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Lowry v. Metropolitan Transit System Board

June 8, 2010

DARYL LOWRY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
METROPOLITAN TRANSIT SYSTEM BOARD, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz United States District Judge

ORDER RE MOTIONS TO DISMISS

Defendants Metropolitan Transit System (erroneously sued as Metropolitan Transit System Board) ("MTS") and Heritage Security Services (erroneously sued as Heritage Security) ("Heritage") have separately moved to dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint [Docs. 27, 28]. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part MTS's motion [Doc. 27] and DENIES Heritage's motion [Doc. 28].

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges violations of his constitutional rights and several state-law causes of action based on an alleged altercation he had with security officers at the Old Town Trolly Station in San Diego. The Court more thoroughly discussed the facts of this case in an order dated March 8, 2010 [Doc. 23]. That order dismissed several of Plaintiff's claims with leave to amend. Plaintiff has filed a First Amended Complaint. The Court resolves the issues raised in the parties' motions as set forth below.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the plaintiff is required only to set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," and "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). When reviewing a motion to dismiss, the allegations of material fact in plaintiff's complaint are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Parks Sch. of Bus., Inc. v. Symington, 51 F.3d 1480, 1484 (9th Cir. 1995). But only factual allegations must be accepted as true-not legal conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. Although detailed factual allegations are not required, the factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Furthermore, "only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

III. DISCUSSION

1. Constitutional Claims

As discussed in the Court's March 8, 2010 order, Plaintiff appears to allege a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn1 But Defendants MTS and Heritage can only be liable under § 1983 if the violation was the result of either a policy or a failure to train their employees. See Bd. of County Comm'rs v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997); City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989).

Plaintiff does make allegations related to policies and training, and when construed liberally, he alleges a failure to train. For example, he claims that MTS is "responsible for hiring and contracting with Heritage Security so they have to take most of the blame on training of your security officers which they've violated civil and constitutional rights,... there procedures... says nothing as far as the training of it's security goes they say nothing on how to handle certain situation with disable persons or regular people...." It appears Plaintiff alleges that MTS's and Heritage's failure to train their security officers "on how to handle certain situation with disable persons or regular people" led to his injuries. Although his allegation is vague, Defendants can seek clarity through interrogatories or other discovery mechanisms.

The Court therefore DENIES MTS's and Heritage's motions to dismiss the constitutional claims against them.

Plaintiff also alleges a "de facto government civil conspiracy to violate civil rights." This claim is unintelligible, devoid of facts, and the Court dismisses it.

The ยง 1983 claims against MTS, Heritage, and Torrence Joseph, who has not yet been served, are still viable. The Court exercises supplemental jurisdiction over the related state-law ...


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