United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS AND DENYING MOTION
TO STRIKE [RE: ECF 49, 51]
LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge
Maureen Quinn brings this action pro se to challenge
the allegedly biased response of Monterey County deputies to
a long-running dispute between Plaintiff and her neighbor.
The Court previously dismissed Plaintiff’s § 1983
claim against the County in a reasoned order, but Plaintiff
has amended her pleadings to add new claims and introduce new
Defendants, including individual County employees and her
neighbor’s family member who resides in Idaho.
Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s amended complaint
still fails to state a claim and that further amendment would
be futile. Defendants therefore ask the Court to dismiss the
case with prejudice. For the reasons stated below, the Court
GRANTS Defendants’ motions.
alleges the following. Plaintiff has owned property in
Monterey County since 1996 and she began building her home
and agriculture business there in 2000. FAC ¶ 6.
Plaintiff brings this action against seven defendants: Thomas
Tankersley, who resides in Idaho but has owned the parcel of
land abutting Plaintiff’s property to the north since
2006; the County of Monterey; and six County employees: Steve
Bernal, Jason Sclimenti, John Burdick, Lloyd Foster, and Nick
Kennedy (“Individual County Defendants”).
Id. ¶¶ 6, 7. Because many of
Plaintiff’s allegations also concern non-party Steve
Tankersley, the Court refers to Defendant Thomas Tankersley
as “Tankersley” and Steve Tankersley as
dispute arises largely from harassment Plaintiff has
allegedly faced from Steve, often emanating from
Tankersley’s property, and the County and its
employees’ alleged failure to sufficiently respond.
Plaintiff alleges that the Individual County Defendants have
a powerful alliance with and bias in favor of Steve.
Id. ¶ 24. Specifically, Bernal, who is now
Sheriff of Monterey County, is personal friends with the
Tankersley family, who were among the primary financial
contributors to Bernal’s campaign for Sheriff.
Id. ¶ 29. Meanwhile, other defendants,
including Foster, have an interest in protecting the
Tankersleys in order to stay in good favor with now-Sheriff
Bernal. Id. ¶ 33.
alleges that Tankersley’s parcel of land is vacant and
undeveloped, but that other members of the Tankersley family
own parcels to the north and west of Tankersley’s land
and have installed a private easement road along his parcel
to access their property. Id. ¶¶ 7, 8;
see also Exh. 1 to FAC. The road is 45 feet from
Plaintiff’s property. Id. ¶ 9.
uses the private easement road to harass and threaten
Plaintiff in an attempt to get Plaintiff’s property for
himself. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. The harassment has
taken the form of speeding by in trucks, ATVs, and
motorcycles; spinning the tires to kick up dirt and rocks at
Plaintiff; and directing high-beam car lights at her
residence and revving his engine at night. Id.
¶ 12. Plaintiff has alerted Tankersley of the nuisance
on two occasions: first, through an attorney in June 2008 and
second, on an unspecified date, by mailing him 2008 court
mediation orders. Id. ¶¶ 13, 25.
early 2013, Steve and a friend began to fly in a helicopter
less than 100 feet above Plaintiff’s property, at times
with a video camera or a rifle sticking out. Id.
¶ 16. After Steve and his friend ignored an FAA
investigator’s warnings, the FAA investigator advised
Plaintiff to contact local law enforcement. Id.
¶¶ 17, 18. Plaintiff did so, but her calls resulted
in grossly subjective reports, biased in favor of Steve and
his friend. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff then sued
Steve’s friend in state court. Id. ¶ 19.
the helicopter incident, Steve escalated his harassment
because he knew he had the support of the Monterey County
deputies. Id. ¶ 20. Steve placed a metal target
on Tankersley’s property, in front of Plaintiff’s
home, and began firing high-powered rifles at the target.
Id. ¶ 20. On November 17, 2013, Plaintiff heard
a shot originating from Steve’s property and then saw a
bullet strike the ground less than 100 feet from where she
was standing. Id. ¶ 21. Plaintiff called the
Monterey County Sheriff’s department. Sclimenti and
Foster responded but fabricated material facts in their
report and did not require Steve to comply with state laws
and NRA regulations regarding his target. Id. ¶
alleges that this contrasted sharply with the treatment she
received for a pistol target she had installed on her
property in June 2008. After Steve contacted the Monterey
County Sherriff’s Department, deputies arrived on
Plaintiff’s property and concluded that her target
complied with NRA regulations, but asked her to adjust the
draw angle for optimum safety. Id. ¶ 15.
evening on or about December 2013, Plaintiff was shaken out
of her chair by an explosion. She called 911 to report that a
bomb had exploded on Steve’s property. Kennedy and
other officers arrived at Plaintiff’s home in about 30
minutes. Id. ¶ 22. Kennedy refused to go
investigate on Steve’s property because of the late
hour. Id. ¶ 24.
months later, on April 6, 2014, Plaintiff was walking back
from firing at her target when Steve began to fire rifles at
the target on Tankersley’s property and in her
direction. Steve then drove to Plaintiff’s house,
stopped on the private easement road 50 feet from
Plaintiff’s house, and fired five rounds in rapid
succession. Id. ¶ 26. Plaintiff called 911 and
Bernal and Burdick came to investigate. Id.
¶¶ 26-27. Plaintiff again complained that the
target on Tankersley’s property was not compliant with
the law. Bernal and Burdick told her to install a
surveillance camera. Id. ¶ 27.
next day, Sergeant Irons directed Bernal and Burdick to
return to investigate further, and Plaintiff showed them
where Steve had been standing when he fired. Nevertheless,
Bernal and Burdick did not require Steve to bring his target
into compliance with state law and NRA regulations. This
enabled Steve to continue endangering Plaintiff’s life
with target practice. Id. ¶ 28.
alleges that Bernal told Steve that Plaintiff was going to
install security cameras even though she had made clear that
she did not intend to do so. Id. ¶ 29. This
enraged Steve who spent the next week driving to
Plaintiff’s home every day to video tape her and fired