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Burton v. City of Pasadena

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 4, 2015

BILLY BURTON
v.
CITY OF PASADENA, ET AL

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL O'

CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.

Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS): DEFENDANT CITY OF PASADENA'S MOTION TO DISMISS OR FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT (Dkt. No. 7, filed January 7, 2015)

DEFENDANT COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES' MOTION TO DISMISS (Dkt. No. 11, filed January 9, 2015)

DEFENDANT STATE OF CALIFORNIA'S MOTION TO DISMISS (Dkt. No. 14, filed January 23, 2015)

DEFENDANT GREYHOUND LINES, INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS (Dkt. No. 16, filed January 23, 2015)

The Court finds these motions appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing dates of February 9, 2015 and February 23, 2015 are vacated, and the matters are hereby taken under submission.

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 10, 2014, plaintiff filed this lawsuit against defendants the City of Pasadena, California (the "City"), Sam Suliman ("Suliman"), Greyhound Lines, Inc. ("Greyhound"), Bruce T. McIntosh ("McIntosh"), the County of Los Angeles, California (the "County"), the State of California (the "State"), the United States of America (the "United States"), Stan Mathiouslais, M.D. ("Mathiouslais"), and Huntington Orthopedics ("Huntington"). Dkt. No. 1. The complaint appears to raise claims for relief for constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq.; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2; and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. Id.

On January 7, 2015, the City filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint or, in the alternative, for a more definite statement. Dkt. No. 7. On January 9, 2015, the County filed a motion to dismiss. Dkt. No. 10. The State and Greyhound filed separate motions to dismiss on January 23, 2015. Dkt. Nos. 14, 16. Defendant did not file an opposition to any of the instant motions.[1] For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS each motion with leave to amend.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's complaint is not a model of clarity, but the Court gleans from it the following facts, which are taken as true for purposes of the instant motions to dismiss. On February 1, 2014, plaintiff subleased a housing unit from Suliman. Compl. at 6:8-10. Beginning on August 1, 2014, plaintiff notified the City of certain problems associated with the housing unit (including utilities and safety issues) but neither the City nor the County has forced Suliman or McIntosh, Suliman's attorney, to comply with applicable housing codes. Id. at 6:12-21.

Suliman brought an unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior Court against parties including plaintiff, and obtained a judgment against plaintiff, which plaintiff has refused to pay.[2] Id. at 7:4-10. Plaintiff alleges that he has appealed from this ruling. Id. at 7:22-26. He also asks the Court to review the unlawful detainer action for state and federal civil rights violations. Id. at 9:2-3.

Los Angeles County sheriffs evicted plaintiff from his housing unit for refusing to pay the court judgment, allegedly at the direction of the City, the County, Suliman, and McIntosh.[3] Id. at 7:10-12. Plaintiff alleges that the sheriffs gave him only five minutes to vacate the property, allowed him only five days to remove his belongings from the property, and evicted small children from the property as well. Id. at 7:12-17, 9:11-12. He asserts that the City, County, Suliman, and McIntosh stole some of his personal property during the eviction process. Id. at 9:13-14. Plaintiff contends that "the housing eviction standard was violated by defendants" through these acts. Id. at 7:17-19. Plaintiff alleges that the County also made it difficult for him to retrieve his personal property from the housing unit, and that County officers threatened to arrest him for trespassing on the property. Id. at 9:23-10:19. He also asserts that all evicted tenants were minorities, id. at 7:27, and that the County discriminated against him in the eviction, id. at 9:20-21.

Plaintiff also asserts that the City charged him for utilities bills for which he was not responsible. Id. at 10:20-11:5. Plaintiff alleges, without elaboration, that "[i]t is clear [the City, Suliman, and McIntosh] are discriminating against USA Veterans, poor Americans, and me." Id. at 6:21-22.

Plaintiff also alleges that in July 2014, he bought a Greyhound bus ticket for his step-grandson to travel from Tucson, Arizona to El Monte, California. Greyhound allegedly lost the step-grandson's baggage, and has not recovered the baggage or otherwise remedied the situation despite entreaties by plaintiff and his wife. Id. at 8:5-13.

Plaintiff alleges that the State has "failed to offer the proper guidelines for implementing the housing codes in the State of California." Id. at 11:14-16. Similarly, he alleges that the United States has "failed to establish Federal guidelines for rental housing evictions." Id. at 14:26-27. Finally, he alleges that Mathiouslais and Huntington improperly refused to render medical assistance by not providing him with the drug NORCO, and by trying to get plaintiff to have an unspecified medical operation. Id. at 12:11-22. He alleges that the United States caused the NORCO-related violation by changing the patient requirements for using that drug. Id. at 12:23-25.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in a complaint. Under this Rule, a district court properly dismisses a claim if "there is a lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.'" Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1242 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Balisteri v. Pacifica Polic Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988)). "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." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). "[F]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id.

In considering a motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept as true all material allegations in the complaint, as well as all reasonable inferences to be drawn from them. Pareto v. FDIC, 139 F.3d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1998). The complaint must be read in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001); Parks Sch. of Bus., Inc. v. Symington, 51 F.3d 1480, 1484 (9th Cir. 1995). However, "[i]n keeping with these principles a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009); see Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) ("[F]or 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."). Ultimately, "[d]etermining 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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

Unless a court converts a Rule 12(b)(6) motion into a motion for summary judgment, a court cannot consider material outside of the complaint (e.g., facts presented in briefs, affidavits, or discovery materials). In re American Cont'l Corp./Lincoln Sav. & Loan Sec. Litig., 102 F.3d 1524, 1537 (9th Cir. 1996), rev'd on other grounds sub nom Lexecon, Inc. v. Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, 523 U.S. 26 (1998). A court may, however, consider exhibits submitted with or alleged in the complaint and matters that may be judicially noticed pursuant to Federal Rule of ...


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