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Acosta v. California Highway Patrol

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

September 12, 2019

CRISTOBAL ACOSTA, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND TO STATE COURT

          BETH LAB SON FREEMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Cristobal Acosta's (“Plaintiff”) Motion To Remand Entire Action To State Court. Motion, ECF 66. On August 19, 2019, mere weeks before the long-scheduled trial date in this action, Plaintiff filed his motion for remand on the ground that because this Court has granted summary judgment as to all of Plaintiff's federal claims, leaving only state law claims, the Court should exercise its discretion and remain the entire case to state court. See Id. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On the night of January 8, 2017, Plaintiff sat in his car stopped at the side of the road with a mechanical breakdown that caused “backfiring.” Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) ¶ 5, ECF 39. Two California Highway Patrol (“CHP”) officers responded to an on-duty sergeant's report of an explosion from the car or possible “shots fired, ” and approached Plaintiff's stopped car. Hill Decl. ¶ 2-4, Ex. 2 to ECF 45-1. After hearing a loud sound coming from Plaintiff's car, one officer exclaimed “Shots fired!” and “Get back.” See generally Morasco Decl. ECF 46-5, Bleisch Decl. ECF 46-3. After hearing a second loud sound from Plaintiff's car seconds later, both officers opened fire, believing that the loud sounds coming from Plaintiff's car were gunfire. Id. One of the bullets struck Plaintiff. Hill Decl. ¶ 9. There is no evidence that Plaintiff possessed a gun during the encounter.

         Arising from the incident described above, Plaintiff filed this action in California state court on January 17, 2018, against the CHP, Sergeant Daniel Hill, Officer David Morasco, Jr., and Officer Jonas Bleisch (collectively, “Defendants”). See Compl., Ex. A to Notice of Removal, ECF 1. On February 14, 2018, Defendants removed the action to federal court. See Notice of Removal.

         Plaintiff brought the following five causes of action:

(1) Violation of Civil Rights secured by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (against Officers Morasco and Bleisch);
(2) False Arrest and Imprisonment pursuant to Cal. Gov't Code §§ 815.2(a) & 820.4 (against the CHP and Officers Morasco and Bleisch);
(3) Battery pursuant to California state law and Cal. Gov't Code § 815.2(a) (against the CHP and Officers Morasco and Bleisch);
(4) Violation of the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1 (against the CHP and Officers Morasco and Bleisch); and
(5) Negligence under California law and Cal. Gov't Code §§ 815.2(a) & 820.4 (against all Defendants).

See generally SAC. On September 6, 2018, this Court issued its Case Management Order, setting this matter for jury trial on September 30, 2019. ECF Doc 34.

         Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment on January 24, 2019, seeking judgment in their favor on all claims. See ECF 45. The Court held a hearing on Defendants' motion for summary judgment on May 2, 2019. On June 24, 2019, this Court issued its Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, dismissing all of Plaintiff's federal claims and leaving only Plaintiff's state-law claims for battery[1] and negligence. ECF 58. Plaintiff has chosen not to appeal the Court's Summary Judgment Order. Motion at 3.

         On August 19, 2019, Plaintiff filed this Motion. Three days later, on August 22, 2019, this Court held its Final Pretrial Conference. ECF 75. On September 3, 2019, Defendants filed their opposition to the motion for remand. Opp'n, ECF 78. Plaintiff did not file a reply brief. Jury ...


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