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Kidd v. Los Angeles Police Dep't

May 24, 2010

ANGELLEE KIDD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jay C. Gandhi United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER SUA SPONTE DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT, IF ANY, WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

I. PROCEEDINGS

On February 1, 2010, plaintiff Angellee Kidd ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights complaint ("Complaint") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. at 1.) Plaintiff also filed a request to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which the Court granted on February 1, 2010. The only defendant named in the Complaint, the Los Angeles Police Department ("LAPD"), filed an answer on March 10, 2010. For the reasons stated below, the Complaint is dismissed with leave to file an amended complaint, if any, within thirty (30) days, that is, on or before June 24, 2010. The LAPD shall file an answer to the amended complaint, if any, within thirty (30) days thereafter.

II. ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT

On May 2, 2008, at around 6 p.m., the LAPD executed a search warrant at a Los Angeles area apartment "being rented by Venita Huey" (the "Apartment"). (Compl. at 1.) The LAPD obtained the "search warrant ... in response to drug related activity that had previously taken place at the" Apartment. (Id.) Upon entering the Apartment, the LAPD found Plaintiff asleep in a "rear bedroom," and "[s]everal occupants were removed from the [Apartment.]" (Id.)

The LAPD's officers "asked [Plaintiff] to go with them outside ... for further questioning and [Plaintiff] complied." (Compl. at 1.) Plaintiff advised the officers her name and current address, and also informed them "that she had a criminal history ...[,] [although] she was not ... on ... probation or parole at [the] time." (Id. at 1-2.) "One of [t]he officers ... requested [Plaintiff's] car keys[,]" and after Plaintiff "complied with the ... request[,]" "they collectively began to search [Plaintiff's] vehicle for evidence." (Id. at 2.) The officers found money in the glove compartment of Plaintiff's car, "which was confiscated and held by the [LAPD] as evidence in [its] investigation." (Id.) Plaintiff told the officers that the confiscated money consisted of her "Social Security benefits and SSI[,]" which she had received from her "appointed payee representative" the day before. (Id.) Nevertheless, the officers placed Plaintiff under arrest for the violation of California Health and Safety Code § 11352 ("Transportation, sale, giving away, etc., of designated controlled substances"). (Id.)

Plaintiff was transported to the LAPD's "77th Division Detention Facility w[h]ere she was held on $30,000 bail." (Compl. at 2.) Plaintiff made bail the next day and was instructed to appear in court on May 29, 2008. (Id.) When she did, the "court clerk" informed Plaintiff "that the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office had rejected filing on the case." (Id.) Plaintiff then "went to the [LAPD's] Southwest Division station to ... [ask] about the return of her personal property[,]" but was told "that she would not be able to obtain her personal property without a court order." (Id. at 2-3.)

Based upon these factual allegations, Plaintiff contends that the LAPD "had no legal reason or just cause to arrest and detain [Plaintiff,]" and "no legal right to charge [Plaintiff] with a crime." (Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff further contends that the "deprivation of [her] property ... occurred as a direct result of an ... affirmatively established or de fact[o] policy, or custom which the state had the power to control." (Id. at 3.) Notably, Plaintiff does not identify any particular officer of the LAPD who allegedly violated her constitutional rights. (See generally Compl. at 1-3.) Plaintiff seeks $800,000 in monetary damages. (Id. at 3.)

III. LEGAL STANDARDS

Dismissal for failure to state a claim "can be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988, as amended Feb. 27, 1990 and May 11, 1990).

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). While Rule 8 does not require "detailed factual allegations," a complaint must provide "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do[.]" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level[.]" Id. (internal citation omitted).Thus, a complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads [enough] factual content [to] allow[] [a] court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff must allege that:

(1) the conduct she complains of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) that the conduct violated a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Humphries v. County of Los Angeles, 554 F.3d 1170, 1184 (9th Cir. 2009, as amended Jan. 15, 2009 and Jan. 30, 2009), cert. ...


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