United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS Re:
PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge
United Airlines, Inc.'s motion to dismiss came on for
hearing before this court on March 21, 2018. Plaintiff
Jeremiah Thede appeared pro se. Defendant appeared through
its counsel, Richard Grotch. Having read the papers filed by
the parties and carefully considered their arguments and the
relevant legal authority, and good cause appearing, the court
hereby GRANTS defendant's motion, for the following
20, 2015, plaintiff was scheduled to fly on a United Airlines
flight from Rome, Italy, to San Francisco, California. Dkt.
23, First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) ¶¶
6-7. That flight was delayed by more than three hours.
Id. Because plaintiff was hungry when he boarded the
plane, plaintiff asked for food to tide him over until the
in-flight meal was served. Id. ¶ 7. A flight
attendant explained, however, that food would not be served
until the plane was airborne. Id.
the plane took off but before the fasten seatbelt sign had
been turned off, plaintiff left his seat and renewed his
request for food. Id. ¶ 8. The flight attendant
informed plaintiff that because the seatbelt sign had not
been turned off, the crew was unable to serve food.
Id. Plaintiff renewed his request for a snack after
the seatbelt sign was turned off and a flight attendant gave
plaintiff a package of crackers. Id. ¶ 9.
consuming that package of crackers, plaintiff asked for a
second package but was told that each customer was limited to
one snack. FAC ¶ 10. Believing that information to be
false, plaintiff asked the flight attendant for her name so
that plaintiff could register a complaint. Id.
Though both the flight attendant and the head flight
attendant refused to provide that information, plaintiff
began to write-up a complaint. Id. ¶¶
10-12. At some point later, a different flight attendant gave
plaintiff another package of crackers and, according to
plaintiff, “the situation began to de-escalate.”
plaintiff's belief that the situation had de-escalated,
the head flight attendant had reported to the pilot that
plaintiff was creating a disturbance. FAC ¶ 13.
Apparently triggered by this report, an off-duty pilot and
the head flight attendant told plaintiff that if the
disturbance continued, the flight would be diverted and
plaintiff would be removed from the aircraft. Id.
Plaintiff denied he was causing a disturbance or that he had
threatened anyone-plaintiff “simply wanted to file a
complaint about the poor customer service but was being
denied the right to do so.” Id.
the in-flight meal was eventually served, plaintiff
immediately fell asleep. FAC ¶ 14.
plaintiff was sleeping, the airplane had been diverted to
Belfast, Northern Ireland. FAC ¶ 15. When the flight
arrived in Belfast, armed officers removed plaintiff from the
plane. Id. Based on the accusations of the flight
crew, plaintiff was charged with assault and endangering an
aircraft. Id. ¶ 16. While his criminal trial
was pending, plaintiff remained in Belfast under house
arrest. Id. ¶¶ 16-17. After a seven-day
trial, commencing April 15, 2016-approximately 10 months
after plaintiff's flight took off from Rome-plaintiff was
found not guilty. Id. ¶ 17.
on the above events, plaintiff makes claims against United
for breach of contract, negligence, assault, defamation, and
malicious prosecution. FAC ¶¶ 18-24. Plaintiff also
seeks punitive damages. Id. However, in his briefing
and at the hearing on this motion, plaintiff stated that he
did not oppose dismissal of his negligence, assault, and
defamation causes of action. Those claims are DISMISSED WITH
this order only addresses the two remaining claims:
plaintiff's breach of contract claim based on
United's failure to fly him to San Francisco and
plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim based on the
flight attendants' statements leading to plaintiff's
arrest and their testimony at the corresponding
Motion to Dismiss Under FRCP 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests for the legal
sufficiency of the claims alleged in the complaint. Ileto
v. Glock, 349 F.3d 1191, 1199-1200 (9th Cir. 2003).
Under the minimal notice pleading requirements of Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8, which requires that a complaint
include a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), a complaint may be dismissed under Rule
12(b)(6) if the plaintiff fails to state a cognizable legal
theory, or has not alleged sufficient facts to support a
cognizable legal theory. Somers v. Apple, Inc., 729
F.3d 953, 959 (9th Cir. 2013).
the court must accept as true all the factual allegations in
the complaint, legally conclusory statements, not supported
by actual factual allegations, need not be accepted.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). The
complaint must proffer sufficient facts to state a claim for
relief that ...