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Cory Hoch v. Stephen Mayberg

April 9, 2012

CORY HOCH,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
STEPHEN MAYBERG, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOCS. 18, 21) FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

I. Background

Plaintiff Cory Hoch ("Plaintiff") is a civil detainee in the custody of the California Department of Mental Health, pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code sections 6600, et seq., also known as the Sexually Violent Predators Act. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action is proceeding against Defendants Stephen Mayberg and Pamela Ahlin for violation of the Fourth Amendment. Pending before the Court is Defendant Ahlin's motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, filed September 26, 2011, and Defendant Mayberg's motion to dismiss and motion for more definite statement, filed October 12, 2011. Docs. 18, 21. Plaintiff filed an opposition on February 23, 2012. Doc. 26. The matter is submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230(l).

II. 12(b)(6) Motion

A. Failure To State A Claim

"The focus of any Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal . . . is the complaint." Schneider v. California Dept. of Corr., 151 F.3d 1194, 1197 n.1 (9th Cir. 1998). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, and resolve all doubts in the pleader's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969). The federal system is one of notice pleading. Galbraith v. County of Santa Clara, 307 F.3d 1119, 1126 (9th Cir. 2002).

Pursuant to Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

B. Summary Of Complaint

Plaintiff is a civil detainee, detained at Coalinga State Hospital in Coalinga, California. Compl. 2. Plaintiff has a hospital room. Id. On March 18, 2008, officers Tarkenton and Christian entered his hospital room and searched his living area and locker. Id. Plaintiff did not consent to the search. Id. There was no warrant. Id. Plaintiff contends that he has an expectation of privacy in his hospital room. Id. Senior psychiatric technician John Sanzberro gave the officers the opportunity to search when he declared that he believed Plaintiff had other contraband in his property. Id. at 3. Plaintiff's property was seized, which included his laptop. Id. at 6.

Plaintiff contends that Defendant Ahlin, as executive director of Coalinga State Hospital, was responsible for permitting the seizure and retention of property through her Administrative Directives. Id. at 2. Defendant Mayberg was responsible, as director of the California Department of Health, for approving the taking and continued retention of property through his Special Orders. Id.

Plaintiff contends a violation of the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and violation of Article I, section 7(a) and 13 of the California Constitution.

Plaintiff requests as relief the return of his property or compensation if the property was destroyed, monetary damages, and injunctive relief in the form of ceasing to take property of patients at Coalinga State Hospital unless a criminal warrant or legal proceeding was pending and compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

C. Analysis

Defendants contend that Plaintiff has not stated a Fourth Amendment claim against them. Defendant Ahlin contends that 1) a suit for money damages cannot survive against her in her official capacity;*fn1 2) respondeat superior liability cannot state a ยง 1983 claim; 3) Plaintiff does not state a Fourth Amendment claim; 4) Plaintiff does not state a Fifth Amendment Takings Clause claim or self-incrimination claim; 5) Plaintiff does not state a Fourteenth Amendment claim; 6) Plaintiff has no cause of action under the California Constitution. Def. Ahlin's Mot. 5-9. Defendant Mayberg raises the same arguments in his motion. Def. Mayberg's Mot. 5-13. Defendant Mayberg additionally ...


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