26 applicability and constitutionality of the CCFA with respect to RVCA must be adjudicated in

27 state court proceedings under the Younger abstention doctrine. Id. Consequently, the declaratory

28
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1 and injunctive relief sought by Plaintiff with respect to RVCA cannot be redressed by this Court,

2 and must be dismissed.

3 C. Plaintiff Cannot Assert Standing on Behalf of Others


4 In addition to lacking standing to bring claims in his own right, Plaintiff is not entitled to

5 assert representational standing on behalf of parties who are directly subject to the enforcement of

6 the CCFA, such as a Teen Rescue. Ordinarily, a plaintiff is not entitled to maintain a federal civil

7 action to redress injuries to others, or to assert the rights of third persons. Kowalski v. Tesmer, 543

8 U.S. 125, 134 (2004); McCollum v. California Dept. of Corrections & Rehab., 647 F3d 870, 879-

9 880 (9th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff also does not meet the stringent requirements of the exception to

10 this rule, because he has not suffered “injury in fact” (as discussed above), and it would not be

11 difficult or impossible for the third parties to assert their rights themselves. Powers v. Ohio, 499

12 U.S. 400, 410-411 (1991). Here, Teen Rescue can bring its own challenge to the applicability and

13 constitutionality of the CCFA both facially and as applied to RVCA in state court proceedings.

14 CD 21. Additionally, there are no allegations in the FAC that Plaintiff seeks to assert standing on

15 behalf of any other parties, such as his children. As such, Plaintiff cannot assert standing on

16 behalf of others, and because Plaintiff does not have standing in his own right, his claims must be

17 dismissed.

18 II. THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FAILS TO STATE A COGNIZABLE FREE EXERCISE
CLAUSE CLAIM UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT
19
A. The CCFA’s Neutral and Generally Applicable Provisions Do Not Violate
20 Plaintiff’s Right to Free Exercise of Religion Under the First Amendment
21 Plaintiff fails to state facts sufficient to show that the CCFA violates his rights to the free

22 exercise of religion under the First Amendment. The Free Exercise Clause provides that

23 “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free

24 exercise thereof . . .” U.S. Const. amend I. It prevents “governmental regulation of religious

25 beliefs as such.” Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872,

26 877 (1990) (emphasis in original). However, the Free Exercise Clause does not bar regulation of

27 all conduct related to the practice of religion. See Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 586 F.3d 1109, 1128

28 (9th Cir. 2012). The Supreme Court, in addressing conflict between government regulation and
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1 religious freedom, has established that an individual's religious beliefs do not “excuse him from

2 compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate.”

3 Emp’t Div., Dep't of Human Res. of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872, 878-79 (1990). Even if a law

4 incidentally burdens a particular religious belief or practice, its enforcement must be upheld

5 against a claim that it violates Free Exercise rights if it is a “valid and neutral law of general

6 applicability” and is rationally related to legitimate government interest. Id. at 879 (internal

7 quotations and citation omitted); Stormans v. Wiesman, 794 F.3d 1064, 1075-76 (9th Cir. 2015)

8 (internal quotations and citations omitted).

9 Here, Plaintiff fails to state facts sufficient to show that the CCFA provisions governing

10 regulation of community care facilities violates his Free Exercise rights, by targeting religion or

11 selectively burdening religious conduct. Moreover, the FAC fails to allege that these neutral and

12 generally applicable provisions of the CCFA do not further legitimate government interests. The

13 CCFA, therefore, does not violate Plaintiff’s Free Exercise rights as a matter of law. See Smith,

14 494 U.S. at 890; Stormans, 794 F.3d at 1064; Miller v. Reed, 176 F.3d 1202, 1207 (9th Cir.

15 1999).

16 1. The CCFA is Neutral, as the Provisions Challenged by Plaintiff Do


Not Target or Reference Religion
17

18 Plaintiff’s FAC fails to allege facts showing that the challenged provisions of the CCFA are

19 not neutral because they target religious belief or conduct, which is a requisite element to a Free

20 Exercise Clause claim. Plaintiff also fails to and cannot establish that enforcement of the CCFA

21 would do so facially or in their intended effect. To the contrary, these provisions are neutral

22 because they make “no reference to any religious practice, conduct, belief, or motivation.”

23 Stormans, 794 F.3d at 1076. Even if a religious entity might be burdened disproportionately by a

24 facially neutral law, that “does not undermine” the neutrality of such action. Id. at 1077. “The

25 Free Exercise Clause is not violated even if a particular group, motivated by religion, may be

26 more likely to engage in the proscribed conduct.” Id. Here, none of the challenged provisions of

27 the CCFA reference or target Plaintiff’s religious beliefs, and are thus neutral on their face.

28
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1 For example, California Health and Safety Code section 1502.2, subdivision (c)(4) does not

2 reference any religion or specific religious beliefs. Plaintiff fails to allege facts showing how

3 requiring staff to be trained in cultural competency and sensitivity on LGBT issues interferes with

4 his religious beliefs regarding marriage and sexuality. Similarly, Plaintiff fails to show that

5 California Health and Safety Code section 1502.2, subdivision (d)(1)(P) - which protects the right

6 of youth to be free from acts that change his or her sexual orientation, gender, or sexual or

7 romantic attractions towards individuals of the same sex – specifically reference religion or

8 religious beliefs. Nothing in the FAC shows how these provisions target, reference, or otherwise

9 burden Plaintiff’s Free Exercise rights.

10 The provisions of the CCFA challenged by Plaintiff are neutral not only because they make

11 no reference to religion, but because their “object ... is [not] to infringe upon or restrict practices

12 because of their religious motivation.” Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah

13 (Lukumi), 508 U.S. 520, 533 (1993). The CCFA “operates neutrally,” and does not covertly

14 target any religious tenet or practice. Stormans, 794 F.3d at 1076. Indeed, in enacting the CCFA,

15 the Legislature explicitly declared the intent behind this statutory scheme and its corresponding

16 regulations. Specifically, the Legislature declared the urgent need to “establish a coordinated and

17 comprehensive statewide service system of quality community care for mentally ill,

18 developmentally and physically disabled, and children and adults who require care or services by

19 a facility or organization issued a license or special permit pursuant to this chapter.” Cal. Health

20 and Saf. Code, § 1501, subd. (a). As such, the CCFA specifically seeks to ensure that all

21 community care facilities subject to licensure meet the same minimum standards and

22 requirements, in order to insure a consistent level of care and services. Id., subd. (b). Indeed, the

23 provisions challenged by Plaintiff’s FAC “prescribe[] and proscribe[] the same conduct for all,

24 regardless of motivation.” Stormans, 794 F.3d at 1077. Therefore, they are neutral on their face

25 and in their application to all community care facilities subject to the CCFA, regardless of any

26 religious beliefs or motivations for their conduct.

27 Specifically, provisions similar to California Health and Safety Code section 1502.2,

28 subdivisions (c)(4) and (d)(1)(P) (which require staff to be trained on LGBT issues and prevent
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1 sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE)), have been determined to be neutral by the Ninth

2 Circuit, on the basis that their object is not to infringe upon religious practices because of their

3 religious motivation. For example, in Welch v. Brown, the court held that California law (Senate

4 Bill (SB) 1172, as codified in California Business and Professions Code sections 865, 865.1 and

5 865.2) prohibiting mental health providers from providing SOCE therapy to children under 18

6 was neutral because it applied regardless of the minor’s motivations for seeking treatment. Welch

7 v. Brown, 834 F.3d 1041, 1045, 1047 (9th Cir. 2016) (Object of law was to prevent harm to

8 minors, and the court found primary intended effect was not to inhibit religion). The same

9 concept applies here.

10 Similarly, in challenging California Code of Regulations, Title 22, section 80027 – which

11 allows clients of community care facilities to attend religious services and have visits of spiritual

12 advisors of their choice – Plaintiff fails to allege how this regulation’s object is to infringe on

13 religious practices because of their religious motivation. To the contrary, the Legislature

14 specifically identified a legitimate, secular intention for the CCFA and its corresponding

15 regulations, namely, that the CCFA would “protect the legal and human rights of a person

16 receiving services from a community care facility.” Cal. Health & Saf. Code, § 1501, subd.

17 (b)(3). The object of the challenged regulation is to protect the Free Exercise rights of clients in

18 community care facilities, which the Ninth Circuit has specifically held is a legitimate “secular

19 legislative purpose.” See Williams v. California, 764 F.3d 1002, 1021 (9th Cir. 2014);

20 Mayweathers v. Newland, 314 F.3d 1062, 1068 (9th Cir. 2002) (“protect[ing] the exercise of

21 religion” is a legitimate “secular legislative purpose”); Lukumi, 508 U.S. at 533 (“A law lacks

22 facial neutrality if it refers to a religious practice without a secular meaning discernable from the

23 language or context.”). Because this regulation has a legitimate, secular purpose, Plaintiff cannot

24 show that it infringes on any religious practices because of their religious motivation.

25 Moreover, courts have previously held that provisions identical to the challenged regulation

26 do not interfere with Free Exercise rights. Plaintiff makes the bare assertion that “the regulation

27 poses an existential threat to religious schools such as [RVCA]” because it “only allows spiritual

28 advisors who by profession and conduct adhere to the faith statement” and “only provides
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1 Christian Bible studies and Christian church services.” FAC, p. 14, ¶ 63. However, this Court

2 has previously established that this regulation does not require RVCA to provide non-Christian

3 spiritual services or advisors. In a case involving an identical provision, a religious pre-school

4 contended that the “religious services provision” of the Child Care Facilities Act - California

5 Health and Safety Code, section 101223, subdivision (a)(5)) - which provides that each child

6 shall “be free to attend religious services or activities of his/her choice and to have visits from the

7 spiritual advisor of his/her choice,” would significantly impede the evangelistic and outreach

8 goals of the preschool. North Valley Baptist Church v. McMahon, 696 F.Supp. 518, 520, 533

9 (E.D. Cal. 1988). In interpreting the provision, the court found that the referenced “choice” of

10 religious services and spiritual advisor is exercised by the parent on behalf of the “young child,

11 who is deemed without capacity to exercise this choice in accordance with the preschool’s

12 orientation.” Id. at 520. As such, the court found that the provision did not prevent the preschool

13 from requiring students from attending proffered religious services or require the preschool to

14 permit visits from outside religious advisors; thus, it did not conflict with the plaintiffs’ religious

15 beliefs. Id. at 533.

16 As North Valley Baptist Church makes clear, the regulation challenged in the present case

17 also does not impede the Free Exercise rights of parents like Plaintiff. Parents are free to exercise

18 their choice to send their children to RVCA, and are not required to do so. Additionally, RVCA

19 remains “free to teach, or not teach, on any subject and in any manner it seems fit.” Id. at 521.

20 RVCA “may require the parent, as a condition to admittance of the child, to exercise this choice

21 in accordance with” the school’s orientation, simply by “fully disclosing its religious orientation

22 and mandatory curriculum to all parents prior to enrollment” and may “require all children to

23 attend the proffered religious services, and need not permit visits from outside religious advisors.”

24 North Valley Baptist Church v. McMahon, 696 F.Supp. 518 at 533. Indeed, the FAC

25 characterizes RVCA as a private Christian boarding school, which is not part of the public school

26 system and is not compelled to accept the admission of any child who does not ascribe to their

27 religious beliefs or views on marriage or sexuality. See The Honorable Steven Baldwin, 81

28 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen 189, 1998 WL 288954 (1998). Therefore, Plaintiff cannot establish that this
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1 regulation violates his Free Exercise rights by compelling RVCA to provide non-Christian

2 spiritual services or advisors.

3 Even if this regulation was interpreted differently and hypothetically required RVCA to

4 provide access to non-Christian services or to a non-Christian spiritual advisor, the Ninth Circuit

5 previously held this type of requirement does not establish a Free Exercise Clause violation. In

6 Williams v. California, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that provisions of

7 the California Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act, requiring “the licensee…to

8 ensure that clients are given the opportunity to attend and participate in community activities

9 including…worship services and activities of the client’s choice, were neutral because their

10 “object was not to infringe upon or restrict practices because of their religious motivation” but to

11 “approximate the lives of nondisabled persons” and to “accommodate the rights of

12 developmentally persons to free exercise of religion.” Williams, 764 F.3d at 1021; see also Cal.

13 Code of Regs, tit. 22, § 85079. Notwithstanding the court’s interpretation that the regulation

14 required staff to provide direct staff support to clients at Jehovah’s Witness services in

15 contradiction to the employees’ Catholic faith (which they alleged restricted them from attending

16 any other religious services), the court held that there was no demonstration of a violation of the

17 Free Exercise Clause. Id. at 1021.

18 In the present case, Plaintiff’s challenge is even weaker than in Williams. The challenged

19 regulation would not require RVCA’s staff to directly support their clients and accompany them

20 to other religious services, but merely to provide access to it, which Williams makes clear does

21 not establish a Free Exercise violation. Moreover, because RVCA, notwithstanding its religious

22 beliefs, has chosen to provide behavioral based services to youth, requiring licensure under the

23 CCFA, it cannot now object to this regulation under the CCFA on the basis of the Free Exercise

24 Clause. The court in Williams stated: “In sum, ‘[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into

25 commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter

26 of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on

27 others in that activity.’” Williams, 764 F.3d at 1022.

28 In sum, Plaintiff’s assertion that the CCFA violates religious beliefs is unsupported by any
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1 factual allegations, and therefore fails to support his Free Exercise Clause claim. See Ashcroft v.

2 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (“To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient

3 factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”) (internal

4 quotations and citation omitted); Hartmann v. California Dep't of Corr. & Rehab., 707 F.3d 1114,

5 1124 (9th Cir. 2013) (plaintiffs failed to support religious discrimination claim “with facts

6 plausibly showing” that prison administration acted with discriminatory intent in denying requests

7 for a Wiccan chaplain). “A reviewing court must be ‘reluctant to attribute unconstitutional

8 motives’ to government actors in the face of a plausible secular purpose.” Kreisner v. City of San

9 Diego, 1 F.3d 775, 782 (9th Cir. 1993). The complaint is devoid of factual allegations that would

10 support an inference that the provisions or enforcement of the CCFA are for reasons other than

11 identified in the statute.

12 2. The CCFA Does Not Selectively Burden Religion, and is Therefore


Generally Applicable
13

14 In the same way that the CCFA is facially and operatively neutral, it is “generally

15 applicable” as well, as none of the relevant provisions of law nor the CDSS’ enforcement of the

16 CCFA against RVCA, “impose burdens only on conduct motivated by religious belief” in a

17 “selective manner.” Lukumi, 508 U.S. at 543. Plaintiff’s FAC fails to allege that the provisions

18 of the CCFA requiring licensure of community care facilities selectively regulates or burdens

19 conduct motivated by religious belief. Indeed, the CCFA is generally applicable, both on its face

20 and in its enforcement, to all community care facilities subject to licensure under the CCFA.

21 The provisions challenged by Plaintiff apply to all clients and all community care facilities

22 subject to the CCFA, irrespective of their religion (or lack thereof). Lukumi, 508 U.S. at 543

23 (holding that a law is not generally applicable when it “impose[s] burdens” “in a selective

24 manner”). Specifically, the CCFA prohibits the operation in this state of all “unlicensed

25 community care facilities” and requires any facility that meets this definition is required to be

26 licensed and are subject to the provisions of the CCFA. See Cal. Health and Saf. Code, §§ 1503.5

27 (defining unlicensed community care center), 1508. As evident from the face of these provisions,

28 the CCFA does not apply solely to Christian community care facilities like RVCA, and Plaintiff’s
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1 FAC makes no such allegation. Because Plaintiff fails to allege that the CCFA is selectively

2 applied only to conduct motivated by religious belief, his Free Exercise Clause claim lacks merit.

3 B. The CCFA Furthers Legitimate Governmental Purposes


4 Plaintiff also fails to allege that there is no rational basis (or even compelling interest) for

5 the CCFA. A neutral and generally applicable rule or government action must be upheld against

6 a religious challenge if it is “rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose.” Stormans,

7 794 F.3d at 1084. In addition to the CCFA being neutral and generally applicable, the Legislature

8 expressly identified legitimate (if not compelling), public health and safety governmental

9 purposes for the CCFA - namely, to develop policies and programs to:

10 “(1) insure a level of care and services in the community which is equal to or better
than that provided by the state hospitals;
11 (2) assure that all people who require them are provided with the appropriate range
of social rehabilitative, rehabilitative and treatment services, including residential
12 and nonresidential programs tailored to their needs;
(3) protect the legal and human rights of a person in or receiving services from a
13 community care facility;
(4) insure continuity of care between the medical-health elements and the supportive
14 care-rehabilitation elements of California's health systems;
(5) insure that facilities providing community care are adequate, safe and
15 sanitary…”
16 Cal. Health & Safe. Code, § 1501, subd. (b).

17 By protecting the health, safety, and human rights of clients in community care facilities

18 and ensuring adequate training for staff, the provisions of the CCFA further these legitimate,

19 governmental purposes. California Health and Safety Code section 1502.2, subdivisions (c)(4)

20 and (d)(1)(P), seeks to prevent harm to minors by prohibiting SOCE and ensuring that staff are

21 trained on LGBT issues. The Ninth Circuit has determined that similar prohibitions withstand the

22 rational basis test, and has previously found that the legislature acted rationally when it decided to

23 protect the well-being of minors by prohibiting mental health providers using SOCE on persons

24 under 18. Pickup v. Brown, 740 F.3d. 1208, 1232 (2013); see also Welch v. Brown, 834 F.3d at

25 1044. In light of authority holding that such interests are rationally based, Plaintiff’s challenge to

26 these provisions lack merit.

27 As well, governmental interests similar to those underpinning California Code of

28 Regulations, Title 22, section 80027 – namely, to protect the free exercise rights of clients of
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1 community care facilities – have also been held to withstand the rational basis test. In Williams v.

2 California, the Ninth Circuit stated that the regulations under the California Lanterman

3 Developmental Disabilities Services Act, requiring staff of residential community care facilities

4 to accompany clients to religious services, were rationally related to the legitimate government

5 purposes “enabling developmentally disabled persons to approximate the daily lives of

6 nondisabled purposes.” Williams, 764 F.3d at 1021. Similarly, in North Valley Baptist Church v.

7 McMahon, the court sustained a Free Exercise Clause challenge by a religious pre-school to the

8 California Child Care Facilities Act, stating that it found the Act’s purpose “protect[ing] the

9 health and safety of children receiving care outside of the home” to be a “compelling state interest

10 of the highest order.” North Valley Baptist Church v. McMahon, 696 F.Supp. at 526. Because

11 rational basis supports the CCFA, Plaintiff’s allegations that the CCFA violates his Free Exercise

12 rights fails as a matter of law.

13 III. THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FAILS TO STATE A COGNIZABLE CLAIM FOR AN
IMPERMISSIBLE INFRINGEMENT OF PARENTAL RIGHTS UNDER THE FIRST AND
14 FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS
15 Plaintiff’s allegations that subjecting RVCA to the CCFA violates their “rights to direct the

16 education and inculcation of moral standards, religious beliefs, and elements of good citizenship,”

17 in violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights also fail as a matter of law. FAC, ¶¶

18 97-99. Importantly, Plaintiff’s FAC fails to state facts showing how enforcement of the CCFA

19 would infringe his right to direct the upbringing, religion, or education of his children. Unlike in

20 Meyers v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923) or Pierce v. Society Sisters, 267 U.S. 510 (1925), the

21 CCFA does not compel parents like Plaintiff or his children to engage in any particular behavior.

22 As discussed above, the CCFA does not require parents to enroll their children in community care

23 facilities that may be subject to the CCFA, such as RVCA. Nothing in the CCFA prevents or

24 requires Plaintiff from enrolling his children at any religious boarding school of his choosing.

25 Thus, Plaintiff fails to show how the CCFA infringes his Parental Rights.

26 Additionally, because the CCFA is supported by compelling governmental interests to

27 protect the health and safety of children residing in community care facilities, as discussed above,

28 Plaintiff’s Parental Rights claim fails as a matter of law. The Supreme Court has emphasized, “a
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1 state is not without constitutional control over parental discretion in dealing with children when

2 their physical or mental health is jeopardized.” Parham v. J. R., 442 U.S. 584, 603 (1979). As

3 explained in Prince v. Massachusetts, “neither the rights of religion nor rights of parenthood are

4 beyond limitation[;] both can be interfered with when necessary to protect a child.” Prince v.

5 Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944). A parent’s liberty interest in directing their child’s

6 education is subject to reasonable government regulation. Hooks v. Clark County, 228 F.3d 1036,

7 1041 (9th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 532 U.S. 971 (2001). And, in Pickup v. Brown, the Ninth

8 Circuit recently re-affirmed that parents’ right to make decisions regarding the care, custody, and

9 control of their children, “is not without limitations,” citing specifically to “the health arena,

10 [where] states may require the compulsory vaccination of children.” Id. at 1235. Given the

11 reasonable health and safety interests underpinning the CCFA, it is clear that Plaintiff’s Parental

12 Rights claim under the First and Fourteenth Amendments lacks merit.

13 CONCLUSION
14 For the foregoing reasons, this Court should dismiss all claims against Defendants without

15 leave to amend.

16
Dated: April 25, 2019 Respectfully Submitted,
17
XAVIER BECERRA
18 Attorney General of California
ISMAEL A. CASTRO
19 Supervising Deputy Attorney General
JUDY WONG
20 Deputy Attorney General
21 /s/ Laurie Adamson
22 LAURIE ADAMSON
Deputy Attorney General
23 Attorneys for Xavier Becerra, Attorney
General of California, and Pat Leary,
24 Acting Director of California Department
of Social Services
25 SA2019101170
13669447.docx
26

27

28
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DECLARATION OF SERVICE BY U.S. MAIL

Case Name: Teen Rescue v. Becerra et al.


Case No.: 2:19-cv-00457-JAM-EFB

I declare:

I am employed in the Office of the Attorney General, which is the office of a member of the
California State Bar, at which member's direction this service is made. I am 18 years of age or
older and not a party to this matter. I am familiar with the business practice at the Office of the
Attorney General for collection and processing of correspondence for mailing with the United
States Postal Service. In accordance with that practice, correspondence placed in the internal
mail collection system at the Office of the Attorney General is deposited with the United States
Postal Service with postage thereon fully prepaid that same day in the ordinary course of
business.

On April 23, 2019, I served the attached MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND


AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS XAVIER BECERRA AND PAT
LEARY’S MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF CARLTON WILLIAMS’ FIRST
AMENDED COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL
PROCEDURE 12(B)(1) AND (6) by placing a true copy thereof enclosed in a sealed envelope
in the internal mail collection system at the Office of the Attorney General at 1300 I Street, Suite
125, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550, addressed as follows:

Kevin Trent Snider


Pacific Justice Institute
9851 Horn Road, Suite 115
Sacramento, CA 95827

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California the foregoing is true
and correct and that this declaration was executed on April 23, 2019, at Sacramento, California.

Sondra R. Bushey /S/ Sondra R. Bushey


Declarant Signature
SA2019101170
13668847.docx