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Kathryn Kelley v. Larry Allen

May 3, 2011

KATHRYN KELLEY,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
LARRY ALLEN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF SIERRA COUNTY, INDIVIDUALLY; SARAH WRIGHT, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER CAPACITY AS VICTIM WITNESS ADVOCATE OF THE COUNTY OF SIERRA;
THE COUNTY OF SIERRA; AND DOES 1-25 INCLUSIVE,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

Defendants Larry Allen ("Allen"), Sarah Wright ("Wright"), and the County of Sierra ("Sierra County") (collectively referred to as "Defendants") each move for dismissal of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6). Plaintiff alleges under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that each Defendant violated her right under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff also alleges under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 that each Defendant engaged in a conspiracy to violate her civil rights. Plaintiff seeks damages based on these claims, and declaratory and injunctive relief. Plaintiff has failed to oppose the motions. For the reasons stated below, each Defendant's motion will be granted.

I. Legal Standard

To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ----, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Moss v. United States Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1951).

In analyzing whether a claim has facial plausibility, "[w]e accept as true all well-pleaded allegations of material fact, and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party." Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010). However, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. "A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). "In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory 'factual content,' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." Moss, 572 F.3d at 969 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

II. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff, a resident of Calpine, California, has sued Allen, the District Attorney of Sierra County; Wright, the Sierra County "Victim Witness Advocate;" and Sierra County, "the employer and supervisor of [Allen and Wright]". (First Am. Compl. ("FAC") ¶¶ 4, 7, 8, 18.) Plaintiff alleges that starting in August of 2006, every complaint or charge filed by [Plaintiff] against people who committed criminal acts against her . . . was disregarded by Allen and his coconspirators without properly investigating or evaluating her claims. In fact out of over 50 complaints filed by [Plaintiff], zero cases were filed despite recommended charges filed by the Sierra County Sheriff after they [sic] investigated the complaints made by [Plaintiff].

Id. 4:3-9. Plaintiff also alleges that Allen "simultaneously prosecuted her to the fullest extent of the law for infraction offenses and other offenses without probable cause." Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff further alleges that after she was sexually assaulted in September 2006, "Wright refused to aid [Plaintiff] as a victim of a sexual battery." Id. ¶ 22.

III. Discussion

A. § 1983 Claims against Wright

Wright argues Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against her are time-barred. "The statute of limitations for § 1983 claims is borrowed from the analogous state statute of limitations for personal injury actions; in California, that limitation period is two years" from the date of accrual. Paramount Contractors and Developers, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, No. CV 08-5653 ABC (PLAx), 2011 WL 333472, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 28, 2011) (citing CAL. CIV. PROC. CODE § 335.1 and Silva v. Crain, 169 F.3d 608, 610 (9th Cir. 1999)).

While state law determines the period of limitations, federal law determines when a cause of action accrues. Under federal law a cause of action accrues, and the statute of limitations begins to run, when a plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the injury that is the basis of the action.

Alexopulos By and Through Alexopulos v. San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 817 F.2d 551, 555 (9th Cir. 1987) (internal citation omitted).

Here, Plaintiff alleges that in September of 2006 Wright "refused to aid [Plaintiff] as a victim of a sexual battery" after Plaintiff reported she was sexually assaulted. (FAC ¶ 22.) The face of this allegation shows that Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against Wright accrued no later than September of 2006. However, Plaintiff did not commence this action until March 9, 2010, and Plaintiff has not alleged facts indicating the statute of limitations period should be ...


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