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Corona v. City of Los Angeles

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 9, 2017

VICKI CORONA, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          HONORABLE KENLY KIYA KATO United States Magistrate Judge.

         I.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Vicki Corona (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a Complaint (“Complaint”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) alleging defendants City of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, and Does 1 through 10 (“Defendants”) violated her Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff also raises state law claims, as well as violations of Sections 80.07 and 80.10 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code.[1] As discussed below, the Court dismisses the Complaint with leave to amend.

         II.

         ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT

         On April 18, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint pursuant to Section 1983 against Defendants. ECF Docket No. (“Dkt.”) 1. According to the Complaint, in January 2017, defendant Garcetti issued Ordinance # 184590 (“Ordinance”), which Plaintiff alleges is “discriminatory” and “wages war against the homeless through widespread deceit, fraud, misconduct, extortion, and misrepresentations of the Supreme Law of the Land.” Id. at 1, 3. Plaintiff alleges that because of the “national economic downturn during the last few years, ” many individuals have been forced “to make their car their home.” Id. Plaintiff alleges the Ordinance targets this “specific group of vulnerable people, forbidding them to park within 500 feet of a park, school, or daycare center at all times, as well as residential streets between 9 PM and 8 AM.” Id. at 3. Plaintiff further alleges those targeted by the Ordinance “were promised safe, parking spots, yet no such designated lots or space exist.” Id. Plaintiff claims, as a result of the Ordinance, people “are being criminalized, bullied, discriminated against, harassed, displaced, threatened, and thrown into isolated, obscure, unfamiliar, outlying areas of the CITY.” Id. Specifically, Plaintiff claims the Ordinance places her, as a single female, “into unimaginable danger and severely limits or denies her access to places essential to her work and well-being.” Id.

         Plaintiff alleges the Ordinance violates her due process right under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments because it deprives her of her “right to be secure in her property” by “destroy[ing] its value” and “restrict[ing] or interrup[ing] its common, necessary or profitable use.” Id. at 5. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges the Ordinance infringes upon her right “to travel and park without licensing, registration, etc.” Id. at 6. Plaintiff also claims the Ordinance violates her Fourth Amendment right because it “allows government employees to peer through car windows to determine if someone is living therein.” Id. Plaintiff additionally alleges the Ordinances impairs her “freedom to travel and park without licensing, registration, etc.” Id. at 6. Lastly, Plaintiff appears to allege a violation under the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause because the Ordinance specifically targets homeless individuals living in their car. Id. at 3, 6.

         Plaintiff additionally raises state law claims for (1) fraud because her car does not fall under the definition of “motor vehicle” and thus is not subject to the Ordinance; and (2) extortion because the Ordinance threatens fines and force for “infractions which are not crime and are not arrestable offenses.” Id. at 8, 10. Lastly, Plaintiff claims the Ordinance violates Sections 80.07 and 80.10 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, which require sign postings to inform Los Angeles residents of the Ordinance. Id. at 7-11.

         As a result of these claims, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and $500, 000 in punitive damages. Id. at 13.

         III.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         As Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must screen the Complaint and is required to dismiss the case at any time if it concludes the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998).

         In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim for screening purposes, the Court applies the same pleading standard from Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule 8”) as it would when evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). Under Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim “where there is no cognizable legal theory or an absence of sufficient facts alleged to support a cognizable legal theory.” Zamani v. Carnes, 491 F.3d 990, 996 (9th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). In considering whether a complaint states a claim, a court must accept as true all of the material factual allegations in it. Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 892-93 (9th Cir. 2011). However, the court need not accept as true “allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). Although a complaint need not include detailed factual allegations, it “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Cook v. Brewer, 637 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). A claim is facially plausible when it “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Cook, 637 F.3d at 1004 (citation omitted).

         “A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Woods v. Carey, 525 F.3d 886, 889-90 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). “[W]e have an obligation where the p[laintiff] is pro se, particularly in civil rights cases, to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford ...


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