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Lawrence Young v. Reedley Community College

January 26, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge



On April 21, 2011, Plaintiff, Lawrence Young, ("Plaintiff") filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") against Defendants, Reedley Community College ("RCC"), the State Center Community College District ("SCCCD"), and Police Officer Felipe Uribe*fn1 (collectively, "Defendants"). (Doc. 6). On June 23, 2011, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 10). Plaintiff filed an opposition on August 23, 2011. (Doc. 15). Defendants filed a reply on August 31, 2011. (Doc. 16). The hearing on the motion was scheduled for September 19, 2011. (Doc. 14).

Due to the retirement of United States District Court Judge Oliver W. Wanger, the case was reassigned to this Court pending the consent of the parties. Both parties consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction and the case was reassigned to this Court for all purposes on November 23, 2011. (Docs. 19, 22, and 23). The Court reviewed the pleadings and took the matter under submission. (Doc. 24). Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED IN PART.


Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)a claim may be dismissed because of the plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Johnson v. Riverside Healthcare Sys., 534 F.3d 1116, 1121 (9th Cir. 2008); Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). In reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), the court accepts that the allegations in the complaint are true, and the court construes these facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Marceau v. Blackfeet Hous. Auth., 540 F.3d 916, 919 (9th Cir. 2008); Vignolo v. Miller, 120 F.3d 1075, 1077 (9th Cir. 1999). The court must also assume that general allegations embrace the necessary and specific facts to support the claim. Smith v. Pacific Prop. and Dev. Corp., 358 F.3d 1097, 1106 (9th Cir. 2004). However, the court is not required "to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1056-57 (9th Cir. 2008); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). Although they may provide the framework of a complaint, legal conclusions are not accepted as true and "[t]hreadbare recitals of elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50 (2009); see also Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003). As the Supreme Court has explained:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, 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. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. "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." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief. . . .

Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where 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 shown -- that the pleader is entitled to relief.

Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50 (internal cites and quotes omitted). "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 v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).


The FAC alleges the following

1) On or around March 24, 2010, at RCC, Mr. Young, a person of color, and a student at RCC, retrieved some of his personal property from his vehicle which was located in the parking lot at the college.

2) As Mr. Young was leaving his vehicle, he heard someone yell, "come over here," in a rude aggressive and authoritative manner. Mr. Young turned and saw Defendant Uribe coming in his direction.

3) Defendant Uribe asked Mr.Young if he had seen a parking ticket on his vehicle. 4) Mr. Young responded that he lived in the dormitory and that he had a parking permit. Mr. Young showed the permit to Defendant Uribe.

5) Defendant Uribe demanded that Mr. Young produce his identification. When Mr. Young asked why additional identification was needed, Defendant Uribe became extremely upset and indicated he could do whatever he wanted because he was a campus officer.

6) Suddenly, Defendant Uribe pepper sprayed Mr. Young in his eyes and face. When Mr. Young ran to his dorm to wash the pepper spray off, Defendant Uribe ran after Mr. Young, grabbed him around the neck, and slammed him to the ground. Defendant Uribe continued to manhandle Mr. Young as he lay on the ground.

7) Defendant Uribe's conduct caused Mr. Young excruciating physical and mental pain. He was taken to the hospital due to injuries he sustained.

8) Defendant Uribe charged Mr Young with resisting arrest pursuant to Section 148 of the California Penal Code, however, the charges were later dismissed.

9) As a direct result of the above, Plaintiff has become mentally upset, distressed, humiliated, embarrassed, inconvenienced, and suffered mental anguish.

The FAC alleges the following causes of action:

1) A violation of the Fourth Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983;*fn3

2) A violation of the First Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983;

3) A violation of the Fourteenth Amendment pursuant to 42 ...

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