SHARON T. THOMAS, Plaintiff - Appellant,
THE SALVATION ARMY SOUTHERN TERRITORY; F. BRADFORD BAILEY; THE SALVATION ARMY; BOBBY LANCASTER; DERONDA METZ; BARBARA GREEN; VICTORY CHRISTIAN CENTER, INCORPORATED; CHURCH IN THE CITY MINISTRIES; CATHY DOE; FRIENDSHIP COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, My Sister's House Transitional Living Center; IRIS HUBBARD, Defendants-Appellees.
Argued: September 21, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Western
District of North Carolina, at Charlotte. Robert J. Conrad,
Jr., District Judge. (3:14-cv-00403-RJC-DCK)
Gregory Dolin, UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE SCHOOL OF LAW,
Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellant.
Matthew David Lincoln, MOORE & VAN ALLEN PLLC, Charlotte,
North Carolina, for Appellees.
Catherine Florea, Third Year Law Student, Marie Langlois,
Second Year Law Student, UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE SCHOOL OF
LAW, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellant.
WILKINSON and FLOYD, Circuit Judges, and Irene M. KEELEY,
United States District Judge for the Northern District of
West Virginia, sitting by designation.
as modified by published opinion. Judge Wilkinson wrote the
opinion, in which Judge Floyd and Judge Keeley joined.
WILKINSON, Circuit Judge
Thomas appeals the dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
of her claims against three charitable organizations, which
she says unlawfully refused to admit her to homeless shelters
because of her alleged mental health disability. We affirm
the judgment of dismissal as modified to indicate that it be
was receiving behavioral health services from Monarch Mental
Health Care, a non-profit organization, when she became
homeless on July 10, 2012. Monarch referred her to defendant
Salvation Army. When she arrived at the Salvation Army
shelter on July 12, 2012, Thomas completed some preliminary
paperwork, agreed to follow the shelter's rules, and was
Salvation Army shelter was crowded, and on July 16, a
Salvation Army staff member informed Thomas that she would be
transferred to defendant Church in the City, a shelter run by
the third and final defendant, Victory Christian
Center. During an intake interview
with a Church in the City nurse, Thomas disclosed her mental
health issues. In her complaint, Thomas describes Church in
the City as having strict rules and as being "very clean
and quiet." J.A. 13. Thomas stayed at Church in the City
for almost a month before being evicted, and she claims that
she followed all of the shelter's rules during her stay.
at Church in the City, Thomas visited the Salvation Army
shelter twice. First, on July 19, Thomas completed the
Salvation Army's official intake assessment paperwork. In
this paperwork, Thomas disclosed that she was receiving
behavioral mental health services and authorized the release
of some medical information to the Salvation Army. Second, on
July 31, Thomas went to the Salvation Army to see a doctor to
get medication. Thomas does not specify what medication she
was receiving, but she notes that the doctor referred her to
a behavioral health center. On the same visit, Thomas met
with her Salvation Army case manager. The meeting included a
discussion of Thomas's mental health issues.
problems with the shelters began on August 12, when Church in
the City evicted her. The shelter did not give Thomas a
reason for her ejection. Another woman was evicted at the
same time for missing the shelter's curfew, though Thomas
avers that she never missed curfew. Thomas's complaint
notes that she had been given additional chores the day
before - cleaning three showers instead of two - by a
volunteer who had, a few weeks earlier, told Thomas not to
question the Bible during a Bible study class.
August 12 through August 15, Thomas tried and failed to be
admitted to the Salvation Army shelter a number of times.
Immediately after being ejected from Church in the City,
Thomas went to the Salvation Army shelter. She was told that
she would not be allowed to stay there if she had been
ejected from Church in the City. That same day, Thomas was
hospitalized for chest pains, and a hospital social worker
called the Salvation Army on her behalf. The social worker
was informed that Thomas's Salvation Army case worker had
decided that Thomas would not be admitted to the Salvation
herself called the Salvation Army twice the next day, August
13. On the first phone call, Thomas's case manager told
her that she had been ejected from Church in the City for
violating curfew. This call ended after Thomas accused her
case manager of acting unethically. On the second phone call,
the director of the Salvation Army ...