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Holden v. Target Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 21, 2016

TARGET CORPORATION and Does 1-25, Defendants.


          JON S. TIGAR United States District Judge.

         Before the court is Defendant Target Corporation’s Motion to Dismiss. ECF No 3. The Court will grant the motion as to the Plaintiff’s claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress with prejudice; grant the motion as to Plaintiff’s claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation with leave to amend; and deny the motion as to all remaining claims.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual History

         Plaintiff Curtisha Holden, who is appearing pro se, claims that she was injured by Defendant Target’s loss prevention employee after she was caught shoplifting at a Target store in Emeryville, California. Her complaint includes the following factual allegations:

I was caught shoplifting on [blank space] 2016 and I was escorted to the back. They asked me to go into the room without my sons (loss prevention). I told them that I can’t leave my sons with someone that I don’t know and the loss prevention male who was working that day grabbed me by my arm and put me in a armhold [sic] bar. He pushed me in the room and the other guard was calling me a bitch and saying CPS was going to take my children. The loss prevention officer who had my arm pulled my arm all the way up my back and threatened to break my arm and called me a bitch in front of my son. I was screaming for help. Other employees near the room [were] laughing. I was physically hurt and I am hurt still today. This incident [occurred] in [E]meryville, CA.

ECF No. 1-1, Ex. A at 6.

         B. Procedural History

         Holden filed a civil action in Alameda County Superior Court against Defendants Target Corporation and John Does 1-25. ECF No. 1-1, Ex. A at 2. Her complaint alleges the following causes of action: (1) negligence, (2) negligent infliction of emotional distress, (3) intentional tort, (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress, and (5) defamation. ECF No. 1-1, Ex. A at 5-6. Holden alleges injuries in the form of “hospital and medical expenses, ” “general damage, ” “emotional distress, ” “ongoing pain in right arm, ” “restricted movement in right arm, ” and a “mental change in [her] sons [sic] behavior.” Id. Holden seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Id.


         This Court has diversity jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because the parties are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. ECF Nos. 1, 12.


         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” in order to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the claims in the complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). In analyzing a motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Retail Prop. Trust v. United Bd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., 768 F.3d 938, 945 (9th Cir. 2014). The Court also liberally construes the pleadings of pro se litigants. See Zichko v. Idaho, 247 F.3d 1015, 1020 (9th Cir. 2001).

         “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. 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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). In the Ninth Circuit, “[i]f there are two alternative explanations, one advanced by defendant and the other advanced by plaintiff, both of which are plausible, plaintiff’s complaint survives a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Plaintiff’s complaint may be dismissed only when defendant’s plausible alternative explanation is so convincing that plaintiff’s explanation is implausible.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir.2011) (emphasis in original).


         Target moves the Court to dismiss all claims against it for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). ECF No. 3. ...

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