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Saddas v. City of San Diego

November 23, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jeffrey T. Miller United States District Judge


Before the court are three separate motions: Defendant City of San Diego's ("City") motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for a more definite statement; Plaintiff Abderrahim Saddas' motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction; and Plaintiff's motion for sanctions. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(d)(1), the court finds the matters presented appropriate for resolution without oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is granted; the motion for injunctive relief is denied, and the motion for sanctions is denied. The court also grants Plaintiff 20 days leave to amend from the date of entry of this order.


On September 8, 2009 Plaintiff commenced this federal question action alleging that Defendants City of San Diego, City Council, City Attorney, Mayor, Chief of Police, and Police Officer M. Knutson (collectively "Defendants") violated, among other statutes, his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Plaintiff broadly alleges that all Defendants conspired "to refrain from enforcing the laws against each other and the San Diego Police Department in an endeavor to defraud the United States, the State of California and the people of San Diego of their intangible right to (1) rule of law; (2) the execution and enforcement of all laws, ordinances, and policies of the City; (3) the operation and control of the Police Department; and (4) the honest services of government officers and employees." (Compl. 7). The Complaint then cites extensively from the criminal complaint filed against former City Council Members Ralph Inzunza and Michael Zucchet, (Compl. ¶¶12-15), cites several pages of legal authorities, (Compl. ¶¶20-27), and numerous other allegations not germane to Plaintiff's claims.

Plaintiff's claims against Defendants arise from an incident which occurred on July 20, 2009 at a Chevron gasoline station located on Balboa Avenue in San Diego, California. (Compl. ¶¶101, 183-189). Plaintiff alleges that he engaged in a "heated exchange of words" with employees at the gas station. The employee reported the incident to the San Diego Police Department ("SDPD"). On the same date, the SDPD maintained surveillance of Plaintiff's home. Later that day Plaintiff was stopped while driving on Route 163. Plaintiff alleges that a Channel 8 news team arrived in "a coordinated event for the evil purpose of fanning the flames of anti-immigration, proracism and pro-discrimination, while using the media to conceal police alleged conspiratorial misconduct and promoting media commercial and advertisements and need for aggressive racial profiling of U.S. citizens and foreign exchange students from the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan and Iran." (Compl. ¶91). Plaintiff was removed from his car "so that he might be photographed and videotaped by Channel 8 News. [It] was designed to promote a government-endorsed program of civil rights violations and deliberate indifference." (Compl. ¶92).

Plaintiff alleges that the police made an "unconstitutional traffic stop," (Compl. ¶94), and then unlawfully searched his vehicle. (Compl. ¶97). Shortly after Plaintiff was arrested, the police did a drive-by line-up with a male employee from the gas station. (Compl. ¶101(F)). Apparently, Officer Knutson provided Plaintiff with a Notice to Appear, charging him with violation of Cal. Penal Code. §415(3). (Compl. ¶117). Further, Plaintiff alleges that after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the SDPD engaged in racial profiling and that he was a victim of such profiling because he is a naturalized U.S. citizen of African race from the country of Morocco. (Compl. ¶¶114, 117, 121).

On July 28, 2009 Plaintiff was ticketed for failure to wear a seatbelt. (Compl. ¶123). This was related to the alleged unlawful arrest on Route 163 and a further act of "the war on terror; the conspiracy to discriminate against immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Arabia. . . ." Id.

On August 28, 2009 Plaintiff discovered that the misdemeanor criminal charge and the Notice to Appear citation had been rejected by the City Attorney's office for prosecution. (Compl. ¶41). Plaintiff alleges that he did not engage in "fighting words" as identified in Cal.Penal Code §415(3). No charges are currently pending against Plaintiff. Plaintiff requested that the City Attorney confirm that no charges are pending against him. However, Plaintiff did not receive any response. (Compl. ¶42). On July 30, 2009 Plaintiff filed a tort claim with the City. On August 25, 2009, the City denied Plaintiff's tort claim.

Based upon the above generally described conduct, Plaintiff alleges eight causes of action: (1) municipal liability against all Defendants under Monell v. Dept. of Soc. Serv. Of The City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978); (2) violation of Plaintiff's First Amendment rights, 42 U.S.C. §1983; (3) violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to personal security, 42 U.S.C. §1983; (4) violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to liberty in personal effects, 42 U.S.C. §1983; (5) violation of Plaintiff's Fourteenth amendment right to travel, 42 U.S.C. §1983; (6) violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to pursue his occupation, 42 U.S.C. §1983; (7) conspiracy to intentional infliction of emotional distress, 42 U.S.C. §1983; and (8) preliminary and permanent injunctive relief.


City's Motion to Dismiss

City moves to dismiss the Complaint for failure to comply with Rule 8's requirement to provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The Federal Rules require that allegations "be simple, concise and direct." McHenry v. Renne, 74 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996). Where a plaintiff appears in propria persona in a civil rights case, the court must construe the pleadings liberally and afford the plaintiff any benefit of the doubt. Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dept., 839 F.2d 621 at 623 (9th Cir. 1988). The rule of liberal construction is "particularly important in civil rights cases." Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1261 (9th Cir. 1992). In giving liberal interpretation to a pro se civil rights complaint, however, the court may not "supply essential elements of claims that were not initially pled." Ivey v. Board of Regents of the University of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). "Vague and conclusory allegations of official participation in civil rights violations are not sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss." Id.; see also Jones v. Community Redevelopment Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984) (conclusory allegations unsupported by facts are insufficient to state a claim under section 1983.) "The plaintiff must allege with at least some degree of particularity overt acts which defendants engaged in that support the plaintiff's claim." Jones, 733 F.2d at 649 (internal quotation omitted).

Here, the court concludes that the complaint, consisting of 72 pages of writings with 276 paragraphs of allegations and 41 pages of exhibits, is unnecessary long, replete with redundancy, and contains numerous largely irrelevant allegations. For example, the complaint dedicates several pages to discussing a prior corruption trial involving the San Diego Counsel, (Compl. ¶¶12-15), quotes extensively from the City Charter and California Constitution, (Compl. ¶¶16-27), purports to recite incidents where the City and others engaged in unlawful warrantless arrests, (Compl. ¶32), and sets forth numerous paragraphs discussing racial profiling and terrorism, (Compl. ¶¶108-119, 124-173).

In broad brush, all of Plaintiff's claims arise pursuant to Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. ...

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