United States District Court, E.D. California
RENEE’ L. MARTIN, Plaintiff,
AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA NEVADA AND UTAH, et al., Defendants.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the court on defendant CSAA Insurance
Exchange’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s
complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 6. For the
reasons explained below, defendant’s motion must be
complaint alleges that plaintiff is the owner of real
property located at 2428 Covered Wagon Circle, Elverta,
California (the “subject property”), which she
used as a rental property. Compl. (ECF No. 1) 3-4. From 2003
to present, the subject property was insured by a rental
insurance policy that plaintiff maintained with defendant.
Id. at 5-6.
visited the property on December 2, 2013, and discovered that
the property was in poor condition. Id. at 7.
Plaintiff believes that the property was vandalized by the
prior tenants, who vacated the property on that date.
Id. The damage included carpets that were urine
saturated and had burnt iron marks and “large red
blotches throughout”; cuts in the floor; broken doors,
appliances, and fixtures; and damage to drywall and exterior
framing. Id. at 7. Plaintiff allegedly submitted a
claim with defendant under her insurance “policy to
restore the property back to the condition before it was
vandalized, damaged or destroyed.” Id.
Defendant paid plaintiff $7, 812.41 to cover damage to the
property and approximately $6, 125.00 for loss of rent.
Id. at 8. However, plaintiff claims that defendant
has failed to pay an addition $34, 689.59 for “work
that needs to be done” and $22, 614 for loss of rent.
Id. Plaintiff further alleges that defendant’s
refusal “to pay the claim adequately” was
“racially motivated because she is a Black
female.” Id. at 9 (internal quotations
Rule 12(b)(6) Standard
survive dismissal for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain more than a
“formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action”; it must contain factual allegations sufficient
to “raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). “The pleading must contain something
more . . . than . . . a statement of facts that merely
creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of
action.” Id. (quoting 5 C. Wright & A.
Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216,
pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004)). “[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 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
“A claim has facial plausibility when plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. Dismissal is appropriate based
either on the lack of cognizable legal theories or the lack
of pleading sufficient facts to support cognizable legal
theories. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t,
901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept as
true the allegations of the complaint in question,
Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hosp. Trs., 425 U.S. 738,
740 (1976), construe the pleading in the light most favorable
to the party opposing the motion, and resolve all doubts in
the pleader’s favor. Jenkins v. McKeithem, 395
U.S. 411, 421, reh’g denied, 396 U.S. 869
(1969). The court will “presume that general
allegations embrace those specific facts that are necessary
to support the claim.’” Nat’l Org. for
Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249, 256 (1994)
(quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S.
555, 561 (1992)).
pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972); Bretz v. Kelman, 773 F.2d 1026, 1027 n.1
(9th Cir. 1985). The Ninth Circuit has held that the less
stringent standard for pro se parties is now higher in light
of Iqbal and Twombly, but the court still
continues to construe pro se filings liberally. Hebbe v.
Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). However, the
court’s liberal interpretation of a pro se
litigant’s pleading may not supply essential elements
of a claim that are not pled. Pena v. Gardner, 976
F.2d 469, 471 (9th Cir. 1992); Ivey v. Bd. of Regents of
Univ. of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982).
Furthermore, “[t]he court is not required to accept
legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations if
those conclusions cannot reasonably be drawn from the facts
alleged.” Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18
F.3d 752, 754-55 (9th Cir. 1994). Neither need the court
accept unreasonable inferences, or unwarranted deductions of
fact. W. Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624
(9th Cir. 1981).
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court may
consider facts established by exhibits attached to the
complaint. Durning v. First Boston Corp., 815 F.2d
1265, 1267 (9th Cir. 1987). The court may also consider facts
which may be judicially noticed, Mullis v. U.S. Bankr.
Ct., 828 F.2d 1385, 1388 (9th Cir. 1987), and matters of
public record, including pleadings, orders, and other papers
filed with the court, Mack v. South Bay Beer
Distribs., 798 F.2d 1279, 1282 (9th Cir. 1986).
complaint purports to allege four causes of action: (1)
breach of contract; (2) civil rights violations; (3)
intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (4)
punitive damages. ECF No. 1 at 6-15. Defendant moves to
dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that
plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to support
each claim for relief. ECF No. 6.
Breach of Contract
argues that plaintiff’s breach of contract claim must
be dismissed because the complaint fails to allege the terms
of the contract that ...