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O'Shea v. County of San Diego

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 24, 2019

MARY B. O’SHEA, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, ERICA LEE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS [ECF NO. 3]

          Hon. Cynthia Bashant United States District Judge

         Defendant County of San Diego (“the County”) moves to dismiss Plaintiff Mary B. O’Shea’s Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Because the Court agrees that the causes of action are barred by the applicable statute of limitations, the Court GRANTS the Motion, but gives Plaintiff leave to amend.[1]

         I. ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff brings this Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, interference with familial association, and fabrication of evidence. She also alleges intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress as well as a violation of state civil rights. (“Complaint, ” ECF No. 1-2.)

         Plaintiff alleges Child Welfare Case worker Erica Lee made false statements about Plaintiff’s parenting and threatened to force Plaintiff’s minor daughter out of her home. Specifically, Plaintiff claims on October 8, 2014, Erica Lee lied on official documents. (Id. ¶ 9.) On October 26, 2014, Plaintiff wrote a letter to the County challenging Ms. Lee’s false accusations. (Id. ¶ 12.) In response, on October 28, 2014, Ms. Lee threatened to have Plaintiff’s minor daughter removed from the home. (Id. ¶ 13.) On October 30, 2014, Plaintiff confronted Ms. Lee regarding her lies and abuse of power. (Id. ¶ 14.) On November 18, 2014, in response to a request filed by Plaintiff, Plaintiff received a copy of her Child Welfare Services file and discovered many falsities and misstatements. (Id. ¶ 15.)

         Plaintiff filed a Complaint against the County and Erica Lee on May 10, 2019. The County removed the case to federal court. At the time of removal, Plaintiff had not served the correct Erica Lee. (See ECF No. 14 (the Court granted the County’s motion to quash service of process on the wrong Erica Lee). Plaintiff has since filed a certificate of service of process for another Erica Lee. The County moves to dismiss the Complaint against it. (ECF No. 3.)[2] Erica Lee is not part of the Motion.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in the complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 731 (9th Cir. 2001). The court must accept all factual allegations pleaded in the complaint as true and must construe them and draw all reasonable inferences from them in favor of the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337–38 (9th Cir. 1996).

         Despite the deference the court must pay to the plaintiff’s allegations, it is not proper for the court to assume that “the [plaintiff] can prove facts that [he or she] has not alleged or that defendants have violated the . . . laws in ways that have not been alleged.” Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983).

         Courts may not usually consider material outside the complaint when ruling on a motion to dismiss. Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990). However, documents specifically identified in the complaint whose authenticity is not questioned by parties may also be considered. Fecht v. Price Co., 70 F.3d 1078, 1080 n.1 (9th Cir. 1995) (superseded by statute on other grounds). Moreover, the court may consider the full text of those documents even when the complaint quotes only selected portions. Id. It may also consider material properly subject to judicial notice without converting the motion into one for summary judgment. Barron v. Reich, 13 F.3d 1370, 1377 (9th Cir. 1994).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Statute of Limitations

         The County moves to dismiss all of Plaintiff’s claims on statute of limitations grounds. “A claim may be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) on the ground that it is barred by the applicable statute of limitations only when ‘the running of the statute is apparent on the face of the complaint.’” Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, 592 F.3d 954, 969 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Huynh v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 465 F.3d 992, 9976 (9th Cir. 2006)).

         1. First Cause of Action: ...


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