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Shannon A., William A, On Behalf of Themselves and Their Children: C.A., T.A., D.A., and L.A., Minors v. Sue anderson

November 1, 2012

SHANNON A., WILLIAM A, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND THEIR CHILDREN: C.A., T.A., D.A., AND L.A., MINORS,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SUE ANDERSON, JAMES CORONA, STRIKE TERRY
DEEN, DARCIE GILL, STEVE HISCOCK, CHRISTOPHER VONKLEIST,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. Senior United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT CORONA'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND GRANTING AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT CORONA'S MOTION TO

Defendant James Corona, M.D. ("Corona") moves for dismissal of the three claims alleged against him in the Third Amended Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6). (Corona's Mem. of P.&A. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss ("MTD"), ECF No. 50.) Corona also moves to strike Plaintiffs' request for attorney's fees and punitive damages under Rule 12(f). (Corona's Mem. of P.&A. in Supp. of Mot. to Strike ("MTS"), ECF No. 51.) Plaintiffs oppose certain portions of each motion; however, they agree "the Eighth and Ninth Claims against Corona should be dismissed, without prejudice" and "the request for attorneys fees . . . as to Corona should be stricken without prejudice" to be re- alleged "according to proof after discovery." (Pls.' Opp'n to MTD 2:13-15, 8:4-6, ECF No. 58; Pls.' Opp'n to MTS 1:26-2:1, ECF No. 59.)

Since Plaintiffs agree the eighth claim (negligence per se) and ninth claim (violation of right to privacy protected under the California Constitution) "should be dismissed, without prejudice[,]" those portions of Corona's dismissal motion are GRANTED. Further, the portion of Corona's motion to strike, which seeks to strike Plaintiff's request for attorney's fees, is GRANTED since Plaintiffs agree it should be stricken. The remaining portions of Corona's motions are addressed below.

I. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Motion to Dismiss

Decision on the Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal motion requires determination of "whether the complaint's factual allegations, together with all reasonable inferences, state a plausible claim for relief." Cafasso, United States ex rel. v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009)). "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, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)).

When determining the sufficiency of a claim, "[w]e accept factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the non-moving party[; however, this tenet does not apply to] . . . legal conclusions . . . cast in the form of factual allegations." Fayer v. Vaughn, 649 F.3d 1061, 1064 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). "Therefore, conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss." Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555) ("A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'").

B. Motion to Strike

Rule 12(f) prescribes: "[t]he court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." "The function of a 12(f) motion to strike is to avoid the expenditure of time and money that must arise from litigating spurious issues by dispensing with those issues prior to trial...." Whittlestone, Inc. v. Handi-Craft Co., 618 F.3d 970, 973 (9th Cir. 2010)(citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

"Motions to strike are generally viewed with disfavor and are not frequently granted. Further, courts must view the pleadings under attack in the light more favorable to the pleader." Lazar v. Trans Union LLC, 195 F.R.D. 665, 669 (C.D. Cal. 2000)(citations omitted). "Motions to strike are generally not granted unless it is clear that the matter to be stricken could have no possible bearing on the subject matter of the litigation." LeDuc v. Kentucky Cent. Life Ins. Co., 814 F. Supp. 820, 830 (N.D. Cal. 1992)(citation omitted).

II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

This action concerns Plaintiffs Shannon A. and William A.'s arrests on forgery charges, which occurred after Shannon A. presented a doctor's note to their child L.A.'s school nurse regarding L.A.'s absence on January 11, 2010. Concerning Corona, Plaintiffs allege in relevant part as follows:

16. At all times relevant to the facts described herein, Defendant Dr. James CORONA is an adult male and resident of the State of California. Dr. James CORONA was at all times herein mentioned employed as a physician, duly licensed and practicing as a Medical Doctor in the State of California. He was L.A.'s primary care physician.

. . . . 73. . . . . [O]n January 11, 2010, Shannon A. brought both D.A. and L.A. in to the nurse because both were ill. L.A. had been vomiting and appeared to have symptoms of the flu. Her son, D.A., was also showing symptoms.

74. Defendant, nurse ANDERSON, refused to approve the absences, was rude and insisted that Shannon A. send her children to class because they had no fever. Reluctantly she took D.A. to class at C.K. Price Middle School, but refused to leave L.A. because he was too ill.

. . . . 76. The same day, on January 11, 2010, Shannon A. brought L.A. to Defendant Dr. CORONA concerning his flu like symptoms and vomiting, as directed by Defendant ANDERSON.

77. Shannon A. informed Dr. CORONA's medical staff that it was necessary for her to obtain a "doctor's note" excusing L.A. from school due to his flu like symptoms and vomiting. Shannon

A. further informed Dr. CORONA and his medical staff, employees and authorized agents and representatives acting on behalf of Dr. CORONA that Defendant ANDERSON, the school nurse, ...


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