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Roy Warren v. City of Grass Valley

December 10, 2010

ROY WARREN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF GRASS VALLEY, A PUBLIC ENTITY; WILLIAM BUTLER, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CITY OF GRASS VALLEY; DOES 1 THROUGH 3 IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES; DOES 4 THROUGH 29; AND DOES 30 THROUGH 50 DEFENDANTS.



Order Granting Defendant City of Grass Valley‟s Motion to Dismiss

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant City of Grass Valley‟s ("Defendant‟s") Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7) Plaintiff Roy Warren‟s ("Plaintiff‟s" ) Complaint (Doc. 1), for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff opposes the motion (Doc. 11). This matter was set for a hearing on September 1, 2010, and ordered submitted on the briefs.*fn1

For the reasons set forth below, Defendant‟s motion is granted.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff‟s complaint was originally filed in the Nevada County Superior Court. The complaint was removed to the District Court by Defendant (Doc. 1). Plaintiff‟s complaint alleges two claims for relief against Defendant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"), and additional state law claims for relief for violation of California Civil Code Section 52.1, personal injury, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress, against defendant William Butler ("Butler"), not a party to this motion.

The complaint alleges that beginning in 1969 or 1970, when Plaintiff was approximately eleven years old, and continuing until approximately 2007, Butler repeatedly committed acts of sexual molestation upon Plaintiff. Between 1972 and 1979, Butler was a police officer employed by Defendant. The complaint alleges that Butler acted under color of law, committing the acts of molestation while in uniform and on duty as a police officer for Defendant. The complaint alleges that Defendant was responsible for the supervision, control and training of its employees, including Butler. The complaint further alleges that Butler displayed weapons and used his position of power as a police officer to intimidate and manipulate Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that the repeated acts of molestation as a minor caused him serious mental injuries, including post traumatic stress disorder, depression, mood swings, fear and suicidal ideation. Plaintiff alleges that he also suffered from disassociation as a result of the molestation, and was only able to perceive the injurious nature of Butler‟s actions after beginning therapy in 2008. Plaintiff commenced this lawsuit in 2010. Defendant now moves to dismiss the two Section 1983 claims that are brought against it.

II. OPINION

A. Legal Standard

Motion to Dismiss

A party may move to dismiss an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure section 12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1975), overruled on other grounds by Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972). Assertions that are mere "legal conclusions," however, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009), citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff needs to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Dismissal is appropriate where the plaintiff fails to state a claim supportable by a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep‟t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

Upon granting a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court has discretion to allow leave to amend the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure section 15(a). "Dismissal with prejudice and without leave to amend is not appropriate unless it is clear . . . that the complaint could not be saved by amendment." Eminence Capital, L.L.C. v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003).

Section 1983

To prevail in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil action against Defendant plaintiff must show that (1) acts by the defendants (2) under color of state law (3) deprived him of federal rights, privileges or 5 immunities and (4) caused him damage. Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely 6 provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred. Accordingly, the conduct 7 complained of must have deprived the plaintiff of some right, privilege or immunity protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

Thornton v. City of St. Helens, 425 F.3d 1158, 1163-64 (9th Cir. 2005) (internal citations omitted).

Municipal governments may only be sued under Section 1983 for their unconstitutional or illegal policies. Cities may not be sued for the acts of their employees. Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978) (holding that "a local government may not be sued under §1983 for an injury inflicted solely by its employees or agents. Instead, it is when execution of a government‟s policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official policy, inflicts the injury that the government as an entity is responsible under §1983"). A plaintiff may also establish Monell liability by showing that "[a] local governmental entity‟s failure to train its employees . . . "amounts to deliberate indifference to the ...


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