United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS Re: ECF No.
TIGAR United States District Judge
the Court is Defendant California Department of Insurance
(“CDI”) and Defendant Eric Winkler's
(collectively, “Defendants”) motion to dismiss.
The Court will grant the motion.
24, 2017, Plaintiffs filed suit against CDI and Eric Winkler,
a “Sergeant” with CDI. ECF No. 1 at 2. Plaintiffs
claim that Winkler and various law enforcement officials
conducted an illegal search of their home on March 26, 2014.
Id. During the search, Plaintiffs allege that
Winkler planted evidence “to build a criminal insurance
fraud case against Robert Amatrone.” Id. at 3.
Plaintiffs also allege that Winkler interrogated Plaintiff
Sharlow, threatened her, and confiscated her property.
Id. at 3-5. In addition to these facts specific to
Defendants CDI and Winkler, the Complaint contains multiple
allegations relating to the other officials present during
the search. See generally ECF No. 1 (e.g.,
“Approximately 10 to 15 armed officers with assault
rifles and guns entered the home and held plaintiff Marla
Sharlow at gun point.”)
allege three causes of action. First, Plaintiffs “claim
damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the injuries set
forth against Defendant Winkler.” ECF No. 1 at 5.
Second, Plaintiffs assert a false imprisonment claim against
Defendant Winkler. Id. Third, Plaintiffs assert a
section 1983 claim against CDI for maintaining
“policies or customs exhibiting deliberate indifference
to the constitutional rights of persons in the State of
California which caused the violation of Plaintiff's
rights.” Id. at 6. Defendants now move to
dismiss all three claims. ECF No. 15. Plaintiffs did not file
an opposition to the motion.
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). While a complaint need
not contain detailed factual allegations, facts pleaded by a
plaintiff must be “enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “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, 678 (2009) (internal quotation
marks omitted). “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.” Id. While the
legal standard is not a probability requirement, “where
a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a
defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.”
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court
must “accept all factual allegations in the complaint
as true and construe the pleadings in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party.” Knievel v.
ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068, 1072 (9th Cir. 2005).
Section 1983 Claims
first ground for relief is that Plaintiffs' claims are
barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the United States
Constitution. “[I]n the absence of consent a suit in
which the State or one of its agencies or departments is
named as the defendant is proscribed by the Eleventh
Amendment.” Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984). The same is true for
“a suit against a state official in his or her official
capacity[, which] is not a suit against the official but
rather is a suit against the official's office.”
Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police,
491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). Accordingly, all claims against the
California Department of Insurance and against Eric Winkler
in his official capacity are dismissed without prejudice to
Plaintiffs' right to seek any available relief in state
court. This finding does not apply to
Plaintiffs' claims for “prospective injunctive
relief, ” Flint v. Dennison, 488 F.3d 816,
825 (9th Cir. 2007), or to Plaintiffs' claims against
Eric Winkler in his personal capacity.
section 1983 claims that are not barred by the Eleventh
Amendment were filed after the applicable statute of
limitations had expired. The statute of limitations for
section 1983 actions is governed by the statute of
limitations for personal injury actions in the forum state.
Maldonado v. Harris, 370 F.3d 945, 954 (9th Cir.
2004). In California, for conduct occurring after 2003, that
statute of limitations is two years. Id. at 954-55.
In this case, the allegedly wrongful conduct occurred on
March 26, 2014, ECF No. 1 at 2, yet Plaintiffs did not file
suit until May 23, 2017. Plaintiffs' remaining section
1983 claims are dismissed as untimely. Plaintiffs may
file an amended complaint to include tolling allegations.
False Imprisonment Claim
dismissal of Plaintiffs' section 1983 claims, only
Plaintiffs' state law false imprisonment claim remains.
“A district court's decision whether to exercise
[supplemental] jurisdiction after dismissing every claim over
which it had original jurisdiction is purely
discretionary.” Carlsbad Tech., Inc. v. HIF Bio,
Inc., 556 U.S. 635, 639 (2009). Generally, however,
“if the federal claims are dismissed before trial, . .
. the state claims should be dismissed as well.”
United Mine Workers of ...