United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
(Doc. No. 35)
ANTHONY J. BATTAGLIA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Respondents United States Attorney's
Office for the Southern District of California, Federal
Bureau of Prison, Western Regional Office, and the United
States Marshal for the Southern District of California's
(collectively referred to as “Respondents”)
motion to dismiss Petitioner Jesus Estevez's
(“Petitioner”) Freedom of Information Act
(“FOIA”) and Privacy Act claims against nine
individual respondents. (Doc. No. 35.) Having reviewed the
parties' arguments, the Court finds this motion suitable
for determination on the papers and without oral argument in
accordance with Civil Local Rule 7.1.d.1. For the reasons set
forth more fully below, the Court GRANTS Respondents'
March 21, 2017, Petitioner filed his first amended complaint
(“FAC”). (Doc. No. 33.) In addition to
Petitioner's previous claims that he is being denied
access to records under the FOIA, the Privacy Act, and the
California Public Records Act, Petitioner also names nine new
individual respondents: Laura E. Duffy; Crystaline Smith;
Susan B. Gerson; Dennis M. Wong; Angela C. Brooks; William E.
Bordley; Sean O'Neill; Christina D. Troiani; and Thomas
D. Anderson (collectively referred to as “Individual
Respondents”). (Id. at 1, 5.) On March 29,
2017, Respondents filed a motion to dismiss the Individual
Respondents with prejudice. (Doc. No. 35.) Petitioner filed a
non-opposition to Respondents' motion on April 10, 2017.
(Doc. No. 37.)
Motion to Dismiss
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal
sufficiency of a plaintiff's complaint and allows a court
to dismiss a complaint upon a finding that the plaintiff has
failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
See Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir.
2001). “[A] court may dismiss a complaint as a matter
of law for (1) lack of a cognizable legal theory or (2)
insufficient facts under a cognizable legal claim.”
SmileCare Dental Grp. v. Delta Dental Plan of Cal.,
88 F.3d 780, 783 (9th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted). However,
a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss if it contains
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In making this
determination, a court reviews the contents of the complaint,
accepting all factual allegations as true, and drawing all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.
Cedars-Sinai Med. Ctr. v. Nat'l League of Postmasters
of U.S., 497 F.3d 972, 975 (9th Cir. 2007).
request that Petitioner's FOIA and Privacy Act claims
against the Individual Respondents be dismissed with
prejudice. (Doc. No. 35-1 at 2.) Respondents predicate this
assertion on the fact that neither the FOIA nor the Privacy
Act allows suits to be brought against individuals.
(Id.) In response, Petitioner does not oppose
Respondents' motion to dismiss the Individual
Respondents. (Doc. No. 37 at 2.)
Court finds Respondents' motion to dismiss the Individual
Respondents to be appropriate. See Drake v. Obama,
664 F.3d 774, 785 (9th Cir. 2011) (holding that the
“FOIA does not apply to any of the [defendants because
they are all individuals, not agencies”); see also
L.A. Times Commc'n, LLC v. Dept. of the Army, 442
F.Supp.2d 880, 892 (CD. Cal. 2006) (stating that the FOIA
provides individuals with a “judicially-enforceable
right of access to government agency
documents”) (emphasis added) (citation omitted);
Rouse v. U.S. Dept. of State, 567 F.3d 408, 414 (9th
Cir. 2009) (holding that the Privacy Act can only be used
when an agency fails to maintain any record
concerning any individual) (emphasis added); Hewitt v.
Grabicki, 794 F.2d 1373, 1377 (9th Cir. 1986) (holding
that the Privacy Act only authorizes suit against an
“agency”). Accordingly, finding that no plausible
legal claim under the FOIA or the Privacy Act may be asserted
against the Individual Respondents, the Court GRANTS
reasons set forth more fully above, the Court GRANTS
Respondents' motion to dismiss Petitioner's claims
under the FOIA and the Privacy Act against the Individual
Respondents WITH PREJUDICE.