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Hernandez v. Dalton

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

July 30, 2013

ELI HERNANDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTOPHER DALTON and SEANN WOESSNER, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS ORDER DISMISSING ACTION WITH LEAVE TO AMEND WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

ANTHONY ISHII, Senior District Judge.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff has filed the Court's standard form, with addition information written by Plaintiff, that states in the title that this action is based on the "Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983." On May 31, 2013, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendants contend that the complaint does not support a cause of action under the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendants also contend that the alleged facts do not support a claim for false imprisonment. Plaintiff did not file any opposition to Defendants' motion. On July 9, 2013, Defendants filed a reply brief.

LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a claim may be dismissed because of the plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Johnson v. Riverside Healthcare Sys. , 534 F.3d 1116, 1121 (9th Cir. 2008); Navarro v. Block , 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). In reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), all of the complaint's material allegations of fact are taken as true, and the facts are construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Marceau v. Balckfeet Hous. Auth. , 540 F.3d 916, 919 (9th Cir. 2008); Vignolo v. Miller , 120 F.3d 1075, 1077 (9th Cir. 1999). The court must also assume that general allegations embrace the necessary, specific facts to support the claim. Smith v. Pacific Prop. and Dev. Corp. , 358 F.3d 1097, 1106 (9th Cir. 2004). However, the court is not required "to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig. , 536 F.3d 1049, 1056-57 (9th Cir. 2008); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors , 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). Although they may provide the framework of a complaint, legal conclusions are not accepted as true and "[t]hreadbare recitals of elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50 (2009). The Supreme Court has explained:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.' Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a context specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief

Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50. "In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory factual content, ' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief." Moss v. United States Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

ALLEGED FACTS

The complaint alleges that on about December 1, 2012, at 1:30 a.m. or 2:00 a.m., Plaintiff was taking a walk and bought a pack of cigarettes and a lighter at an AM/PM store. The complaint alleges that he was smoking a cigarette and walking in an alley when he heard tires screeching. The complaint alleges Plaintiff ran because he did not know who was in the car and he thought he was going to be run over. The complaint alleges that when Plaintiff realized it was a patrol officer, he ran faster because he was in possession of "meth" and "had a couple of warrents (sic.)."

The complaint alleges that Plaintiff matched the description of a person who had recently be chased by police. The complaint contends Plaintiff was not the person the officers were looking for. The complaint alleges that Plaintiff was not carrying any weapons.

The complaint alleges Plaintiff made his way into someone's backyard, entered the patio, and hid under a carpet. The complaint alleges that when the officers entered the patio, Plaintiff jumped up and said he could not run anymore and that he was sorry for running. The complaint alleges that an officer pointed a gun at his face when he jumped up. The complaint alleges that a second officer then arrived and unleashed his K-9. The complaint alleges that Plaintiff had a gun to his face while he was being bitten. The complaint alleges a ...


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