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Berry v. Village Gardens Owners Association

April 22, 2009

JUDITH LYNNE BERRY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE GARDENS OWNERS ASSOCIATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION

Plaintiff Judith Lynne Berry ("Plaintiff"), appearing pro se and proceeding in forma pauperis, filed the instant civil rights complaint on April 8, 2009. She names the Village Gardens Owners Association, Leland Erickson, I & I Property Management, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department and the Fresno Police Department as Defendants and alleges causes of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law. For the reasons stated below, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed without leave to amend.

DISCUSSION

A. Screening Standard

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court must conduct an initial review of the complaint for sufficiency to state a claim. The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the court determines that the action is legally "frivolous or malicious," fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). If the court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, leave to amend may be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment.

In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the Court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex Hospital, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe the pro se pleadings liberally in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000), and resolve all doubts in the Plaintiff's favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969).

B. Allegations

Plaintiff's allegations arise out of her ownership of a home in the Village Gardens development in Fresno, California. Plaintiff explains that she purchased the home in September 2002 and soon after, a dispute arose regarding ownership of an adjacent parcel. She alleges that in June 2004 and in 2005, Defendants conspired, without probable cause, to have her involuntarily confined to a mental health hospital. She was taken to the facility and involuntarily medicated, but released after a finding of no probable cause. Plaintiff further alleges that in 2005, she was attacked in her home and her nose was broken.

On April 11, 2006, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants conspired to have her arrested. On that day, Defendant Erickson signed a "citizen's arrest warrant" and she was arrested and transported to jail. The charges were eventually dismissed in October 2007.

Based on these allegations, Plaintiff alleges causes of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for (1) deprivation of freedom, and (2) malicious prosecution. She also alleges state law causes of action for false arrest, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel, slander, fraud and harassment.

Plaintiff requests compensatory and punitive damages.

C. Analysis

The basis of this Court's jurisdiction is 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides: Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

Therefore, to state a claim under section 1983, Plaintiff must show that Defendants (1) acted under color of state law, and (2) committed conduct which deprived Plaintiff of a federal right. ...


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