United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT SISKIYOU COUNTY'S MOTION
A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Siskiyou County (“the County”) moves to dismiss
Plaintiffs' Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”).
Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 72. Plaintiffs oppose the motion.
Opp'n, ECF No. 74.For the reasons set forth below, the Court
GRANTS the County's motion to dismiss.
Hmong individuals who own property in the County-allege that
after the Hmong population increased, the County
“launched an unlawful and discriminatory
campaign” against Plaintiffs. TAC ¶ 5. The Board
of Supervisors passed two ordinances restricting medical
marijuana growth. TAC ¶ 6. The County allegedly
disproportionately enforced these ordinances against Asian
American individuals. TAC ¶ 11.
early 2016, Plaintiffs “began registering to vote in
Siskiyou County, using the County-assigned parcel numbers of
their legally owned property as their residential
address.” TAC ¶ 18. The County Clerk flagged these
voter registration forms for possible voter fraud. TAC ¶
days in June 2016, County officers visited Plaintiffs'
properties, and allegedly some officers carried assault
rifles. TAC ¶ 32. These visits scared some plaintiffs
out of voting in the June or November 2016 elections. TAC
¶¶ 54, 70, 82, 88, 108.
restrictions on cultivating medical marijuana passed as
Measures T and U in the June election. TAC ¶ 36. Since
then, Plaintiffs allege the County has “deliberately
policed subdivisions where high concentrations of Asian
American property owners are known to reside.” TAC
¶ 36. Additionally, “notices of nuisance
violations have been issued overwhelmingly to Asian property
owners as opposed to white property owners, which comprise
the majority racial population in Siskiyou County.” TAC
September 2016, the County “executed a series of search
warrants” on some of Plaintiffs' properties. SAC
¶ 42. The searching officers “handcuffed and held
at gunpoint” individuals present during the searches
and “ransacked” the properties of those not
present. SAC ¶ 43.
brought two claims in their TAC: (1) racial discrimination in
violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment and (2) retaliation in violation of the First
Amendment. TAC at 33, 38. The Court has already dismissed
Plaintiffs' second claim because “Plaintiffs did
not raise a First Amendment claim in any of their previous
complaints, and the Court gave Plaintiffs leave to amend only
their second cause of action for alleged violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment.” Minute Order, ECF No. 71.
actors violate the Fourteenth Amendment's equal
protection clause when they “enforce a valid statute in
a discriminatory fashion.” United States v.
Steele, 461 F.2d 1148, 1151 (9th Cir. 1972). But, mere
selectivity in enforcing laws does not violate the
Constitution. Id. To establish an equal protection
claim based on selective enforcement a plaintiff must show
the enforcement “(1) has a discriminatory effect; and
(2) is motivated by a discriminatory purpose.”
Cuviello v. City & Cty. of S.F., 940 F.Supp.2d
1071, 1097 (N.D. Cal. 2013).
addition to showing discriminatory purpose and effect,
plaintiffs alleging selective enforcement against a
municipality must demonstrate the misconduct comes from a
“policy, plan, or a pervasive pattern.”
Rosenbaum v. City & Cty. of S.F., 484 F.3d 1142,
1153 (9th Cir. 2007).
County argues the Court should dismiss Plaintiffs' equal
protection claim because they have not alleged intentional
discrimination or that the County had a policy or custom of
such discrimination. ...