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Calvin Ward v. the Superior Court of Sacramento County

February 21, 2013

CALVIN WARD, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SACRAMENTO COUNTY, DEFENDANT AND RESPONDENT.



(Super. Ct. No. 201000072617)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blease , Acting P. J.

Ward v. Super. Ct. CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Calvin Ward was arrested on a warrant intended for another person after the Sacramento County Superior Court (Court) mistakenly merged Ward's personal information with an individual who has the same first name. Ward sued the Court (among others), alleging he was wrongfully arrested because the Court negligently failed to maintain accurate records.

Ward now appeals from the judgment entered after the trial court sustained the Court's demurrer to his second amended complaint without leave to amend. He asserts, among other things, that the trial court erred in transferring the matter to the Nevada County Superior Court, and erred in concluding Ward alleged that an error in county, rather than court, records was responsible for his wrongful arrest. Moreover, Ward contends, because "the complaint could easily be amended to fix this deficiency[,] . . . it was error for the court to sustain the demurrer without leave to amend . . . ."

We shall affirm the judgment, as Ward's contentions lack merit, and he has not shown he can amend to state a viable cause of action.

BACKGROUND

"Because this matter comes to us on demurrer, we take the facts from plaintiff's complaint, the allegations of which are deemed true for the limited purpose of determining whether plaintiff has stated a viable cause of action. [Citation.]" (Stevenson v. Superior Court (1997) 16 Cal.4th 880, 885.)

In or before July 2009, Ward was arrested on suspicion of bicycling under the influence of alcohol. When Ward went to the Court on July 27 to fulfill his promise to appear on that charge, he learned no charges arising from the bicycling arrest had been filed. An unrelated arrest warrant had previously issued for a person named Calvin Phillips and, because the Court had erroneously linked Ward's "personal identifying information in the Jail Information Management System ('JIMS') with a person named Calvin Phillips who had a warrant out for his arrest," Ward was wrongfully arrested and held in custody for three days. Ward, a self-employed upholsterer, lost business and business opportunities as a result of his arrest.

After Ward's government tort claim was rejected, he brought this action in the Court. The original complaint alleged Ward's civil rights were violated, and stated a negligence cause of action against three individual officers, the City of Sacramento (City), the County of Sacramento (County), and the Court.

Defendants demurred to the original complaint. Ward responded by filing a first amended complaint; it contained essentially the same substantive allegations as the original complaint and named as defendants the City, the Court, and the officer who arrested defendant on the bicycling charge.

Defendants demurred to the first amended complaint. Ward dismissed the City and the arresting officer, and opposed the Court's demurrer.

While the Court's demurrer was pending, the Court's judicial bench recused itself and the case was ordered transferred to the Nevada County Superior Court. Judge Dowling of the Nevada ...


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