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Holland v. State

United States District Court, N.D. California

November 21, 2014

THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, et al., Defendants

Celeste Holland, Plaintiff, Pro se, Vacaville, CA.

For Joseph A. Farrow, Commissioner, John Azavedo, Officer, #19517, R. Estes, Officer, #19285, S. Pacheco, Officer, #16216, Defendants: Rohit Kodical, California State Attorney General's Office, Oakland, CA.

For Nancy O'Malley, District Attorney, Catherine Kobal, Deputy District Attorney, Defendants: Raymond L. MacKay, LEAD ATTORNEY, Senior Deputy County Counsel, Office of County Counsel, County of Alameda, Oakland, CA.


JON S. TIGAR, United States District Judge.

Defendants District Attorney Nancy O'Malley (" O'Malley") and Deputy Attorney Kobal (" Kobal") move to dismiss Plaintiff Celeste Holland's First Amended Complaint (" FAC"). ECF No. 28. Defendant California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joseph Farrow (" Farrow") moves separately to dismiss the FAC. ECF No. 26. For the reasons set forth below, the motions are GRANTED.


Plaintiff filed her original complaint in Contra Costa County Superior Court on December 20, 2013. ECF No. 1 at 1. After being amended once, the action was subsequently removed to federal court on March 21, 2014. Id. at 1-2. On June 6, 2014, this Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint against Farrow without prejudice. ECF No. 14. First, assuming that Plaintiff intended to sue Farrow in his official capacity, the Court found that Plaintiff had failed to allege facts or law that, if proven, would defeat Farrow's Eleventh Amendment immunity. ECF No. 14 at 2-3. The Court also found that, in the alternative, if Plaintiff sought to sue Farrow in his personal capacity, she had failed to allege facts that connected him to any of the causes of action she pled. Id. at 3. Plaintiff then filed her FAC, which Farrow, O'Malley, and Kobal now move to dismiss. ECF Nos. 21, 26, 28.

In her FAC, Plaintiff alleges mistreatment by several California Highway Patrol officers during a roadside stop on March 23, 2012 that resulted in Plaintiff's arrest. ECF No. 21 at 4. Plaintiff was initially pulled over by Officer Azavedo, who was later joined at the scene by Officers Estes and Pacheco. Id. Plaintiff alleges that the officers used unnecessary force, and that Officer Pacheco sexually assaulted her. Id. She also asserts that she was falsely arrested because nothing requires her " to obtain and/or carry a driver's license, register [her] personal property with the State of California or obtain automobile insurance." Id. at 5.

Plaintiff's complaint implicates Farrow, O'Malley, and Kobal in an unspecified conspiracy. ECF No. 21 at 5. Plaintiff refers to " overt acts" by a list of officials including O'Malley, Kobal, and Farrow without further explanation. Id. Plaintiff makes reference to " Exhibit A Video Discs, " but Exhibit A provides no further details about the alleged conspiracy or its composite acts. Id., Ex. A. Plaintiff seems to allege that some or all of the defendants she listed in her complaint--including O'Malley, Farrow, and Kobal--deprived her of her right to counsel of her choice and her right to jury trial, among other constitutional rights. See, e.g., id. at 6-7. She does not, however, supply any facts that connect these defendants to the alleged violations of her rights. Plaintiff also objects to the fact that she was required to use " Federal Reserve notes, " --i.e., paper money--that is not " backed by gold or silver coin" to pay for her license. Id. at 6.


This Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because her § 1983 claims arise under federal law.


The court must grant a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) if the complaint fails to provide " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Facial plausibility exists when a plaintiff " pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. The Court must accept as true both the material facts alleged in the complaint and all reasonable inferences to be drawn from those facts. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). But " threadbare recitals of a cause of action's elements" and " mere conclusory statements" are insufficient to provide the requisite factual basis for a claim. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). Either the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts to support a legal theory can provide a basis for dismissal. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.1990).

A court must construe the pleadings of pro se plaintiffs liberally, but it may not provide essential factual elements that have not been alleged. Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). As with all litigants, the court " must provide the pro se litigant with notice of the deficiencies of his or her complaint and an opportunity to amend the complaint prior to dismissal." McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1055 (9th Cir. 1992). Indeed, a court should ...

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