United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS.ECF
NO. 12, 23.
GONZALO P. CURIEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendant County of San Diego's
(“Defendant”) motion to dismiss Plaintiff Aaron
Raiser's (“Plaintiff”) first three causes of
action (the “§ 1983 claims”) in his first
amended complaint (“FAC”). This case presents
three issues: (1) whether the Court lacks jurisdiction to
hear the § 1983 claims; (2) whether Plaintiff's
§ 1983 claims fail on a theory of respondeat
superior; and (3) whether Plaintiff adequately alleges
claims under Monell v. Department of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). The Court
GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss the
§ 1983 claims, FINDS the jurisdictional
issue moot, and GRANTS Plaintiff leave to
amend the complaint.
filed his initial complaint against Defendant County on April
23, 2019. ECF No. 1. On June 28, 2019, Defendant filed a
motion to dismiss Plaintiff's initial complaint. ECF No.
7. On July 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed the FAC, which rendered
Defendant's initial motion to dismiss moot. ECF No. 9.
FAC raises five claims against Defendant: (1) that Plaintiff
was unlawfully detained on or about April 30, 2017 by one of
Defendant's employee officers (“Doe 1”); (2)
that Plaintiff was unlawfully detained on or about August 7,
2017 by one of Defendant's employee officers (“Doe
2”); (3) that Plaintiff was unlawfully detained on or
about March 29, 2018 by one of Defendant's employee
officers (“Doe 3”); (4) that Plaintiff was
falsely imprisoned by Doe 3 on or about March 29, 2018; and
(5) that Defendant violated the Bane Act when Doe 3 made
“threats of violence against Plaintiff” for
asserting his right to be free from unreasonable seizures on
March 29, 2018. FAC at ¶¶ 16-61. Plaintiff
incorporates two transcripts of recordings he made during the
April 30, 2017 and March 29, 2018 detentions into the FAC by
reference. See FAC at pp. 10- 16 (containing, as
Exhibit 1, a transcript of Plaintiff's audio recording
made during the April 30, 2017 detention); FAC at pp. 17-19
(containing, as Exhibit 2, a transcript of Plaintiff's
audio recording made during the March 29, 2018 detention).
FAC does not include a separate cause of action under
Monell. Instead, Plaintiff alleges elsewhere in the
FAC that Defendant has “a custom, policy and/or pattern
of unlawfully detaining citizens without legal basis.”
FAC at ¶ 24. Likewise, Plaintiff alleges that “all
Defendants' managing agents, officers and directors, had
advanced knowledge of and/or ratified” Defendant's
unlawful detentions. Id. at ¶ 12.
24, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's
first, second, and third causes of action. ECF No. 12 at 3-4.
On October 3, 2019, Plaintiff filed a response, and, on
October 11, 2019, Defendant filed a reply. ECF Nos. 21,
On September 25, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff permission
to engage in expedited discovery limited to learning the
identities of the DOE defendants in Plaintiff's FAC. ECF
No. 19 at 3-4.
General Allegations section of the FAC, Plaintiff alleges
that “[i]n each cause of action under 42 USC 1983 San
Diego County is responsible for the deputies (sic) unlawful
conduct under Monell.” FAC at ¶ 23. To
show the existence of a custom, policy, or pattern to
establish Monell liability, Plaintiff relies on his
prior interactions with sheriff deputies, his observations,
and research. FAC at ¶ 24. According to Plaintiff,
County sheriff deputies have “detained unlawfully at
least 50 other citizens similar to Plaintiff in the past 5
year . . .” Id.
also describes five unlawful stops effected by officers
employed by the San Diego County Sherriff's Department.
FAC at ¶¶ 26-61. These stops took place on or about
(1) September 28, 2012, (2) December 20, 2014, (3) April 30,
2017, (4) August 7, 2017, and (5) March 29, 2018,
see FAC at ¶¶ 19, 21, 27, 34, 42, and
incorporate the following alleged facts.
Stop. At 3 a.m., on or about September 26, 2012, a San
Diego sheriff patrol car approached Plaintiff as he walked
along Vista California's downtown district. FAC at ¶
19. Plaintiff was detained for several minutes before the
officer drove away. FAC at ¶¶ 19-20. Plaintiff
alleges the stop was conducted “without legal
basis.” FAC at ¶ 19.
Stop. At 8:30 p.m., on or about December 20, 2014, a San
Diego County Sheriff's officer approached Plaintiff's
car in Fallbrook, CA. FAC at ¶ 21. Plaintiff was sitting
in his car and had recently used a coin laundry nearby.
Id. The officer detained Plaintiff for about eight
minutes. FAC at ¶ 22. A prior court found on summary
judgment that, with respect to this incident, San Diego
County Sheriff Deputy Jeremy Banks approached Plaintiff's
car without reasonable suspicion, engaged in an unlawful
frisk, and prolonged the detention for no investigatory
purpose, all in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
See ECF 59, Raiser v. Vista, City of et al,
14-cv-02263-CAB-WVG, at 5, 9, 10 (S.D. Cal. June 29, 2016).
Stop. At about 3 p.m., on or about April 30, 2017, two
San Diego County sheriff's deputies (one of which is Doe
approached Plaintiff as he sat in his car near Exit 51
(Mission Avenue) on California Highway 15. FAC at ¶ 27.
The officers detained Plaintiff for more than ten minutes.
Id.; see also FAC at pp. 10-16.
detaining Plaintiff, “Deputy 1” informed
Plaintiff that it was “suspicious” for him to be
there because there is “alot (sic) of drug
activity” in the area. FAC at p. 10. The Deputy accused
Plaintiff of “loitering” and asked for
Plaintiff's name. FAC at pp. 10-11. Plaintiff volunteered
his identification card. Id. When asked what he was
doing in the area, Plaintiff informed the officer,
“I'm just looking for someplace to hang out. Do
some work.” FAC at p. 11. Deputy 1 then explained he
“want[ed] to make sure the car [was] not stolen.”
FAC at p. 12. Plaintiff asked the officer multiple times to
conduct a background check and let him go. FAC at pp. 10-13.
Eventually, Deputy 1 walked away from Plaintiff and his car,
telling him to “hang tight for just a minute.”
FAC at p. 13.
Plaintiff waited, a second officer, “Deputy 2, ”
engaged Plaintiff in a conversation. FAC at pp. 13-15. After
approximately three minutes according to the transcript's
time stamps, Deputy 1 returned. FAC at p. 15. Deputy 1
informed Plaintiff that he approached Plaintiff to “see
what [he was] up to” because “people . . . do
drugs and steal avocados” in the area. Id.
Deputy 1 also told Plaintiff that this was “not a rest
area.” Id. The officers subsequently left
Plaintiff without issuing a ticket or arresting him.
Id. Plaintiff alleges that the officers had no basis
to approach his car and excessively prolonged his detention.
FAC at ¶ 27.
Stop. At about 10 a.m., on or about August 7, 2017, a
San Diego county sheriff deputy (Doe 2) stopped Plaintiff as
he was preparing to turn left onto California Highway 15. FAC
at ¶¶ 34-35. Doe 2 “activated his flashing
police lights and detained Plaintiff saying someone in the
area . . . complained about Plaintiff not belonging in the
area.” FAC at ¶ 35. Plaintiff was detained for
eleven minutes and alleges that the officers has no legal
basis to do so. FAC ¶¶ 35-36.
being pulled over, Plaintiff alleges that he had driven along
a two-mile street lined with intermittent houses and avocado
orchards in the hopes of finding a good place to hike while
the traffic on highway 15 diminished. FAC at ¶ 34.
Plaintiff returned to the highway after failing to find a
place to hike. FAC at ¶ 35.
Stop. On or about March 29, 2018, another San Diego
county sheriff officer (Doe 3) pulled up behind
Plaintiff's car parked off California Highway 15,
approached the car on foot, and said to Plaintiff,
“Don't go anywhere.” FAC at ¶ 42;
see also FAC at pp. 17-19. Officer Doe 3 stood
outside Plaintiff's car door and detained Plaintiff for
two minutes. FAC at ¶¶ 44, 51, 52. Officer Doe 3
repeated that Plaintiff could not leave and informed
Plaintiff that he was making sure Plaintiff's car
wasn't stolen. FAC at pp. 17- 18. Plaintiff then showed
the officer his ID, confirmed his date of birth, and asked
the officer to run a background check so that he could be on
his way. FAC at pp. 17-18. Shortly thereafter, the Officer
let Plaintiff leave. FAC at p. 18. During this interaction,
Plaintiff felt he was not “free to go about his
business.” FAC at ¶ 42.
alleges that the Doe 3 detained him without a legal basis.
FAC at ¶ 43. Plaintiff further alleges that the officer
“made threats of violence” which led Plaintiff to
think the officer ...