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Williams v. City of Bakersfield

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 27, 2015

KENT WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF BAKERSFIELD, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Doc. 14)

JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

Defendants City of Bakersfield, Officer Verion Coleman, and Officer Anthony McCarthy seek the dismissal of several causes of action alleged by Plaintiff Kent Williams pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 14.) Specially, Defendants seek dismissal of Plaintiff's claims for assault, battery, excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment, a violation of the Ralph Acts, and a violation of the Unruh Act. Plaintiff opposes the dismissal, arguing the factual allegations are sufficient to support his claims. (Doc. 23.)

The Court heard the oral arguments of the parties at a hearing on April 27, 2015. Because Plaintiff fails to allege facts sufficient to support these claims, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

I. Background and Factual Allegations

On December 8, 2014, Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a complaint against Defendants for violations of his rights arising under the Constitution of the United States and California law. (Doc. 1.) He filed a First Amended Complaint on January 26, 2015. (Doc. 10.)

Plaintiff alleges he is the Vice Principal of Tevis Junior High School, located in Bakersfield, California. (Doc. 10 at 5, ¶ 13.) Plaintiff is "properly licensed to carry a concealed gun." ( Id., ¶ 14.) Plaintiff asserts he had a gun at work on August 28, 2014. ( Id., ¶¶ 14-15.) He alleges that Officers Coleman and McCarthy went to Tevis Junior High School, and asked Plaintiff if he had a gun. ( Id. ) Plaintiff reports that he "answered in the affirmative, " and showed the officers "the permit that allowed him to carry the gun." ( Id., ¶ 14.) Officer McCarthy "took the permit, " and has yet to return it. ( Id. ) In addition, Plaintiff asserts Officers McCarthy and Coleman "conspired to take, and in fact took, Plaintiff's gun and have failed to return the weapon." ( Id. at 5-6, ¶ 15.)

Plaintiff alleges Officers Coleman and McCarthy, "while acting within the course and scope of their employment..., conspired to arrest, and in fact arrested, Plaintiff without probable cause, and placed him in the back of a police car." (Doc. 10 at 6, ¶ 16.) He reports that "[a]fter several hours, " he "was released by Defendants and told he committed no crime." ( Id., ¶ 19.) Further, Plaintiff alleges "Doe" officers employed by the City of Bakersfield "went to Plaintiff's home, conspired to take, and in fact took, all of Plaintiff's lawfully registered guns, and, to date, have not returned them." ( Id. ¶ 18.) According to Plaintiff, as a result of Defendants' actions, his "diabetes was exacerbated and he required medical care." ( Id., ¶ 17.) In addition, Plaintiff asserts that he "suffered physical pain, mental pain and anguish, emotional distress." ( Id. at 7, ¶ 23.)

Based upon these factual allegations, Plaintiff seeks to proceed on the following causes of action: (1) arrest, seizure and unreasonable and excessive use of force in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (2) violation of the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment; (3) deprivation of property without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; (4) violation of the Ralph Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 51.7; (5) violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code §51; (6) violation of the Bane Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1; (7) assault; (8) battery; (9) false arrest/false imprisonment; (10) possession of personal property and for damages pursuant to Cal. Civ. Code §§ 3379 and 3380; (11) conversion; (12) intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (13) negligence. ( See generally Doc. 10 at 7-26.)

In response, Defendants filed the motion to dismiss now pending before the Court, asserting: "Plaintiff's causes of action for (1) excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (2) violation of the Ralph Act; (3) violation of the Unruh Act; (4) Assault; and (5) Battery are not supported by necessary factual allegations and as such, all of these causes of action are subject to dismissal" pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 14 at 1-2.)

II. Legal Standards for a Motion to Dismiss

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion "tests the legal sufficiency of a claim." Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate when "the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory." Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med. Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097, 1104 (9th Cir. 2008). Thus, under Rule 12(b)(6), "review is limited to the complaint alone." Cervantes v. City of San Diego, 5 F.3d 1273, 1274 (9th Cir. 1993).

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The Supreme Court explained,

A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement, " but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'"

Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal citations, quotation marks omitted). Further, allegations of a complaint must be accepted as true when the Court considers a motion to dismiss. Hospital Bldg. Co. ...


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