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McKie v. City of Rocklin

November 9, 2010

CODY LEE MCKIE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF ROCKLIN; ROCKLIN POLICE DEPARTMENT; CHIEF MARK SIEMANS, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS THE CHIEF OF THE ROCKLIN POLICE DEPARTMENT; OFFICER ANTHONY HANDLEY, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS A ROCKLIN POLICE OFFICER; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 50, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS‟ MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

This matter comes before the Court on Defendants‟ City of Rocklin ("the City") (also sued herein as Rocklin Police Department), Chief Mark Siemens ("Siemens") and Cpl. Anthony Handley ("Handley") (collectively "Defendants") Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 10). Defendants seek judgment on the Complaint (Doc. 1) filed by Plaintiff Cody Lee McKie ("Plaintiff").

Plaintiff partially opposes the motion.*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, Defendants‟ motion is GRANTED.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that he was shot in the foot by Handley, while at an open loading bay on the premises of the Rocklin Kmart Store. The Complaint alleges that the shooting occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. on June 25, 2009, when the store was closed. Plaintiff was standing in a bent over position when Handley drew his service weapon and shot Plaintiff. Handley was backed up by a second officer who drew her taser. Plaintiff was taken to the hospital by paramedics. Plaintiff now brings two claims for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for excessive force in violation of the fourth amendment, a claim for negligence and a claim for violation of California Civil Code § 52.1.

In addition to the limited factual allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint, judicially noticeable documents show that Handley was responding to a silent alarm from the store, when he discovered Plaintiff. Plaintiff was then arrested and charged with burglary and receiving stolen property. Plaintiff brought a motion, in State Court, to suppress the evidence obtained on the basis that Handley used excessive force in violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights. The motion to suppress was argued and denied, and Plaintiff ultimately plead guilty to the criminal charges.

After Plaintiff filed the Complaint, Defendants filed an Answer. Additionally, the parties filed a stipulation to remove from the Complaint all references to punitive damages. Defendants now move the Court for judgment on the pleadings on all four claims for relief. Plaintiff only opposes granting judgment on the pleadings for the second and third claims for relief.

II. OPINION

A. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) authorizes motions for judgment on the pleadings. "After pleadings are closed -- but early enough not to delay trial -- a party may move for judgment on the pleadings." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). Judgment on the pleadings is properly granted when there is no issue of material fact in dispute, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fleming v. Pickard, et al., 581 F.3d 922, 925 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing Heliotrope Gen. Inc. v. Ford Motor Company, 189 F.3d 971, 979 (9th Cir. 1999). A motion for judgment on the pleadings is equivalent to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and the standard of review is the same. Hal Roach Studios v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir. 1990).

In deciding a motion for judgment on the pleadings the court must accept all the allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. However, conclusory allegations and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion for judgment on the pleadings. In re Syntex Corp. Sec. Litig., 95 F.3d 922, 926 (9th Cir. 1996).

It must appear beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Sun Savings and Loan Ass'n v. Dierdorff, 825 F.2d 187, 191 (9th Cir. 1987).

In addition to considering the allegations of the complaint, like a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the court may also take into account materials to which it can take judicial notice. A Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings may consequently be granted if, after assessing both the complaint, plus matters for which judicial notice is proper, it appears beyond doubt that the non-moving party cannot prove any facts that would support his claim for relief.

Morgan v. County of Yolo, 436 F.Supp.2d 1152, 1155 (E.D. Cal. 2006) (internal citations omitted).

Defendants' request the Court take judicial notice of three documents: the transcript of Plaintiff's preliminary examination in Placer County Superior Court, the October 9, 2009 Placer County Superior Court ruling on the motion to suppress and the judgment order from the case. (Doc. 12). Defendants' request for ...


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