United States District Court, N.D. California
PATRICK A. MISSUD, Plaintiff,
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS, REMANDING STATE LAW CLAIMS TO STATE COURT, AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (Docket Nos. 31, 44)
EDWARD M. CHEN, District Judge.
Currently pending before the Court is Defendant City and County of San Francisco's motion to dismiss Plaintiff Patrick A. Missud's complaint. The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing and thus VACATES the hearing on the motion set for July 10, 2014. The Court hereby GRANTS the motion to dismiss as to Mr. Missud's cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims and REMANDS those claims to California Superior Court. Mr. Missud's application for an emergency temporary restraining order (Docket No. 44) is DENIED without prejudice to renewal before the California Superior Court.
I. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Mr. Missud filed the instant action in California state court on February 28, 2014. Docket No. 1-1, at 2. Mr. Missud's complaint is difficult to decipher. However, it appears that Mr. Missud is alleging that the City and County of San Francisco is engaged in a racketeering scheme related to its enforcement of traffic and parking ordinances. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that the San Francisco Police Department and Municipal Transit Authority issue citations for "expired tabs" (presumably for not having up to date registration) and that after the vehicle has accumulated five such citations, the City of San Francisco and Defendant Auto-Return tow the car and store it, imposing "hefty fees" on the vehicle owner. Id. at 13. Plaintiff alleges that he received five "expired tabs" tickets in " rabid succession" Id. Plaintiff alleges that part of the "racketeering scheme" is the fact that the City and County of San Francisco have "[i]llegally demand[ed] holds' on DMV re-registration so that it$ color-of-law citations are first paid." Id. at 4. Another alleged racketeering scheme is that the City and County of San Francisco attempts to "enforce unenforceable, defective tickets" that do not include the last four digits of the vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number ("VIN"). Id. at 14. Plaintiff alleges he received a number of citations which omitted the vehicle's VIN, and yet the "City insisted on their validity." Id. Plaintiff's additional allegations of wrongdoing all revolve around these alleged schemes related to traffic enforcement and vehicle towing.
Mr. Missud's complaint asserts 5 causes of action, with one of the causes of action asserting a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. at 17. Mr. Missud never expressly states what constitutional rights have been violated, but based on his subsequent filings, it appears that he is asserting that the ticketing and towing practices constitute an unlawful taking under the Fifth Amendment and violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See Docket No. 33, at 12; see also Docket No. 6 ("The City is towing, storing, and selling property worth thousands of dollars under the color of law. These are illegal takings. Vehicle owners' due process rights are violated."). On April 1, 2014, Defendants removed this action to this Court.
In their motion to dismiss, Defendants allege that Mr. Missud's theories underlying his § 1983 cause of action have been previously rejected by this Court. Docket No. 31, at 8. The Court agrees and finds that collateral estoppel requires dismissal of Mr. Missud's § 1983 cause of action.
Collateral estoppel prevents parties from relitigating issues that were adjudicated in a previous dispute between the same parties. See Clark v. Bear Stearns & Co., Inc., 966 F.2d 1318, 1320 (9th Cir. 1992). Three factors must be considered before applying collateral estoppel: (1) the issue at stake must be identical to the one alleged in the prior litigation; (2) the issue must have been actually litigated by the party against whom preclusion is asserted in the prior litigation; and (3) the determination of the issue in the prior litigation must have been a critical and necessary part of the judgment in the earlier action. See McQuillion v. Schwarzenegger, 369 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2004). Here all three elements are met with regards to Mr. Missud's § 1983 action.
First, Mr. Missud's cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is essentially identical to the claim brought In Missud v. State of California, et al., No. 12-cv-5468. There, Mr. Missud rested his complaint on the same overarching "racketeering schemes" alleged in the instant action. For example, Mr. Missud's first amended complaint in that prior action alleged "Two illegal revenue-generating scheme$" perpetrated by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority and Auto-Return. The first scheme was alleged to have been:
In a first scheme, the City's Police, SFDPT, or SFMTA issue citations for "expired tabs." If a car collects five such citations, then the City and contractor AutoReturn, first tows the car for onerou$ fee$, and then stores it for ever more. Car Owners [CO] who might have trouble getting cars to pass smog, or are away and unaware of the many citations can have their cars quickly and illegally seized/unconstitutionally-taken by the City. Part of the City'$ scheme is to rapidly and rabidly issue the minimum number of citations which supposedly entitles' them to tow and store vehicles. The City thereby commits an illegal taking under color of law or without notice.
No. 12-cv-5468, Docket No. 12, at 7. Similarly, in this action, Mr. Missud makes an almost identical allegation:
In a first scheme, San Francisco's: Police Department [$FPD]; Department of Parking and Traffic [$FDPT]; or Municipal Transit Authority [$FMTA], issue citations for "expired tabs." If a car collects five such citations, then the City and private-contractor Auto-Return, first tow the car for hefty fees, and then store it for even more cash. Car Owners [CO] who might have trouble getting cars to pass smog, or are away on vacation and unaware of the many citations, can have their cars illegally seized by the City. Part of the City'$ scheme is to rapidly and rabidly issue the minimum number of citations which supposedly "entitled" them to tow and store vehicles. The City thereby commits an illegal taking under color-of-law or without notice.
No. 14-cv-1503, Docket No. 1-1, at 13.
Similarly, Mr. Missud's prior case asserted the ...