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Acedo v. County of San Diego

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 23, 2019

DANIEL ACEDO, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO; PAUL RICHARDS; CARLOS OLMEDA; CAROLYN COLVIN; CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF VITAL STATISTICS; CALIFORNIA DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES; DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES; and BOARD OF THE COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 41)

          Hon. Janis L. Sammartino United States District Judge.

         Presently before the Court is Defendants the County of San Diego and Carlos Olmeda's (together, the "Moving Defendants") Motion to Dismiss ("Mot., " ECF No. 41). Plaintiff Daniel Acedo filed a Response in Opposition to ("Opp'n, " ECF No. 44) and the Moving Defendants filed a Reply in Support of ("Reply, " ECF No. 53) the Motion. After considering the Parties' arguments and the law, the Court GRANTS the Moving Defendants' Motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Daniel Acedo, proceeding pro se, is currently an inmate at California Men's Colony. See generally First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), ECF No. 40; see also Mot. at 6.[1] Defendant Carlos Olmeda is a social worker who worked for Defendant the County of San Diego during the events in question. See generally FAC.

         Plaintiffs claims stem from two hearings held in April and May of 2000 before the California Superior Court, Juvenile Division ("Juvenile Court") regarding a petition to terminate Plaintiffs biological parents' parental rights. FAC at 6-7, 12. Plaintiff alleges that during those hearings, Defendant Olmeda falsely stated that his mother had relinquished her parental rights even though Defendant Olmeda possessed letters from Plaintiffs mother in which she requested custody of Plaintiff. Id. at 6-7, 12-13. Plaintiff alleges that the Juvenile Court treated Defendant Olmeda's statements as an equivalent to his mother abandoning custody, causing him damages for which he now seeks recovery. Id. at 13. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Paul Richards, [2] his court appointed legal counsel during the hearings, provided ineffective legal services that denied him a chance at family reunification, causing him emotional distress when he was "lost in the system." Id. at 7, 10. Plaintiff contends that the County is vicariously liable for the actions of both Defendants Olmeda and Richards. Id.

         Prior to filing his original complaint, Plaintiff presented several claims to the County. On September 20, 2016, Plaintiff presented a claim to the County alleging negligence, fraud, and due process violations against the Moving Defendants. FAC, Ex. 3(A) at 92-95 ("First County Claim").[3] On October 11, 2016, the County formally rejected Plaintiffs First County Claim on the grounds that it was untimely filed. FAC at 96. Plaintiff filed a second claim with the County against Defendant Richards on September 24, 2018. FAC, Ex. 3 at 69 ("Second County Claim").[4] On November 8, 2018, the County denied Plaintiffs Second County Claim as untimely. Id. at 76. Plaintiff alleges that the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Diego[5] abused its discretion when it rejected his claims. Id. at 18, 20-21.

         After the County dismissed Plaintiffs First County Claim, Plaintiff filed suit in the Superior Court of the County of San Diego. Defendants removed the case to this Court on December 29, 2017. See generally Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1. Defendants then moved to dismiss, ECF No. 4, and, on July 16, 2018, the Court granted Defendants' motion with leave to amend. ECF No. 29 at 23. After several extensions of time, Plaintiff filed his FAC, see generally FAC, and the Moving Defendants filed the Motion now before the Court. See generally Mot.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a party to raise by motion the defense that the complaint "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, " generally referred to as a motion to dismiss. The Court evaluates whether a complaint states a cognizable legal theory and sufficient facts in light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which requires a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."

         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, 677 (2009) (quotingBellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A claim is facially plausible when the facts pled "allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         Because this case comes before the Court on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept as true all material allegations in the complaint and must construe the complaint and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. See Thompson v. Davis, 295 F.3d 890, 895 (9th Cir. 2002). When a plaintiff appears pro se, the court must be careful to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the plaintiff any benefit of the doubt. See id.; Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007);

         Where a complaint does not survive 12(b)(6) analysis, the Court will grant leave to amend unless it determines that no modified contention "consistent with the challenged pleading . . . [will] cure the deficiency." DeSoto v. Yellow Freight Sys., Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir. 1992) (quoting Schriber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 F.2d 1393, 1401 (9th Cir. 1986)).

         ANALYSIS

         The Moving Defendants contend that the Court must dismiss all of Plaintiff s claims against them. See generally Mot. The Court addresses Plaintiffs claim against Defendant Olmeda ...


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