United States District Court, N.D. California
RITA CARDENAS, an individual, L.V., by and through her guardian ad litem Ruby Cardenas, L.M., by and through her guardian ad litem Ruby Cardenas, and DAVID ORTIZ, an individual, Plaintiffs,
COUNTY OF ALAMEDA, a municipal corporation; COLBY STAYSA, MATTHEW FARRUGGIA, MICHAEL BUCKHOUT, VICTOR FOX, RAMSEY JACKSON, JAMES MCGRAIL, VICTOR RAMIREZ, and DOES 1-25, individually and in their official capacities, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO
WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
motion to amend and accompanying amended complaint,
plaintiffs claim constitutional violations arising out of a
police search of their home. Defendants oppose the motion
arguing that plaintiffs fail to state a claim for relief. For
the reasons below, the motion is Granted in
part and Denied in part.
civil action arises from a search of plaintiffs'
residence in February 2015. The facts are set forth more
fully in a prior order (Dkt. No. 45). In brief, plaintiffs
allege that police officers from the Alameda County
Sheriff's Department summoned them from their home in the
middle of the night, pointed weapons at them, handcuffed and
interrogated them, and caused damage to parts of their home
in the search that ensued.
September 2016, plaintiffs commenced this Section 1983
action. Defendants moved to dismiss. At a January 2017
hearing, a ruling denied the motion as moot and ordered
defendants to produce preliminary discovery, including the
warrant affidavit and the incident report from the search
(Dkt. No. 25). Defendants did so (see Dkt. No. 43).
Plaintiffs amended their complaint in February 2017, and
defendants again moved to dismiss. On May 2, 2017, an order
dismissed plaintiffs' claims against the County of
Alameda, and allowed plaintiffs to seek leave to amend their
complaint as to the constitutional violation claims against
individual defendant officers.
order stated that plaintiffs' claims against individual
officers were deficient in two respects. First,
plaintiffs failed to allege with sufficient specificity who
was responsible for what alleged violation. Second,
a police report indicated that police acted reasonably under
the circumstances. Plaintiffs were ordered to follow up and
to refer to the police report and replead with more
specificity what unconstitutional acts occurred, and clearly
explain how their amended complaint cured the deficiencies of
their prior complaint (Dkt. No. 45).
have now submitted a proposed second amended complaint, which
purports to address the deficiencies in their earlier
pleadings. Plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend does
not, however, explain how their amended complaint cured
earlier deficiencies. Accordingly, the Court has sorted
through the proposed amended complaint for counsel.
the new allegations, plaintiffs state that “Defendant
Ramirez wrongfully and negligently asserted that he spotted
[a known suspect] inside of Plaintiff Cardenas'
residence, ” leading to the issuance of a search
warrant. In the search that followed, “Defendant
Ramirez aimed his firearm at Plaintiffs Cardenas and Ortiz
for a duration of time that exceeded three minutes, ”
and “[s]ubsequently, Plaintiff Cardenas [and] Plaintiff
Ortiz . . . were handcuffed and separated” (Dkt. No. 47
¶¶ 17, 20).
further allege that Officer Ramirez aimed weapons at the two
minor plaintiffs - who were eight and fourteen years old -
for more than five minutes, and then “aggressively
interrogated” them (id. ¶¶ 21-22).
The proposed second amended complaint adds that “the
search lasted for more than three hours” and yet
“each of the Defendants” ignored plaintiffs pleas
that their children were barefoot and cold, and continued to
demand information from them. Finally, the proposed complaint
states that Officers Buckhout and Fox shot tear gas canisters
through the windows of plaintiffs' home (id.
on these allegations, the proposed second amended complaint
recites three claims for relief, each arising under Section
1983: (1) unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the
Fourth Amendment, (2) unlawful use of excessive force in
violation of the Fourth Amendment, and (3) violations arising
under the Fourteenth Amendment. Because the same conduct and
legal analysis apply to the Fourth Amendment claims, this
order analyzes them together, and treats them as a single
claim. The order then analyzes the Fourteenth Amendment claim
reaching the underlying constitutional claims, however, this
order first considers the threshold question of whether
plaintiffs have cured deficiencies in their earlier pleadings