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Bass v. San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, C.D. California

September 19, 2019

QUINN S. BASS, Plaintiff,





         Plaintiff Quinn S. Bass (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) which appears to sue defendants City of San Bernardino Police Department, County of San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon (“McMahon”), County of San Bernardino Sergeant Kelly Craig (“Craig”), County of San Bernardino Deputy Reveles (“Reveles”) in their individual and official capacities, and Hayes Towing (collectively, “Defendants”). ECF Docket No. (“Dkt.”) 21 at 10-11. Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 and 18 U.S.C. §§ 242 and 245. For the reasons discussed below, the Court dismisses the FAC with leave to amend.



         On August 2, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 for violations of his First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Ninth Amendment rights and 18 U.S.C. §§ 242 and 245. Dkt. 1. According to the Complaint, on March 29, 2019 at approximately 5:00 p.m., Plaintiff and his wife were in their car in the parking lot of Sam’s Bargain in San Bernardino, California. Id. at 4-5. Plaintiff alleges Defendants Craig and Reveles “forc[ed them] out at gun point” with no probable cause “or warrant signed by a judge.” Id. at 5. Plaintiff then alleges he was hospitalized with injuries from pepper spray and a sprained wrist before being “booked for felony resisting arrest.” Id. Plaintiff sought “return of [Plaintiff’s] private automobile at no fee as well as dismiss[al of] the felony resisting arrest charge (with no initial charge) with extreme prejudice.” Id. at 4-5.

         On September 11, 2019, the Court dismissed the Complaint with leave to amend. Dkt. 19.

         On September 13, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant FAC. Dkt. 21. The body of the FAC does not contain any factual allegations, but rather refers to Attachments 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Id. at 12. Attachments 1 and 2 appear to be affidavits purporting to put Defendants on notice of Plaintiff’s complaints regarding the March 29, 2019 incident and demanding return of his vehicle. Id. at 14-21. Attachment 3 appears to be a partial vehicle registration application. Id. at 22. Attachment 4 appears to be a declaration of Plaintiff’s wife filed in a case in San Bernardino County Superior Court, Bass v. People of the State of California, No. FSB19001352/MSB18016651. Id. at 23-25. Attachment 5 appears to be Plaintiff’s medical records from Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for his March 29, 2019 visit. Id. at 26-30. Plaintiff states: “I know I am entitled to relief,” but does not request any specific relief in the FAC. Id. at 13.



         Where a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, a court must screen the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and is required to dismiss the case at any time if it concludes the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998).

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 (“Rule 8”), a 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). In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim for screening purposes, a court applies the same pleading standard as it would when evaluating a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012).

         A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim “where there is no cognizable legal theory or an absence of sufficient facts alleged to support a cognizable legal theory.” Zamani v. Carnes, 491 F.3d 990, 996 (9th Cir. 2007). In considering whether a complaint states a claim, a court must accept as true all of the material factual allegations in it. Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 892-93 (9th Cir. 2011). However, the court need not accept as true “allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008). Although a complaint need not include detailed factual allegations, it “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Cook v. Brewer, 637 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)). A claim is facially plausible when it “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The complaint “must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively.” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).

         “A document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally construed,’ and a ‘pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.’” Woods v. Carey, 525 F.3d 886, 889-90 (9th Cir. 2008). However, liberal construction should only be afforded to “a plaintiff’s factual allegations,” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 339 (1989), and a court need not accept as true “unreasonable inferences or assume the truth of legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations,” Ileto v. Glock Inc., 349 F.3d 1191, 1200 (9th Cir. 2003).

         If a court finds the complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim, the court has discretion to dismiss with or without leave to amend. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-30 (9th Cir. 2000). Leave to amend should be granted if it appears possible the defects in the complaint could be corrected, especially if the plaintiff is pro se. Id. at 1130-31; see also Cato v. United States,70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995). However, if, after careful consideration, it is clear a complaint cannot be cured by ...

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