The opinion of the court was delivered by: DANA SABRAW, District Judge
ORDER (1) GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON
PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AND SECOND CAUSES OF ACTION AND (2) DISMISSING
PLAINTIFF'S THIRD AND FOURTH CAUSES OF ACTION FOR LACK OF SUBJECT
This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion for
summary judgment or, in the alternative, summary adjudication.
Plaintiff has filed an opposition to the motion, and Defendants
have filed a reply. The Court found this motion suitable for
decision without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule
7.1(d)(1). For the reasons set out below, the Court grants
Plaintiff filed her original complaint in this case on
September 18, 2003, and a First Amended Complaint on November 7,
2003. Defendants City of Chula Vista, Matthew Tsunoda, Juan
Estrada and William Davidson filed their Answer to the
First Amended Complaint on February 23, 2004. Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated her Fourth Amendment
rights to be free from unreasonable search and excessive force.
She also alleges Defendants violated her Fifth Amendment right to
due process and her right against self-incrimination. In addition
to these federal claims, Plaintiff alleges state law claims for
battery and false imprisonment. Plaintiff seeks general and
punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs.
Plaintiff is the President of a non-profit organization, Save
The Orphaned Pets ("STOP"). STOP was established as a pet rescue
and adoption agency for discarded or orphaned pets. As a result
of her participation in STOP, Plaintiff kept numerous animals in
her Chula Vista home.
Plaintiff's neighbors filed repeated complaints about the
animals on Plaintiff's property. In response to those complaints,
Defendant Juan Estrada, an Animal Control Officer employed by the
City of Chula Vista, reported to Plaintiff's home on several
occasions. On one of those occasions, Defendant Estrada cited
Plaintiff for having unlicensed dogs on her property. On a
subsequent occasion, Defendant Estrada cited Plaintiff for having
too many cats on her property.
On September 4, 2002, Defendant Matthew Tsunoda, an Animal
Control Officer employed by the City of Chula Vista, was
dispatched to Plaintiff's home in response to another complaint
about the animals on Plaintiff's property. Defendant Tsunoda
parked down the street from Plaintiff's house. Upon exiting his
vehicle, he noticed the smell of feces and urine coming from
Plaintiff's house. He also noticed that Plaintiff had a
pedestrian door in her garage door.
Plaintiff approached Defendant Tsunoda on the street. Tsunoda
informed her that, with her permission, he was there to check on
the status of cats on her property in response to a complaint
from a neighbor. Plaintiff declined to give her consent, so
Tsunoda left the premises. Thereafter, Tsunoda informed his
lieutenant of this encounter with Plaintiff, and then began the
process of obtaining a search warrant for Plaintiff's property.
The following day, Bridget Neagles, one of Plaintiff's
neighbors, filed another complaint with the City of Chula Vista
about trash, junk and debris on Plaintiff's property, as well as
the possibility of a converted garage. In response to that
complaint, Charles Withers, a Code Enforcement Officer employed by the City of Chula Vista, reported to Plaintiff's
home. Plaintiff allowed Mr. Withers to inspect her garage,
whereupon he found approximately sixty cats being housed in cages
piled on top of each other. Mr. Withers told Plaintiff she had an
illegal number of cats on her property, and that he would be
contacting the City's Animal Control Department.
The following day, Mr. Withers contacted Defendant Tsunoda
about his visit to Plaintiff's property. Mr. Withers informed
Defendant Tsunoda about the number of cats Plaintiff was housing
and the unsanitary condition of the cats.
On October 11, 2002, Ms. Neagles filed another complaint with
the City of Chula Vista concerning Plaintiff's property and the
animals being housed there.
On October 21, 2002, Defendant Tsunoda submitted a request for
a search warrant for Plaintiff's property. San Diego Superior
Court Judge Margie G. Woods ...