United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING THE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT RE: DKT.
NOS. 64, 65.
C. SPERO Chief Magistrate Judge.
Daniel P. Klahn Sr. brings this action against several
government entities and law-enforcement officers alleging
violations of his constitutional rights that stem from his
arrest and detention. In past orders, the Court granted
Klahn's application to proceed in forma pauperis and,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), dismissed many of
his claims with prejudice. In its most recent order, the
Court granted Klahn leave to amend two claims against the
County of Alameda. Klahn has since filed a Third Amended
Complaint, which asserts claims against the County of Alameda
and other defendants. The County of Alameda moves to strike
or dismiss the Third Amended Complaint with prejudice. The
Court finds the motion suitable for determination without
oral argument. See Civil L.R. 7-1(b). For the
reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS the motion and
DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE all claims against the County of
Alameda. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court
DISMISSES the other claims in the Third Amended Complaint,
some with leave to amend and some without, as discussed
below. If Klahn wishes to file a Fourth Amended Complaint, he
must do so no later than June 12,
February 19, 2016, Klahn filed an original Complaint, dkt.
no. 1, and an application to proceed in forma pauperis, dkt.
no. 2. The Court granted Klahn's application to proceed
in forma pauperis and conducted an initial review of the
Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
See Order re Sufficiency of Compl. (“Compl.
Order”), dkt. no. 16, at 1. During that initial review,
the Court permitted Klahn to proceed on claims against San
Diego County Assistant District Attorney Anna Winn and a
Monterey County Sheriff's Deputy identified as Officer
Ennis. Id. at 15-16. The Court also permitted Klahn
to file an amended complaint. Id. at 16.
filed his First Amended Complaint (the “FAC”) on
August 1, 2016, asserting new allegations against Winn and
the County of Alameda (“Alameda County”).
See FAC, dkt. no. 18. The Court conducted another
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and permitted Klahn
to proceed on certain claims against Winn, Ennis, and Alameda
County without prejudice to any argument raised after
service. See Order re Sufficiency of FAC (“FAC
Order”), dkt. no. 21, at 12.
Court instructed the Clerk to issue summons for Winn, Ennis,
and Alameda County, and also instructed the United States
Marshal to serve those summons. See Id. at 12. The
summons for Ennis was returned to the Court unexecuted with
the remark: “No one by this name is an employee at
Monterey Co[unty] Sheriff's Office.” Dkt. no. 28.
Winn and Alameda County were served. See dkt. nos.
29, 30. After they were served, Winn and Alameda County filed
motions to dismiss. See dkt. nos. 34, 35.
the Court was reviewing those motions, Klahn filed a Second
Amended Complaint. See dkt. no. 62.
February 13, 2017, the Court issued an order on the motions
to dismiss. See Order Granting Defs.' Mots. to
Dismiss (“Mots. Order”), dkt. no.
The Court granted Winn's motion and dismissed all claims
against her with prejudice. See Id. at 28-29. The
Court also granted Alameda County's motion and dismissed
all Klahn's claims against it, two with leave to amend
and all others with prejudice. Id. at 29. The two
claims for which the Court granted Klahn leave to amend were
for the alleged denial of his Fourteenth Amendment rights to
telephone calls and medical care while in Alameda
County's custody. Id. The Court further
instructed Klahn that, if he wished to pursue those due
process claims, he had to file a Third Amended Complaint
within 30 days, that he could not include claims against
Alameda County that the Court had dismissed with prejudice,
and that he could not add new claims or parties without first
filing a motion in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15(a)(2) and obtaining the Court's leave.
The Third Amended Complaint
filing a Rule 15 motion, Klahn filed his Third Amended
Complaint (the “TAC”) on March 17, 2017.
See TAC, dkt. no. 64. In the TAC, Klahn names
several defendants. He again names Alameda County, although
he does so improperly by naming both the Alameda County
Sheriff's Department and the Santa Rita Jail separately.
See Id. at 2-3. He also names the Monterey County Jail.
See Id. at 2-3. Klahn also names four unidentified
individuals as Doe defendants, all of whom are law
enforcement officers. See Id. at 3-4. Klahn
describes the third Doe defendant as the Monterey County
Sheriff's Deputy “with the name Ennis on his
badge.” Id. at 3.
the Court has admonished Klahn to use short, continuously
numbered paragraphs in its prior orders, see, e.g.,
Motions Order at 3 note 6, he failed to do so in the TAC. The
allegations and claims that Klahn asserts in the TAC are
nearly incomprehensible, and the Court cannot discern the
number of claims that Klahn seeks to assert or the precise
legal theories on which he intends to rely. Furthermore, it
is often unclear which allegations and claims apply to which
defendants. Klahn seems to assert claims related to alleged
violations of his constitutional rights as follows: (1) he
was arrested and detained without being presented with a
warrant in violation of his Due Process rights, see
Id. at 26-27, 30-31; (2) his Fourteenth Amendment right
to telephone calls was violated, see Id. at 27, 32;
(3) his Fourteenth Amendment right to medical care was
violated, see Id. at 27-29; and (4) he was subject
to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth
Amendment while he was in the custody of Monterey County
Jail, see Id. at 32-38.
Alameda County's Motion
March 31, 2017, Alameda County filed a motion (the
“Motion”) seeking relief from the TAC under
several grounds. Def.'s Mot. to Strike or Dismiss
(“Mot.”), dkt. no. 65. First, Alameda County
requests that the Court strike Klahn's TAC, in whole or
in part, under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 6(b)(2) and
12. See Id. at 6-8. Second, Alameda County moves to
dismiss the TAC in its entirety under Rule 12(b)(6). See
Id. at 10-15. Third, Alameda County requests that the
Court order Klahn to file a more definite statement under
Rule 12(e). See Id. at 15-16.
Motions to Strike Moving to strike Klahn's TAC under two
alternative grounds, Alameda County first contends that the
Court should strike the TAC in its entirety because it was
filed after the deadline set in the Court's most recent
order. Mot. at 6-7. Alameda County argues that striking the
TAC is appropriate because Klahn failed to seek relief from
the deadline in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and the Civil Local Rules, and he failed to contact
Alameda County to request a stipulation extending the
deadline. Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(2), 12).
Alameda County requests that the Court strike portions of the
TAC under Rule 12(f). Id. at 7-8. Alameda County
asks the Court to strike the portions of the TAC that
reference claims that the Court dismissed with prejudice in
prior orders and new claims not asserted in Klahn's past
complaints-namely, his claims that Alameda County failed to
take him to a magistrate within 48 hours and that Alameda
County failed to provide him with adequate drinking
water-which, Alameda County notes, required the Court's
leave. Id. at 8.
Motion to Dismiss
County also makes two general arguments that the TAC should
be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6):
that each of the claims Klahn asserts against Alameda County
lacks a cognizable legal theory or sufficient facts to state
a plausible claim; and that Klahn's TAC as a whole fails
to comport with the short-and-plain requirement of Rule 8.
See Mot. at 10, 15. In asserting its first
basis-that all Klahn's claims against Alameda County fail
to state a claim for which relief can be granted-Alameda
County identifies the following as possible Fourteenth
Amendment claims asserted in the TAC: (1) Alameda County
denied Klahn medical care; (2) Alameda County denied Klahn
telephone calls; (3) Alameda County, through its law
enforcement officers, failed to present a warrant to Klahn at
the time of his arrest and while he was detained in the Santa
Rita Jail; and (4) Alameda County failed to take Klahn before
a magistrate within 48 hours of his arrest. See Id.
the medical-care claim, Alameda County argues that it fails
for two reasons. See Id. at 10-12. First, Alameda
County observes that Klahn asserts a new allegation related
to this claim: Alameda County failed to provide Klahn with
adequate water that did not contain fluoride. Id. at
10. According to Alameda County, the allegation establishes
that Klahn was in fact provided with water. Id.
Alameda County further asserts that Klahn has failed to
present authority for the proposition that detainees have a
constitutional right to drinking water that does not contain
fluoride. Id. at 10-11. Second, Alameda County
asserts that, as in his prior complaints, Klahn fails to
allege facts establishing government-entity liability in
accordance with Monell v. Department of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). Mot. at 11-12. In support
of this assertion, Alameda County claims that Klahn's
allegations do not establish an official custom, policy,
pattern, or act ratified by a policymaker. Id.
Rather, according to Alameda County, the allegations suggest
that any alleged harm resulted from individualized conduct.
that Klahn's telephone-calls claim fails, Alameda County
argues that, to comport with Monell, Klahn had to
allege facts demonstrating that policymakers were on actual
or constructive notice that an Alameda County policy would
result in a constitutional violation. Id. at 12.
Alameda County asserts that Klahn's allegations fail to
meet that requirement and are indicative of an
individual's conduct, not a failure by policymakers.
Id. at 12-13.
County next addresses Klahn's suggestion that his arrest
was warrantless in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
See Id. at 13-14. Alameda County argues that it is
not liable for the actions of Dublin Police Department
officers. Id. at 13. It also argues that Klahn's
reliance on the Fourteenth Amendment for this claim
constitutes an improper recharacterization of a Fourth
Amendment claim, but, even if the claim were cognizable,
Klahn has failed to allege facts that meet the requirements
of Monell. Id. at 13-14.
to Klahn's claim that Alameda County violated his right
to be taken to a magistrate, Alameda County argues that one
of the statutes that Klahn cites-California Penal Code
section 975-does not exist, that the claim constitutes
another improper recharacterization of a Fourth Amendment
claim, and that the claim would nevertheless fail to meet
Monell's requirements had it been asserted
properly. Id. at 14.
Rule 8(a)(2), Alameda County also contends that the TAC as a
whole fails to provide a short and plain statement of
Klahn's claims. Alameda County argues that the TAC
contains extraneous allegations, long and rambling
paragraphs, and assertions that do not clarify their
underlying legal theories or the defendants to whom they
pertain. Id. at 15.
Motion for a More Definite Statement
that it is a disfavored motion, Alameda County finally
requests that the Court order Klahn to file a more definite
statement in accordance with Rule 12(e). Mot. at 15-16.
Alameda County argues that requiring Klahn to provide a more
definite statement is appropriate in this instance because
the TAC is so deficient that Alameda County cannot discern
the nature or bases of Klahn's claims and formulate a
cogent response. Id.