The opinion of the court was delivered by: Fogel, United States District Judge.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO
DISMISS WITHOUT LEAVE
Towing company brought action seeking to prevent city from enforcing
regulations relating to towing industry, under which city sought to
revoke towing license. On city's motion to dismiss, the District
Court, Fogel, J., held that ordinance prohibiting towing companies from
engaging in fraud was not preempted by federal law. Motion granted.
Court would take judicial notice of documents filed in state court
actions that were relevant to matter at hand. Fed. Rules Evid.Rule 201,
2. Automobiles 62 Municipal Corporations 53 States 18.61
Federal law preempts state and local regulation of towing-industry
rates, routes, and service, but does not preempt local regulations that
concern safety when such regulations are authorized by state statute.
U.S.C.A. Const. Art. 6, cl. 2; 49 U.S.C.A. § 14501(c)(2)(A).
3. Automobiles 62 Municipal Corporations 53
Municipal ordinance prohibiting towing companies from intentionally
engaging in fraudulent business practices was not preempted by federal
law; ordinance related to safety concerns, not economic interests, and
was authorized by state law. U.S.C.A. Const. Art. 6, cl. 2; 49 U.S.C.A.
§ 14501(c)(2)(A); West's Ann.Cal.Vehicle Code § 21100.
This case and the related case of SYLDYLD, Inc. v. City of San Jose,
No. C 99 20928 JF EAI (N.D. Cal. filed Sept. 13, 1999), present a
challenge to Defendant City of San Jose's regulation of the towing
industry. Plaintiff Wanda Hott previously requested a temporary
restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent the enforcement
of the City's regulations; the Court denied those requests. Defendants*fn1
now move for dismissal of this case, arguing that Plaintiff has failed to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted and that she cannot amend
her. Complaint to state a viable claim. Defendants also request that the
Court take judicial notice of various documents filed in two cases in two
California state courts. Plaintiff opposes the motion and takes no
position on the request for judicial notice. The Court has read the moving
and responding papers; the matter was submitted without oral argument on
April 10, 2000. For the reasons set forth below, both the request for
judicial notice and the motion to dismiss will be granted.
Plaintiff owned and operated a for-hire motor-carrier business known as
Ray's Towing in the City of San Jose for more than twenty-five years.
Ray's Towing transports disabled and illegally parked motor vehicles by
means of tow trucks.
Defendant City instituted an administrative action against Ray's Towing
following a police investigation. In May 1999, the Deputy Chief of Police
held an administrative hearing to determine whether Hott's tow-car
license should be revoked. Both Plaintiff and the City submitted
evidence. The Deputy Chief of Police issued a decision on May 26, 1999,
revoking Hott's license, after determining that Ray's Towing
intentionally engaged in unlawful, illegal, dishonest, fraudulent,
deceitful, and unfair business practices in San Jose, in violation of
several provisions of the California Vehicle Code and the San Jose
Municipal Code. For example, the Deputy Chief of Police found clear and
convincing evidence of fraud in that Ray's Towing routinely charged dolly
fees when dollies were not used.
Hott appealed to the City's Appeals Hearing Board. On July 22, 1999,
the Appeals Hearing Board upheld the revocation of Hott's license. San
Jose Appeals Hearing Board Resolution 99-65 (1999). Hott then filed a
Petition for Writ of Administrative Mandamus in the California Superior
Court for the County of Santa Clara, seeking judicial review of the
Appeals Hearing Board's resolution. Hott argued that the City's regulatory
scheme was preempted by federal statute. The Superior Court (Nichols, J.)
held a hearing on the writ on August 20, 1999, in which the parties
argued the preemption issue. That same day, based on oral argument as
well as briefs submitted previously, the Superior Court issued an order
denying the writ. Hott filed the present action on August 23, 1999. The
Court denied Hott's request for a temporary restraining order on August
25, 1999. The Court subsequently denied Hott's motion for a preliminary
injunction on September 16, 1999.
On September 1, 1999, the San Jose Police Permits Unit issued a
temporary tow-car business permit to Leona and Louis Del Prete to operate
Ray's Towing. Hott and the Del Pretes had signed a Letter of Intent on