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Henry William Telles, Sr v. City of Waterford

October 4, 2011

HENRY WILLIAM TELLES, SR.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF WATERFORD, COUNTY OF STANISLAUS, STANISLAUS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, OFFICER DENNIS CORDOVA, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, JOHN PURCH, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, ROBERT FISHER, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DAN BILBRAY, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, OFFICERS NUNOS, BRALEY, HEILMAN, HINKLE, MATOS, JENKINS AND KIRKBRIDGE, AND DOES 1-50,
DEFENDANTS.



ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S "SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT" Doc. #'s 21 and 22

This is an action for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by plaintiff in pro per Henry Telles, Sr. ("Plaintiff") against the City of Waterford, the County of Stanislaus, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department and a number of individual defendants in their official and individual capacities (collectively, "Defendants"). Plaintiff's claims arise out of a number of interactions between Plaintiff and law enforcement personnel spanning a period of time from 1994 to 2010. Currently before the court are two motions to dismiss; the first filed by Defendant City of Waterford on July 15, 2011, and the second filed on July 18, 2011, by Defendant County of Stanislaus and the individual Defendants. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motions to dismiss will be granted. Federal subject matter jurisdiction exists pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Venue is proper in this court.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed his original complaint on June 2, 2010. Because Plaintiff moved to proceed in forma pauperis, Plaintiff's original complaint was screened by the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). After review, the Magistrate Judge dismissed Plaintiff's complaint in its entirety with leave to amend. A first amended pleading, improvidently titled "Second Amended Complaint," was filed on March 4, 2011. Since Defendants have referred to Plaintiff's amended pleading as the Second Amended Complaint, the court will continue in that reference noting that no first amended complaint was ever filed. Hereinafter, Plaintiff's currently-operative amended pleading is referred to as Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint ("SAC").

Plaintiff's SAC is a mess. The basic allegation contained in Plaintiff's SAC is that since 1993, Plaintiff has suffered upwards of "200 episodes of deprivations" at the hands of law enforcement personnel. Some are alleged as harassment, some as stops and searches or stops and brief detentions, some were arrests, some were arrests followed by trials, but only two are alleged to have resulted in arrest, trial and conviction. Inserted in the middle of Plaintiff's complaint is a 6-page "Exhibit A" that lists approximately 103 dates which are sometimes accompanied by a name or names, sometimes with a penal code designation and occasionally are accompanied by a brief, general description of what happened. Plaintiff's complaint also describes a total of 6 "episodes" that appear to be presented as illustrative examples of the much larger number of events that Plaintiff alleges constituted violation of his constitutionally guaranteed rights under the Fourth Amendment. The most recent of these episodes is alleged to have occurred on October 11, 2008, and the most distant on October 29, 1993.

In between the fourth and fifth "episodes," Plaintiff's SAC alleges five "Counts" plus what appears to be one allegation of violation of rights secured under the Fourth Amendment in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Each of the "Counts," so far as the court can determine, are alleged against Defendant County of Stanislaus. It is not possible to tell from the SAC whether Plaintiff is attempting to allege claims for relief under California common law under the "Counts" or whether he is attempting to allege liability against the County Defendant for failure to supervise or train or whether there is some other purpose.

Defendant City of Waterford filed its motion to dismiss on July 15, 2011; the individual Defendants and Defendant County of Stanislaus filed their motion to dismiss on July 18, 2011. Plaintiff's opposition to the motions to dismiss was filed on August 12, 2011. Defendant City of Waterford filed its reply to Plaintiff's opposition on August 22, 2011. The individual Defendants and Defendant County of Stanislaus filed their reply on August 23, 2011. The court vacated the scheduled hearing date of August 29, 2011, and took the matter under submission as of that date.

LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure can be based on the failure to allege a cognizable legal theory or the failure to allege sufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory. Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 533-34 (9th Cir.1984). To withstand a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must set forth factual allegations sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) ("Twombly"). While a court considering a motion to dismiss must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), and must construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, and resolve factual disputes in the pleader's favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421, reh'g denied, 396 U.S. 869 (1969), the allegations must be factual in nature. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 ("a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do"). The pleading standard set by Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure "does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant- unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) ("Iqbal").

The Ninth Circuit follows the methodological approach set forth in Iqbal for the assessment of a plaintiff's complaint:

"[A] court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief."

Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 970 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950).

DISCUSSION

The parties assert a number of defenses against Plaintiff's claims. The two most compelling from the court's point of view are that the relevant statute of limitations bars Plaintiff's federal and state claims that arise out of any occurrence prior to June 2, 2008, and that Plaintiff has failed to adequately allege any ...


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