United States District Court, S.D. California
OCEANSIDE ORGANICS; OCEANSIDE FARM TO TABLE, INC.; ALAN SHELTON; JUSTINE SHELTON; RON MIROLLA; LISA RIGG; MICHAEL WINKLEMAN; SARAH DYAL; ANTHONY CARBONNE; RICHARD DAVIS; DAVID SNYDER; DUANE LEWIS; SANDRA LEWIS; WAYNE LARSON; SHAWN SMITH; KYLE SNELLER; BUCK HUTCHERSON; LOGAN PIERCE; BROOK BISHOP; RON BOCIAN, Plaintiffs,
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT; WILLIAM GORE; TIM CLARK; MATT STEVENS; and DOES 1-10 inclusive, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFFS'
SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT (ECF 33)
L. SAMMARTINO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint. (“MTD,
” ECF No. 33.) Also before the Court is Plaintiffs'
Response in Opposition to, (“Opp'n, ” ECF No.
35), and Defendants' Reply in Support of, (“Reply,
” ECF No. 37), the MTD. Having considered the
parties' arguments and the law, the Court
GRANTS Defendants' MTD and
DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE Plaintiffs'
Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”).
Oceanside Organics is a “closed loop marijuana
collective” operating in San Diego County, California.
(SAC ¶ 19, ECF No. 32.) The other plaintiffs are
Oceanside Organics' eighteen individual members and a
corporation formed to purchase the property upon which
Oceanside Organics grows its medical marijuana. (Id.
¶¶ 3-18, 20.)
agreed to contact local law enforcement to ensure the
legality and compliance of their collective. (Id.
¶ 28.) In mid-July 2014, Plaintiffs' counsel
contacted Defendant Tim Clark, a Deputy Sheriff with the San
Diego County Sheriff's Department. (Id.
¶¶ 22, 29.) In the course of their correspondence,
Plaintiffs' counsel provided to Defendant Clark
“copies of all valid recommendations” for medical
marijuana. (Id. ¶ 30.) Plaintiffs also
“acquired state medical marijuana cards as requested by
[D]eputy Clark.” (Id.) According to
Plaintiffs' counsel, “Deputy Clark repeatedly
indicated to [Plaintiffs' counsel] that no legal action
would be taken against the collective operation and that
nobody at the cultivation site would be subject to
“Deputy Clark conspired with [D]eputy Stevens[, another
Deputy Sheriff with the San Diego County Sheriff's
Department, ] to have an illegal search warrant issued which
was based on a knowingly false affidavit.”
(Id. ¶¶ 23, 31.) Specifically, Defendants
“falsely sw[ore] under oath that the marijuana was
being cultivated illegally, despite the knowledge of both
[Defendants] that the marijuana was being cultivated
legally.” (Id. ¶ 31.) On September 12,
2014, Plaintiffs' property was raided, (id.
¶¶ 29, 32), and Plaintiffs Shawn Smith and Kyle
Sneller were arrested by Defendants Clark and Stevens
“without probable cause, ” (id.
¶¶ 14, 15, 29, 32, 50, 55). “At the time of
the raid . . ., there were over 20 valid members of the
collective and 31 medical marijuana plants on site.”
(Id. ¶ 32.)
result of Defendants' actions, Plaintiffs “suffered
loss of illegally confiscated medical marijuana, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of
emotional distress, false arrest, [and] violation of civil
rights under the Constitution of the United . . . States and
the State of California.” (Id. ¶ 33.)
Plaintiffs further allege that
The County of San Diego, through the actions of the Board of
Supervisors, the District Attorney's Office and the
Sheriff's Department maintain a custom, policy and
practice of violating the legal rights of valid medical
marijuana patients in San Diego County by failing to properly
train and supervise deputies regarding the obligation of the
deputies to follow the statutory scheme created by the
citizens of the State of California to allow cultivation of
marijuana in California for medical use, by creating and
allowing an enviroment [sic] in which deputies are encouraged
and allowed to violated their oath to uphold the laws of the
State of California, by creating and allowing an environment
in which deputies are encouraged and allowed to violate the
laws of the State of California, by creating and allowing an
environment in which illegal searches, false search warrant
affidavits, false arrests and false criminal prosecutions are
encouraged and allowed, by ratifying this illegal conduct of
their deputies and by creating and allowing an environment in
which deputies are encouraged and allowed to violate the
guidelines of the Attorney General for the State of
California regarding the security and non-diversion of
marijuana grown for medical use in the State of California as
well as encouraged to violate prohibitions of the
Constitution of the United States against false arrest
without probable cause and illegal search and siezue [sic]
through knowingly false search warrant affidavits.
(Id. ¶ 25.) “As a proximate result of the
custom, policy and practice of the County of San Diego an
illegal warrant was issued, [and the] illegal raid . . .
t[ook] place . . . .” (Id. ¶ 39.)
April 17, 2015, Plaintiffs filed their original Complaint,
setting forth six causes of action against Defendants Stevens
and Clark or “all Individual Defendants” under
both 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) and
California law. (ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 40-64.) Plaintiffs
also alleged a separate cause of action under Section 1983
against Defendants County of San Diego and the San Diego
County Sheriff's Department. (Id. ¶¶
35-39.) The Complaint also named Sheriff William Gore as a
defendant, alleging only that he “is the chief
policymaker and decision maker for the San Diego County
Sheriff's Department on all issues regarding proper
police training.” (Id. ¶ 21.)
County Defendants filed their MTD on June 22, 2015 (ECF No.
5), and Plaintiffs filed their Request for Preliminary
Injunction on June 25, 2015, (ECF No. 7). On November 30,
2015, the Court granted the County Defendants' MTD and
denied Plaintiffs' Request for Preliminary Injunction.
(ECF No. 22.)
filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) on
February 17, 2016 (ECF No. 23), and Defendants filed a MTD on
March 2, 2016. (ECF No. 25.) The Court granted
Defendants' MTD in its entirety on October 20, 2016. (ECF
filed a Second Amended Complaint on November 4, 2016. (ECF
No. 32.) Defendants filed the instant MTD on November 18,
2016. (ECF No. 33.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a party to raise by
motion the defense that the complaint “fail[s] to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted, ” generally
referred to as a motion to dismiss. The Court evaluates
whether a complaint states a cognizable legal theory and
sufficient facts in light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(a), which requires a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Although Rule 8 “does not require
‘detailed factual allegations, ' . . . it [does]
demand more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). In other words, “a plaintiff's obligation
to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S.
265, 286 (1986)). A complaint will not suffice “if it
tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 557).
order 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.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A
claim is facially plausible when the facts pled “allow
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 677 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
That is not to say that the claim must be probable, but there
must be “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant
has acted unlawfully.” Id. Facts
“‘merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability” fall short of a plausible entitlement to
relief. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
557). Further, the Court need not accept as true “legal
conclusions” contained in the complaint. Id.
This review requires context-specific analysis involving the
Court's “judicial experience and common
sense.” Id. at 678 (citation omitted).
“[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court
to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the
complaint has alleged-but it has not
‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to
complaint does not survive 12(b)(6) analysis, the Court will
grant leave to amend unless it determines that no modified
contention “consistent with the challenged pleading . .
. [will] cure the deficiency.” DeSoto v. Yellow
Freight Sys., Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir. 1992)
(quoting Schriber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture
Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir. 1986)).
First Cause of Action: Violation of Civil Rights (Section
1983) Against County Defendants (Monell Theory of
first cause of action claims violation of civil rights under
Section 1983 against Defendants County of San Diego and San
Diego County Sheriff's Department, (collectively, the
“County Defendants”). A government entity may not
be held liable under Section 1983 unless a policy, practice,
or custom of the entity can be shown to be a moving force
behind a violation of constitutional rights. Monell v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs. of the City of N.Y., 436 U.S.
658, 694 (1978). To establish liability for governmental
entities under Monell, a “plaintiff must show:
(1) that [the plaintiff] possessed a constitutional right of
which [s]he was deprived; (2) that the municipality had a
policy; (3) that this policy amounts to deliberate
indifference to the plaintiff's constitutional right;
and, (4) that the policy is the moving force behind the
constitutional violation.” Plumeau v. Sch. Dist.
No. 40 Cty. of Yamhill, 130 F.3d 432, 438 (9th Cir.
1997) (alterations in original) (quoting Oviatt ex rel.
Waugh v. Pearce, 954 F.2d 1470, 1474 (9th Cir. 1992))
(internal quotation marks omitted).
[T]here are three ways to show a policy or custom of a
municipality: (1) by showing “a longstanding practice
or custom which constitutes the standard operating procedure
of the local government entity”; (2) “by showing
that the decision-making official was, as a matter of state
law, a final policymaking authority whose edicts or acts may
fairly be said to represent official policy in the area of
decision”; or (3) “by showing that an official