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Douglas v. Huffman

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 12, 2017

RAYMOND M. DOUGLAS, Plaintiff,
v.
HUFFMAN, Defendant.

          ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on defendant's Motion to Dismiss, scheduled for hearing on June 21, 2017. ECF No. 16. In response to defendant's motion, plaintiff filed a Statement of Non-Opposition. ECF No. 17. Having considered the unopposed arguments submitted by defendant, the court VACATES the June 21, 2017 hearing and recommends that defendant's motion be GRANTED and this case be DISMISSED with leave to file an amended complaint within 30 days of this order.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed his complaint on December 18, 2016. ECF No. 1. In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that in 2014, he noticed that he was being followed and stalked by a woman he had gone to high school with. Id. at 2. In January and February of 2015, plaintiff began spending time on Alhambra Boulevard. Id. Plaintiff alleges the woman continued to stalk him. Id. On March 23, 2015, plaintiff asserts that he was taking shelter under boxes when defendant, a Sacramento Police Officer, tore the boxes off of him and assaulted him, ultimately breaking his arm. Id. at 3.

         On May 27, 2015, plaintiff states that he submitted a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Citizen Complaint Form about the March 23rd incident. Id. at 5. On Monday, June 1, 2015, plaintiff received a phone call from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Internal Affairs Division. Id. Plaintiff had an interview with Internal Affairs on June 3, 2015. Id. After some negotiations, plaintiff states that he felt pressured to agree to accept $2, 000 and payment of current and future medical expenses to settle his claims. Id. at 6. Plaintiff asserts that he was handed a document titled “Release of all Claims” and was instructed to read and understand it before signing. Id. The deputy stated that the form meant plaintiff was releasing all claims against the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. Id. Plaintiff, “naïve of the government claims process, ” signed the document. Id. Plaintiff received payment the same day. Id. at 7.

         Plaintiff alleges that his high school classmate continues to stalk him, “following and watching in the company of Sheriff unmarked vehicles[.]” Id. at 8. Plaintiff followed up several times with the Department of Internal Affairs to check on the status of his case, and was told by the adjuster that there would be no further compensation. Id. Around September of 2015, plaintiff alleges he began experiencing a “mockery by individuals that plaintiff comes into contact with, throughout the city.” Id. at 9. Plaintiff asserts that the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department publicized information about him, potentially in a conspiracy. Id. Plaintiff alleges that when he utilized the Sacramento Central Library computers, defendant sat next to him and made a gesture with his right arm, and showed plaintiff a shiny tooth. Id. at 10. Plaintiff states that he followed up with Risk Management again in December of 2015 regarding the status of his claim, and was told that the claim had already been settled. Id. at 11. Plaintiff again saw defendant, accompanied by the woman who is stalking him. Id.

         II. CLAIMS

         Plaintiff presents several claims that are apparently based on the March 23, 2015 incident between plaintiff and defendant. These claims include Assault (First Cause of Action), Unlawful Arrest (Third Cause of Action), Excessive Force (Fourth Cause of Action), Battery (Fifth Cause of Action), and False Imprisonment (Sixth Cause of Action). Plaintiff makes two other claims related to the alleged publication of information about him, which he alleges resulted in widespread mockery. These claims include Defamation (Seventh Cause of Action), and Slander (Second Cause of Action). On May 15, 2017, defendant filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint in its entirety. ECF No. 16. Plaintiff filed a statement of non-opposition to the motion. ECF No. 17.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

         “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.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, (2007)). In a plausible claim, “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the conduct alleged.” Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 545); see also Moss v. United States Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir.2009) (“In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory ‘factual content, ' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.”) (citing Iqbal at 1949). The Court must accept plaintiffs' factual allegations as true, but is not required to accept plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Id. at 1949-150. Courts are not required to accept as true legal conclusions that are framed as factual allegations. Iqbal, at 1950 (citation omitted). Complaints by plaintiffs proceeding pro se are construed liberally when being evaluated under Iqbal, with the plaintiff afforded the benefit of any doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010)

         B. Plaintiff's Claims Related to the March 23, 2015 Incident Were Already Settled and Released

         Plaintiff's claims related to the March 23, 2015 incident with defendant should be dismissed because plaintiff previously settled and released all claims against defendant.

         Plaintiff's claims related to the March 23, 2015 incident include his claims for Assault (First Cause of Action), Unlawful Arrest (Third Cause of Action), Excessive Force (Fourth Cause of Action), Battery (Fifth ...


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