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Garr Ooley, et al v. Citrus Heights Police Department

May 24, 2012

GARR OOLEY, ET AL.,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITRUS HEIGHTS POLICE DEPARTMENT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



ORDER GRANTING THE CHPD DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

This matter is before the Court on Defendants Citrus Heights Police Department, Brian Barron, Janet Schaefer, D. Christensen, Christine Ford, and Chris Boyd's (collectively the "CHPD Defendants") Motion to Dismiss the Complaint of Plaintiff, Janis *fn1 Starkey (Doc. #6). Plaintiff Janis Starkey ("Starkey") opposes the motion (Doc. #26).

I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

This action arises out of Starkey and Plaintiff Garr Ooley's 3 ("Ooley") allegations, contained in a 98 page complaint and 50 4 pages of exhibits (Doc. #2), that the CHPD Defendants violated 5 their civil rights. Ooley alleges that the CHPD Defendants made 6 false statements that he was a sexual offender and pedophile during 7 neighborhood meetings. The false statements were allegedly made in 8 retaliation for Ooley's part in complaining to Defendant Nicholas Maurer about activities that Ooley and other neighbors found offensive. The alleged false statements induced a group of neighbors also named as defendants in this action (the "Neighbor Defendants") to conduct a campaign of harassment against Ooley. Because Ooley lived with Starkey in a house owned by her, she and her property were allegedly swept up in the campaign against Ooley. As a result, Starkey is also bringing claims against the CHPD Defendants and the Neighbor Defendants in this lawsuit.

The second claim for relief is made by Starkey against the CHPD Defendants for Violation of Federal Civil Rights Act. Starkey alleges that the CHPD Defendants violated her rights by unlawfully taking her property, violating her due process rights, infringing her freedom of religion, violating her right to equal protection, and denying her right to petition the government.

The principle allegation raised by Starkey is that she was ordered by CHPD officers to turn off a home surveillance system. According to the Complaint, Starkey was ordered by Defendant Ford to turn off her home surveillance system during an incident that occurred on November 1, 2010. Compl. ¶ 101. Ooley was arrested during this incident. Id. ¶ 57. Also during this incident, a video recorder and a voice recorder were taken by CHPD officers 2 from Ooley. Compl. ¶ 67. Starkey requested that the recorders be 3 given to her, and they were after repeated requests. Compl. ¶ 71. 4

The remainder of the Complaint primarily alleges that Ooley 5 was harassed by the CHPD and Neighbor Defendants in a series of 6 minor incidents in which the neighbors allegedly entered Starkey's 7 property and harassed Ooley. While Ooley was in CHPD custody, he 8 alleges that Defendant Barron made two statements to him: 9

1) I only answer to two things: the Seventh Day Adventist Church and my two daughters.

2) I am glad to be part of the group that took part in your arrest to remove people like you from this community.

Compl. ¶ 120.

Starkey claims that the Court has jurisdiction over her claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343, 1337 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The CHPD Defendants contest the Court's subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), contending that Starkey fails to plead sufficient facts to support federal subject matter jurisdiction. The CHPD Defendants also seek dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that Starkey failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

II. OPINION

A. Legal Standard for Motion to Dismiss

1. Failure to State a Claim

A party may move to dismiss an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Scheuer v. 2 Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), overruled on other grounds by 3 Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 4 322 (1972). Assertions that are mere "legal conclusions," however, 5 are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 6 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 7 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive a motion to dismiss, a 8 plaintiff needs to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief 9 that is plausible on its face." ...


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