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Peterson v. Farrow

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 24, 2016

BRETT PETERSON, D.D.S.; B.O.L.T., an unincorporated association of motorcycle riders and enthusiasts; JOHN DALKE, an individual; MARK TEMPLE, an individual, Plaintiffs,
v.
JOSEPH A. FARROW, Commissioner California Highway Patrol; MICHAEL GOOLD, in his official capacity as Chief of Police of the City of Rancho Cordova; SCOTT R. JONES, in his official capacity as the Sheriff of County of Sacramento; ROBERT DIMICELI a.k.a. ROBERT DI MICELI, Officer of the California Highway Patrol; STEPHEN CARROZZO, Rancho Cordova police officer and Deputy Sheriff; KAMALA HARRIS, in her official capacity as California Attorney General, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT ATTORNEY GENERAL HARRIS’ MOTION TO DISMISS

          JOHN A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiffs Brett Peterson, B.O.L.T. (short for, “Bikers of Lesser Tolerance”), John Dalke (“Dalke”), and Mark Temple (“Temple”) sued the following Defendants-Sheriff of the County of Sacramento Scott R. Jones in his official capacity, Chief of Police of the City of Rancho Cordova Michael Goold in his official capacity, and Rancho Cordova Police Officer Stephen Carrozzo in his individual capacity (collectively, “Municipal Defendants”); California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Dimiceli in his individual capacity, and California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow in his official capacity (collectively, “State Defendants”), and California Attorney General Kamala Harris in her official capacity (“Defendant Harris”)-under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of the First, Second, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

         Defendant Harris moves to dismiss the two claims brought by Temple against her in Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint (SAC) (Doc. #44) under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rules”) 8 and 12(b)(6), or in the alternative to sever these claims under Rules 20(a) and 21 (Doc. #55). For the reasons stated below, the Court grants Defendant Harris motion to dismiss the claims brought against her.[1]

         I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         “Plaintiffs Peterson, Dalke, and Temple . . . are individuals with a class M1 motorcycle license who, at all times relevant herein, resided in the State of California.” SAC ¶ 10. “Plaintiff B.O.L.T. is an unincorporated association of motorcycle riders and enthusiasts[, ]” “focusing on the unconstitutional enforcement [and constitutionality] of helmet laws . . . .” Id. ¶¶ 11, 13.

         Plaintiffs allege that Defendants’ policies governing the issuance of helmet non-compliance citations are unconstitutional.

         Plaintiffs also allege that because Temple received a motorcycle helmet citation, Jones revoked Temple’s concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit. Id. ¶ 191. As a result, Temple asserts “a constitutional challenge to the complex statutory scheme set forth in Cal[ifornia] Penal Code [sections] 25450-25475, 26150-26225, 26300-26325, 32000-32030 as honorably retired California peace officers are granted mandatory rights, privileges and immunities which are not bestowed to Temple.” Id. ¶ 6.

         On April 10, 2015, Plaintiffs brought this action against Defendants (Doc. #1) and on July 1, 2015, Plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint (“FAC, ” Doc. #5). In response, Defendants filed motions to dismiss (Doc. ##13, 18) and the Court granted the motions under Rule 8, giving Plaintiffs leave to amend (Doc. #42). On March 3, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their SAC (Doc. #44). The SAC states nine causes of action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, including two claims specifically brought by Temple against Defendant Harris: the eighth cause of action for injunctive and declaratory relief for Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection violations and the ninth cause of action for injunctive and declaratory relief for Fourteenth Amendment Privileges or Immunities clause violations. The Court now addresses the merits of Defendant Harris’ motion to dismiss these two claims (Doc. #55).

         II. OPINION

         A. Failure to Comply with Rule 8

         Defendant Harris contends that Plaintiffs’ SAC should be dismissed for failure to abide by Rule 8(d)(1)’s requirement that “[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). The SAC sets forth which claims are being brought against which defendants in accordance with Rule 8 and while the eighth and ninth causes of action are, in part, somewhat of a mash of claims, the Court finds that they minimally satisfy the Rule 8 requirements. Defendant Harris’ motion to dismiss these two claims under Rule 8 is therefore denied.

         B. Equal Protection Claims

         1. As Applied Challenge

         Temple brings “as-applied” and “on-the-face challenge[s]” to various California statutes regulating the sale and possession of firearms. SAC ¶ 221. Defendant Harris contends that Temple has not properly alleged as applied challenges. Mot. 5:22-23. “Temple alleges that the challenged Penal Code provisions include exemptions ‘for retired peace offers’ and effectively ‘create [two] classes of citizens’-‘honorably retired peace officers’ and ‘all others.’” Id. at 6:4-6 (alteration in original) (quoting SAC ¶¶ 215, 227, 229). Temple “does not allege that any of the laws are neutral, but ...


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