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Jardine-Byrne v. Santa Cruz County

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

March 20, 2017

ANTOINETTE JARDINE-BYRNE, Plaintiff,
v.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS RE: DKT. NOS. 19, 29

          EDWARD J. DAVILA United States District Judge.

         Antoinette Jardine Byrne (“Plaintiff”) brings this action against Santa Cruz County (“County”), the County of Santa Cruz Board of Law Library Trustees, and individuals library employees Renee Fleming and Julia Hill (“Library Defendants”), alleging various violations of her federal and state constitutional rights arising from the suspension of her after-hours access to the Santa Cruz County Law Library. See Dkt. No. 1 (“Compl.”) at ¶¶ 1-8. Plaintiff asserts six causes of action that she identifies as follows:

1. “Petition for Writ of Mandate, C.C.P. §1085;”
2. “Violation of Constitutional Rights Title 42 Section 1983 Retaliation for Exercise of First and Fourteenth Amendment Right to Petition Government for Redress of Grievance;”
3. “Violation of Substantive and Procedural Due Process Due Process Clause of Fourteenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution Violation of Brown Act and Bagley-Keene Acts;”
4. “Denial of Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Title 42 Section 1983;”
5. “Violation of State Constitutiona1 Rights Bane Act CCP 52.1 (b);” and
6. “Preliminary and Permanent Injunction Relief”

See Compl. at ¶¶ 33, 37, 46, 52, 55. Presently before the court are separate motions to dismiss brought by the County and the Library Defendants. Dkt. Nos. 19, 29.

         Federal jurisdiction arises pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1367. These matters are suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b). Accordingly, the hearing scheduled for March 23, 2017, is VACATED. After carefully considering Plaintiff's allegations and the papers submitted by both parties in this matter, the court finds the defendants' motions well-taken. Accordingly, the court will grant dismissal for the reasons explained below.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a resident of Santa Cruz County who had been granted after-hours access to the Santa Cruz County Law Library (the “Library”) since 2007. Comp. at ¶ 19. However, Plaintiff's after-hours access was suspended by Library employees on March 21, 2016. Id. at ¶ 10. Though the pleading lack clarity, as the court understands the allegations, the incident that resulted in Plaintiff's suspension is as follows.

         On the evening of March 17, 2016, Plaintiff brought a personal “office instrument” - a scanner - into the Library. Id. at ¶¶ 13-14. Plaintiff contends that this was the first time she had ever brought such an instrument to the Library, and that she did so for safekeeping so that it would not get stolen from her vehicle. Id. at 14. An unnamed Library employee then reported that Plaintiff used the scanner at the Library that night. Id. at ¶ 13. Defendant Renee Fleming (“Fleming”), the librarian at the Law Library, then suspended Plaintiff's after-hours access, explaining that Plaintiff's alleged use of a personal scanner in the Library “boke library rules.” Id. at ¶¶ 4, 10, 16. Plaintiff maintains that she never used the scanner while at the Library. Id. at ¶ 13. Fleming left Plaintiff a voicemail informing her of the suspension of her after-hours access on March 21, 2016. Id. at 10.

         Plaintiff's regular access to the Library during daytime hours was unaffected by the suspension. However, Plaintiff asserts that daytime hours are “not conducive to a pro se” due to increased demand for resources, high volume of patrons, and increased noise and interruptions. Id. at ¶ 19. She contends that this is inconvenient for her as a pro se litigant because she has numerous pending cases, the legal demands of which require after-hours access to the Library. Id.

         Plaintiff then requested and/or indicated her desire to appeal her suspension to the Santa Cruz Board of Law Library Trustees (the “Trustee Board”). Id. at ¶ 22. Although Plaintiff alleges she did not receive “notice nor agenda” of the Board Meeting, on April 29, 2016, Plaintiff appeared at the Meeting to contest the suspension of her after after-hours library privileges. See id. at ¶¶ 24, 25, 26, 31, 33, 34, 40. The Board denied Plaintiff's appeal and informed Plaintiff of the decision by mail on June 4, 2016. Id. at ¶ 31. Plaintiff filed the instant action on June 13, 2016. See Dkt. No. 1.

         II. ...


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