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HOTT v. CITY OF SAN JOSE

April 13, 2000

WANDA HOTT, AN INDIVIDUAL D/B/A RAY'S TOWING, PLAINTIFF,
V.
CITY OF SAN JOSE AND BILL LANSDOWNE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Fogel, United States District Judge.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND
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.

1. Evidence 43(4)

Court would take judicial notice of documents filed in state court actions that were relevant to matter at hand. Fed. Rules Evid.Rule 201, 28 U.S.C.A.

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.

I. BACKGROUND

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 July ...


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