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Avila v. City of Visalia

November 1, 2010

ARLENE AVILA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF VISALIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS MEMORANDUM DECISION REGARDING

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Arlene Avila ("Plaintiff") proceeds with an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 42 U.S.C. § 12202. On August 6, 2010 Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint ("FAC").

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the FAC on August 26, 2010. (Doc. 32). Plaintiff filed opposition to the motion to dismiss on October 18, 2010. (Doc. 35).

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On or about May 11, 2007, Plaintiff was operating a vehicle near the intersection of Walnut Avenue and Mooney Boulevard in the City of Visalia in California. (FAC at 2-3). Defendants, employees of the Visalia Police Department, reported to the area to provide public safety services in response to a call to a private location. (FAC at 2). The FAC alleges that, upon arrival, Defendants "or some of them...quickly and erroneously determined that Plaintiff was...operating a motor vehicle...while under the influence of alcohol or a drug." (FAC at 3).

Plaintiff contends that she was not under the influence, rather, she was experiencing symptoms of her Parkinson's Disease, a systemic neurological disorder. (FAC at 3). Defendants ignored Plaintiff's protestations that she was exhibiting symptoms of Parkinson's Disease and was not under the influence. (FAC at 4). Defendants physically restrained Plaintiff and took her to the hospital, against her will and over her objection, in order to obtain physical evidence that Plaintiff was under the influence. (FAC at 5). Plaintiff was detained and charged with driving under the influence. (FAC at 5). Plaintiff was subsequently acquitted of all charges. (FAC at 5). The FAC alleges that Defendants denied Plaintiff's request for a wheelchair. (FAC at 6).

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate where the complaint lacks sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.1990). To sufficiently state a claim to relief and survive a 12(b) (6) motion, the pleading "does not need detailed factual allegations" but the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Mere "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. Rather, there must be "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. In other words, the "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ----, ----, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).

The Ninth Circuit has summarized the governing standard, in light of Twombly and Iqbal, as follows: "In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the nonconclusory factual content, and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir.2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). Apart from factual insufficiency, a complaint is also subject to dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) where it lacks a cognizable legal theory, Balistreri, 901 F.2d at 699, or where the allegations on their face "show that relief is barred" for some legal reason, Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215, 127 S.Ct. 910, 166 L.Ed.2d 798 (2007).

In deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss, the court must accept as true all "well-pleaded factual allegations" in the pleading under attack. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. A court is not, however, "required to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir.2001). "When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, if a district court considers evidence outside the pleadings, it must normally convert the 12(b)(6) motion into a Rule 56 motion for summary judgment, and it must give the nonmoving party an opportunity to respond." United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 907 (9th Cir.2003). "A court may, however, consider certain materials-documents attached to the complaint, documents incorporated by reference in the complaint, or matters of judicial notice-without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment." Id. at 908.

IV. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's 1983 Claim

Plaintiff contends that Defendants conduct violated her right to be free from arrest absent a warrant or probable cause. (FAC at 6). Defendant also contends she was denied equal treatment and "benefits as specified by 42 U.S.C. ยง 12132 and by ...


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