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Isidro Roman v. Mike Knowles

August 25, 2011

ISIDRO ROMAN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MIKE KNOWLES, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janis L. Sammartino United States District Judge

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (ECF Nos. 99 & 108.)

On October 18, 2010, Plaintiff Isidro Roman filed his Fourth Amended Complaint. (4AC, ECF No. 95.) The complaint asserts three causes of action under § 1983: (1) violations of the 8th Amendment; (2) violations of the 1st Amendment; and (3) violations of the 14th Amendment. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint. (4MTD, ECF No. 99.) Magistrate Judge Porter issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R) recommending this Court grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion. (4R&R, ECF No. 108.)

Presently before the Court is Judge Porter's R&R, both parties objections' to the R&R, and Defendants' reply to Plaintiff's objections. (P's Objections, ECF No. 109; D's Objections, ECF No. 111; P's Reply, ECF No. 112.) After consideration, the Court ADOPTS the R&R in its entirety and GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendants' motion to dismiss.

LEGAL STANDARD

1. Review of the Report and Recommendation

Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) set forth a district court's duties regarding a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. The district court "shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report . . . to which objection is made," and "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c); see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 673--76 (1980).

2. Motion to Dismiss

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to assert by motion the defense that the complaint "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted," generally known as a motion to dismiss. The Court evaluates whether a complaint states a cognizable legal theory and sufficient facts in light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which requires a "short and plain statement of the claim" showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. Although Rule 8 "does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' . . . it [does] demand[] more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, -U.S.- , 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In other words, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' for his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). "Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A claim is facially plausible when the facts pleaded "allow[] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). That is not to say that the claim must be probable, but there must be "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. Facts "'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" fall short of a plausible entitlement to relief. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, the Court need not accept as true "legal conclusions" contained in the complaint. Id. This review requires context-specific analysis involving the Court's "judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 1950. "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged- but it has not 'show[n]'-'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id.

When a court grants a motion to dismiss, the court should also grant leave to amend "'unless [it] determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency.'" DeSoto v. Yellow Freight Sys., Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir. 1992) (quoting Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir. 1986)). In other words, the Court may deny leave to amend if amendment would be futile. See Id.; Schreiber Distrib., 806 F.2d at 1401.

ANALYSIS

Both parties object to Judge Porter's R&R. The Court discusses each parties' objections in turn.

I. Plaintiff's Objections

Plaintiff objects to the recommendation that (1) Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment excessive force claim be granted without prejudice and (2) Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation claim as against ...


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