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Michael Tater-Alexander, et al v. County of Fresno

February 25, 2011

MICHAEL TATER-ALEXANDER, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COUNTY OF FRESNO, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION

On February 18, 2011, Plaintiffs Michael Tater-Alexander and Kryston White, appearing pro se and proceeding in forma pauperis, filed the instant complaint asserting claims under the United States Constitution, federal statutes and state law arising from the County of Fresno's refusal to provide administrative hearings for two parking tickets. Plaintiffs also identified "The People of the County of Fresno" and "The People of the State of California" as co-plaintiffs in this action.

DISCUSSION

A. Screening Standard

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court must conduct an initial review of the complaint for sufficiency to state a claim. The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the court determines that the action is legally "frivolous or malicious," fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). If the court determines that the complaint fails to state a claim, leave to amend may be granted to the extent that the deficiencies of the complaint can be cured by amendment.

B. Plaintiffs' Allegations

Plaintiffs bring this suit against the County of Fresno ("County") related to parking citations. Plaintiff White alleges that she received a parking citation (No. 12127219) on February 10, 2010, at 10:08:45 a.m. Similarly, Plaintiff Tater-Alexander alleges that he received a parking citation (No. 13126993) on February 17, 2010, at 1:59:30 p.m. Plaintiff Tater-Alexander additionally contends that he is disabled and has physical impairments that significantly limit his major life activities.

Plaintiffs both allege that they mailed initial requests to dismiss their parking citations pursuant to California Vehicle Code § 40215. These requests were denied. Plaintiffs subsequently requested administrative hearings, but the requests were denied by the County as untimely. Plaintiffs assert that the County intentionally miscalculates the time to request a hearing. Plaintiffs further assert that the County's denials deprived them of money and property and violated their due process rights.

Plaintiffs allege nine causes of action, including violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, violation of their civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, violations of the Unruh Act and Bane Act, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. Plaintiffs seek compensatory, treble, and punitive damages, civil penalties and injunctive relief.

Plaintiff Tater-Alexander has filed at least one previous action in this Court identifying both of the parking citations at issue in this case. The Court takes judicial notice of its docket and filed documents in Tater-Alexander v. County of Fresno, 1:10cv01050 AWI SMS.*fn1 In that case, Plaintiff Tater-Alexander styled the operative complaint as a qui tam action arising from the County's refusal to provide an administrative hearing to review a parking ticket. As with this action, Plaintiff alleged that the County miscalculated his time to request a hearing and violated his due process rights by denying him an administrative hearing pursuant to California Vehicle Code § 40215. Finding that Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's federal claims without leave to amend and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims on February 15, 2011.

Likely attempting to avoid the same fate, Plaintiffs filed the instant action three days later challenging the County's refusal to provide an administrative hearing to review two parking tickets. For the reasons explained below, the Court recommends dismissal with prejudice.

C. Analysis

The doctrine of res judicata governs "[t]he preclusive effects of former litigation."Hiser v.

Franklin, 94 F.3d 1287, 1290 (9th Cir.1996) (citingMigra v. Warren City School Dist. Bd. Of Educ., 465 U.S. 75, 77 n. 1, 104 S.Ct. 892, 79 L.Ed.2d 56 (1984). "Res judicata is applicable whenever there is (1) an identity of claims, (2) a final judgment on the merits, and (3) privity between parties." Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 322 F.3d 1064, ...


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