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Addison J. Demoura, et al v. andrew J. Ford

May 22, 2012

ADDISON J. DEMOURA, ET AL.,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ANDREW J. FORD, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' APPLICATION TO FILE SIXTH AMENDED COMPLAINT (Docket No. 171)

I. INTRODUCTION

On April 12, 2012, Plaintiffs Addison J. Demoura, Jessica Demoura, and John Doe, a minor, (collectively, "Plaintiffs") filed an application to file a sixth amended complaint. (Doc. 171.) Plaintiffs seek to add seven Doe Defendants whose identities were recently disclosed by the City of Oakdale. On May 2, 2012, Defendants Andrew J. Ford ("Ford") and City of Oakdale ("Oakdale") each filed opposition briefs (Docs. 173, 175), and Defendants County of Stanislaus ("Stanislaus") and Jason Tosta ("Tosta" or, collectively, "Defendants") filed joinders to the oppositions. Plaintiffs filed a reply brief on May 8, 2012. (Doc. 179.)

The Court reviewed the parties' briefs and supporting documents and determined that this matter is suitable for decision without oral argument; as such, the hearing scheduled for May 16, 2012, was VACATED. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' application to amend the complaint is DENIED.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. Factual Background

Plaintiffs' initial complaint was filed on July 31, 2009. (Doc. 1.) The current operative complaint is the fifth amended complaint, filed on January 27, 2012, against Defendants Ford, Tosta, Stanislaus, and Oakdale. (Doc. 164.)

This action arises out of the alleged unlawful execution of search warrants. Pursuant to the fifth amended complaint, Plaintiffs allege that on July 25, 2007, Defendant Ford, a police officer, presented to a magistrate judge a statement of probable cause in support of a search warrant for the search of Plaintiffs' residence and Addison Demoura's place of business, which operated under the business name Oakdale Natural Choice Collective ("ONCC"). (Doc. 164, ¶¶ 14, 33-35.) Plaintiffs assert that Ford's affidavit contained material misstatements and omissions, that it failed to allege sufficient credible evidence to establish probable cause for the search, and that Ford and Tosta agreed to present to the magistrate judge the affidavit knowing that it contained material misstatements and omissions. (Doc. 164, ¶¶ 33-35.)

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants possessed facts that ONCC "may have been an association of medical marijuana patients commonly known as a medical marijuana collective that was established under the provisions of the California Medical Marijuana Program Act." (Doc. 164, ¶ 63.) During a multi-agency investigation of the ONCC, Plaintiffs claim that a confidential informant procured marijuana that was "clearly labeled 'for medical use only.'" (Doc. 164, ¶ 66.) Plaintiffs allege that the confidential informant "reported that ONCC operated in a manner that was the same as those operating procedures of another medical marijuana collective that was identified as the California Health Collective" ("CHC"), and that "[a]ll natural person Defendants" were aware that the CHC "was an association of medical marijuana patients and caregivers operating under California State Law within the provisions of the California Medical Marijuana Program Act" ("MMPA") (Doc. 164, ¶¶ 66, 70.)

Plaintiffs claim that Defendants, prior to obtaining the search warrant, "agreed to conceal and/or omit any evidence plainly relevant to CHC's compliance with the MMPA, which would negate probable cause for the search, in an effort to mislead the judge in securing a search warrant." (Doc. 164, ¶ 72.) Plaintiffs allege that the affidavit submitted in support of the search warrant "omitted all exculpatory observations and evidence which would establish that Addison and ONCC were engaged in the lawful distribution of marijuana under the provisions of the Medical Marijuana Program Act." (Doc. 164, ¶ 75.)

On July 31, 2007, Ford, Tosta, and unnamed Doe Defendants executed the search warrant for Plaintiffs' residence and the ONCC. (Doc. 164, ¶¶ 36-38.) Ford and Tosta allegedly detained Plaintiffs "with the use of handcuffs, and a threat of lethal force, and force involving the pressing of the muzzle of their automatic firearms against Addison's person, and pointing their automatic firearms at Plaintiffs." (Doc. 164, ¶ 39.)

On May 12, 2009, in the criminal prosecution resulting from evidence obtained during the searches, Addison Demoura filed a motion to quash and traverse the search warrant "on the grounds that the search warrant affidavit contained material misstatements and omissions" and thus failed to allege sufficient credible evidence to establish probable cause. (Doc. 164, ¶ 77.) On October 16, 2009, the California Superior Court granted Addison's motion and dismissed the underlying criminal action. (Doc. 164, ¶ 78.) The prosecution did not appeal the order and dismissal. (Doc. 106, ¶ 79.)

Plaintiffs bring this suit based upon the alleged unlawful search of their residence. Plaintiffs' fifth amended complaint alleges causes of action for (1) violation of Constitutional rights, unlawful search; (2) excessive force in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments; (3) conspiracy; (4) violation of Constitutional rights by failing to adequately train and supervise; (5) assault; (6) battery; and (7) statutory and state constitutional violations based on presenting a false affidavit in support of a search warrant and executing a search warrant supported by the false affidavit. (Doc. 164.)

B. Procedural History

Plaintiffs filed their initial complaint on July 31, 2009, against Ford, Tosta, Stanislaus, Oakdale, and William Pooley ("Pooley"), Gary Guffey ("Guffey"), and County of Tuolumne ("Tuolumne"). (Doc. 1.) Summonses were issued on August 3, 2009, but were not served at that time. (Docs. 3-8.) On March 12, 2010, the Court set a hearing for dismissal due to lack of prosecution. (Doc. 16.) On April 6, 2010, Plaintiffs' newly substituted attorney, Rebecca P. Mendribil, filed an affidavit declaring that she forwarded the case documents for process of service on that date. (Doc. 22, ¶ 7.) As such, the Court did not dismiss Plaintiffs' case. (Doc. 26.)

On April 28, 2010, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which the Court granted with leave to amend on July 2, 2010. (Docs. 27, 33.) Plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint on August 2, 2010; answers were filed by Defendants Tosta, Guffey, Stanislaus, and Oakdale, while Defendants Tuolumne and Ford filed a motion to dismiss. (Docs. 34, 41-44, 46.) On December 27, 2010, the Court issued a memorandum decision regarding the motion to dismiss, dismissing the state and federal law claims against Tuolumne, the federal conspiracy claim, and the state law claims against Ford, and allowing Plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 66.) On January 14, 2011, an order was issued memorializing the memorandum decision. (Doc. 68.)

On January 18, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint. (Doc. 69.) Plaintiffs stipulated to dismiss Defendants Tuolumne and Guffey. (Docs. 71, 73, 75-76.) Answers were filed by Tosta and Oakdale, and Ford filed a motion to dismiss. (Docs. 77-79.) On May 23, 2011, the Court issued a memorandum decision dismissing Plaintiffs' seventh cause of action for violation of California Civil Code section 52 et seq. and granting Plaintiffs leave to amend the complaint; an order memorializing that decision was issued on June 6, 2011. (Docs. 98, 100.)

A scheduling conference was held before District Judge Oliver W. Wanger on July 1, 2011, and a scheduling conference order was issued on July 5, 2011. (Docs. 104, 105.) The scheduling order set forth the following deadlines:

Rule 26 Initial Disclosures Deadline: 7/15/2011

Non-expert Discovery Deadline: 3/1/2012 Designation of Expert Witnesses due by 4/6/2012

Discovery due by 6/7/2012

Settlement Conference set for 6/14/2012 Non-Dispositive Motions filed by 6/26/2012 Dispositive Motions filed by 7/16/2012 Non-Dispositive Motions Hearing set for 8/1/2012 Dispositive Motions Hearing set for 8/20/2012 Pretrial Conference set for 9/24/2012 Trial set for 11/6/2012 (Doc. 105.)

Also on July 5, 2011, Plaintiffs filed their third amended complaint; answers were filed by Defendants Ford, Tosta, Oakdale, and Stanislaus. (Docs. 106, 108-10, 112.)

On November 8, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a motion for a protective order forbidding inquiry into certain matters, and a motion to stay Plaintiffs' depositions. (Docs. 118, 119.) On November 21, 2011, Ford filed a discovery motion to have matters deemed admitted, and on November 22, 2011, Ford filed motions to compel Plaintiffs' ...


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