United States District Court, E.D. California
KIMBERLY J. MUELLER, District Judge.
Defendants County of Sacramento, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Scott Jones, Deputy David Cuneo, Deputy Grant Haney, and Deputy Eric Duncan have filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint. The court ordered it submitted without a hearing and now GRANTS the motion.
Plaintiff filed a complaint on January 30, 2014, alleging generally that defendants subjected her to excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Article I, Section 13 of the California Constitution. ECF No. 1. The court granted plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis on May 6, 2014. ECF No. 4.
On May 7, 2014, the court issued its standing order in this case. One provision of that order provides that before filing a motion, "counsel shall engage in a pre-filing meet and confer to discuss thoroughly the substance of the contemplated motion and any potential resolution." ECF No. 5-1 at 3.
Defendants filed their motion to dismiss on July 11, 2014, seeking, among other things, that the complaint be dismissed in its entirety as to the County, the Sheriff's Department, and the Sheriff. ECF No. 7-1 at 5-6.
Plaintiff filed her opposition on July 25, 2014, but noted she did not oppose defendant's request to dismiss the complaint against the County, the Sheriff's Department and the Sheriff. ECF No. 9 at 10. Neither party has explained why this issue was not resolved during the required meet and confer. Nonetheless, these two defendants will be dismissed with prejudice.
II. ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT
On the evening of April 20, 2013, the Sacramento County Sheriff's dispatch received a complaint of loud music coming from the vicinity of 8149 Dillard Road in Wilton. ECF No. 1 ¶ 17. Deputies Cueno, Haney and Duncan were dispatched to the area and entered the property around 10:30 p.m. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff was among the guests, there to celebrate her uncle's eightieth birthday; her husband, Octavio Palmas, was the disc jockey for the occasion. Id. ¶¶ 16, 18. Palmas turned the music off at the deputies' request. Id. ¶ 18.
The deputies left 8149 Dillard Road, but parked about three quarters of a mile away to clear the call. They claim to have received two additional noise complaints, but did not respond right away. Id. ¶ 19. When, after thirty minutes had passed, they could still hear the music, the deputies returned to 8149 Dillard Road. Id. ¶ 20.
At 11:40 p.m., the deputies entered the property over the objection of some of the party guests. Id. ¶ 22. According to police reports, as Deputy Duncan was talking to Palmas, some of the guests began to gather around him. Id. ¶ 24. Palmas said the deputies were trespassing and asked them to leave. Id. The deputies detained Palmas and Duncan placed him in the patrol car. Id. ¶¶ 25-26.
Upset at seeing her husband detained, plaintiff approached Cuneo to ask what was happening. Id. ¶ 28. Cuneo put his hands on plaintiff's breasts and shoved her, causing her to fall backwards onto the concrete and strike her head. Id. Plaintiff got to her feet and walked toward the house, but Cuneo chased her and struck her with a couch before handcuffing her. Id. ¶ 29. Neither plaintiff nor any of her family members had reacted with hostility toward the deputies. Id. ¶ 24.
III. STANDARDS FOR A MOTION TO DISMISS
Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party may move to dismiss a complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." A court may dismiss "based on the lack of cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal ...