United States District Court, E.D. California
DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action came before the undersigned on August 4, 2017, for
hearing of defendant's motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 14.)
Plaintiff Elton Ward appeared in person on his own behalf.
Attorney Selim Mounedji appeared telephonically on behalf of
the defendant. After hearing oral argument, defendant's
motion was taken under submission.
reasons stated below, defendant's motion to dismiss is
granted and plaintiff is granted leave to file an amended
commenced this action on April 6, 2017, by filing a complaint
and paying the required filing fee. (ECF No. 1.) The
complaint alleges that on April 7, 2014, plaintiff purchased
“a superliner roomette ticket, to travel on an AMTRAK
train from Sacramento CA to St. Louis MO . . . .”
(Compl. (ECF No. 1) at 3.) On April 10, 2014, “a
passenger manifest was created, ” and “plaintiff
ended up being the only black male within the roomette
portion of the manifest.” (Id.)
April 10, 2014 and April 12, 2014, ” defendant
“willfully and unlawfully shared all the
passenger's information” with the Galesburg
Illinois Police Department “for the purpose of
conducting passenger background checks prior to the AMTRAK
train making it into Galesburg Illinois.”
(Id.) When plaintiff's train arrived in
Galesburg, Illinois, Galesburg Illinois Police Department
officers Ming and Carnes boarded the train and proceeded
“directly to the train car and room of the
plaintiff.” (Id.) The officers “escorted
plaintiff from the train to be detained at their police
station” pending the resolution of a search warrant.
(Id. at 4.)
on these allegations, the complaint asserts three causes of
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On May 25, 2017,
defendant filed the pending motion to dismiss but noticed it
for hearing before the assigned District Judge in violation
of the Local Rules. (ECF Nos. 5 & 7.) On May 30, 2017,
defendant re-noticed the motion for hearing before the
undersigned. (ECF No. 8.)
filed an opposition to defendant's motion on June 12,
2017. (ECF No. 9.) Defendant filed a reply on June 30, 2017.
(ECF No. 10.) The matter came for hearing before the
undersigned on July 7, 2017. (ECF No. 11.) However, the
hearing of defendant's motion was continued to August 4,
2017, as noted above, due to defense counsel's failure to
appear at the July 7, 2017 hearing. (ECF No. 11.)
Legal Standards Applicable to Motions to Dismiss Pursuant
to Rule 12(b)(6)
purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is
to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint. N. Star
Int'l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm'n, 720 F.2d 578, 581
(9th Cir. 1983). “Dismissal can be based on the lack of
a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts
alleged under a cognizable legal theory.”
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d
696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). A plaintiff is required to allege
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
determining whether a complaint states a claim on which
relief may be granted, the court accepts as true the
allegations in the complaint and construes the allegations in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Hishon v. King
& Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Love v.
United States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). In
general, pro se complaints are held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
However, the court need not assume the truth of legal
conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations.
United States ex rel. Chunie v. Ringrose, 788 F.2d
638, 643 n.2 (9th Cir. 1986). While Rule 8(a) does not
require detailed factual allegations, “it demands more
than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
pleading is insufficient if it offers mere “labels and
conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555; see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676
(“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.”). Moreover, it is inappropriate to assume
that the plaintiff “can prove facts which it has not
alleged or that the defendants have violated the . . . laws
in ways that have not been alleged.” Associated
Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of
Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983).
ruling on a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6), the court is permitted to consider material which
is properly submitted as part of the complaint, documents
that are not physically attached to the complaint if their
authenticity is not contested and the plaintiff's
complaint necessarily relies on them, and ...