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Heyward v. California Highway Patrol

United States District Court, N.D. California

September 24, 2014

MARCO HEYWARD, Plaintiff(s),
v.
CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL, Defendant(s)

ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND

DONNA M. RYU, Magistrate Judge.

On August 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit and an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. On September 5, 2014, the court granted the application and dismissed the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii), for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted. Order [Docket No. 8] at 1-2. The court noted that a district court "should not dismiss a pro se complaint without leave to amend unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment, " and therefore dismissed the Complaint with leave to amend to remedy the deficiencies noted in the order. Id. at 7-8 (citation omitted). The court also referred Plaintiff to as the Court's Legal Help Centers for unrepresented parties. Id. at 8. Plaintiff subsequently met with a representative from the Legal Help Center, see Docket No. 7, and filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), see Docket No. 9.

However, because the FAC does not remedy the deficiencies noted in the court's previous order, the court dismisses the FAC for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).

I. LEGAL STANDARDS

A court is under a continuing duty to dismiss a case filed without the payment of the filing fee whenever it determines that the action "(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). To make this determination, courts assess whether there is a factual and legal basis for the asserted wrong, "however inartfully pleaded." Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). Although pleadings by self-represented individuals are liberally construed and held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers, a complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it fails to set forth "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554 (2007). See also Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). Further, district courts have the authority to dismiss complaints founded on "wholly fanciful" factual allegations. Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1228.

II. DISCUSSION

As in the original Complaint, the various causes of action in the FAC all stem from Plaintiff being stopped and arrested for drunk driving on August 4, 2012, in Oakland, California. Additional allegations will be discussed below where relevant.

A. Claims Against California Highway Patrol

The FAC lists only the California Highway Patrol ("CHP") as a Defendant. As the court previously noted, Plaintiff does not allege any specific conduct or policy by the CHP, nor any theory of liability for violation by the CHP of any of the laws cited in the FAC. Thus, the FAC fails to state a claim against the CHP.

B. Claims Against Others

Even liberally construing the FAC to bring claims against Officer Avila and Sergeant Newman - both of whom were named as Defendants in the original Complaint but not in the FAC - the FAC is dismissed for failure to state a claim against these Defendants.

1. California Statutory Causes of Action

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and California Civil Code §§ 52, 51.5, 51.6, 51.7, 51.9, and 54. As the court noted in the prior order, "Plaintiff's California statutory law causes of action are insufficient, as none of the laws cited have any bearing on the conduct alleged." See Order at 4-5. The FAC fails to remedy this ...


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