United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING
DEEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS (ECF NO. 8.)
LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
Ronald Jones, John Cayanne, and Jim Glasscock (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”) file this action against Defendants
Michael Keitz (“Keitz”), John Anderson
(“Anderson”), Robert Blehm (“Blehm”),
County of Madera and County of Madera Sheriff's
Department (collectively, “County Defendants”),
and Does 1 to 100 (collectively, “Defendants”).
This action arises out of an altercation that occurred at the
Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino (“Casino”) in
Coarsegold, California and which resulted in Plaintiffs'
arrest and criminal prosecution.
bring a federal claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(“§ 1983”), alleging false arrest and
malicious prosecution under the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments, as well as various state law claims. Now before
the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the Complaint
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). This matter
is suitable for disposition without oral argument.
See Local Rule 230(g).
filed a Complaint in this Court on November 14, 2016. (ECF
No. 1.) Federal question jurisdiction exists pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331with respect to Plaintiffs' federal law
claims, and this Court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over Plaintiffs' state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367. Venue is proper in this Court.
Complaint sets forth four causes of action as to all
Defendants: (1) violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments pursuant to § 1983 (first cause of action);
(2) violation of privacy and defamation pursuant to
California law (second cause of action); (3) malicious
prosecution under California law (third cause of action); and
(4) interference with economic relation under California law
(fourth cause of action). (Id.)
moved to dismiss all causes of action stated against them.
(ECF No. 8.) Plaintiffs opposed the motion. (ECF No. 10.)
Defendants submitted a reply. (ECF No. 12.) The matter is now
ripe for review.
October 9, 2014, Plaintiffs were sworn by Chief John Oliveira
as members of the Chukchansi Tribal Police Department of the
Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians in Coarsegold,
California (“Tribal Police”). (Compl. ¶ 17.)
Plaintiffs were asked to search for an audit required by the
National Indian Gaming Commission (“NIGC”) at the
Casino. (Id. ¶ 18.) According to the Complaint,
the audit was in the possession of a “hostile”
faction of the tribe that was occupying the offices of Tribal
Gaming Commission. (Id. ¶ 20.)
October 9, 2014, Plaintiffs and seven other members of the
Tribal Police went to the Casino to obtain a copy of the
audit. (Id. ¶ 21.) They were confronted by
private security guards employed by a company named Security
Training Concepts (“STC”) and hired by the
“hostile” faction of the tribe. (Id.)
The Tribal Police detained and arrested several STC security
guards and asked the Madera County Sheriff's Department
to remove them from the premises. (Id. ¶ 23.)
Sheriff Anderson responded to the request, removed the
security guards from the premises, and released them outside
the Casino. (Id. ¶¶ 24, 26.) Anderson made
no attempt to arrest or obstruct Plaintiffs. (Id.
¶ 25.) The security guards returned to the Casino
shortly after their release and assaulted Plaintiffs.
October 31, 2014, Madera County District Attorney Keitz
“acting at the direction of Sheriff Anderson”
filed a criminal complaint against the Plaintiffs related to
the October 9, 2014 incident, alleging twenty-seven felony
counts, including kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault
with a firearm, and illegal use of a stun gun. (Id.
¶ 27.) Plaintiffs were arrested and required to post
bail “[s]hortly thereafter.” (Id.) Those
charges were ultimately dropped. (Id.)
allege that Defendants knew that the charges being brought
were baseless, and that Plaintiffs were acting pursuant to
lawful tribal authority when they detained the STC security
guards. (Id. ¶¶ 28, 29.)
STANDARD OF DECISION
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) is a challenge to the sufficiency of the allegations
set forth in the complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250
F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). A 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper
where there is either a “lack of a cognizable legal
theory” or “the absence of sufficient facts
alleged under a cognizable legal theory.”
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696,
699 (9th Cir. 1990). In determining whether a complaint
states a claim upon which relief may be granted, the Court
accepts as true the allegations in the complaint, construes
the pleading in the light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion, and resolves all doubts in the
pleader's favor. Lazy Y Ranch Ltd. v. Behrens,
546 F.3d 580, 588 (9th Cir. 2008).
Rule 8(a), 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.” A plaintiff is required to allege
“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). “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).
“The plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556).
Rule 8(a) does not require detailed factual allegations,
“it demands more than an unadorned, the
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A pleading is insufficient
if it offers mere “labels and conclusions” or
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see
also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (“Threadbare recitals
of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). Moreover, it
is inappropriate to assume that the plaintiff “can
prove facts that it has not alleged or that the defendants
have violated the . . . laws in ways that have not been
alleged[.]” Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal.,
Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519,
526 (1983). In practice, “a complaint . . . must
contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting
all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under
some viable legal theory.” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 562. In other words, the complaint must describe the
alleged misconduct in enough detail to lay the foundation for
an identified legal claim. “Dismissal without leave to
amend is proper if it is clear that the complaint could not
be saved by amendment.” Kendall v. Visa U.S.A.,
Inc., 518 F.3d 1042, 1051 (9th Cir. 2008). To the extent
that the pleadings can be cured by the allegation of
additional facts, the Court will afford the plaintiff leave
to amend. Cook, Perkiss and Liehe, Inc. v. N. Cal.
Collection Serv. Inc., 911 F.2d 242, 247 (9th Cir. 1990)
42 U.S.C. § 1983: ...