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RAY v. TSUNODA

November 14, 2005.

JUDY FAYE COGGINS RAY, Plaintiff,
v.
MATTHEW TSUNODA, SAN DIEGO POLICE OFFICER DAVIS, JUAN ESTRADA, the CITY OF CHULA VISTA, and DOES 1-30, inclusive, Defendants.



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 MATTER JURISDICTION
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 Defendants' motion.

I.

  PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

  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.

  II.

  FACTUAL BACKGROUND

  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 ...


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