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Phillips v. Haas

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 5, 2019

JESSIE WADE PHILLIPS, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN HAAS, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          DENNIS M. COTA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this civil action. Pending before the court is defendants' unopposed motion to dismiss (ECF No. 13).

         I. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         This action proceeds on plaintiff Jessie Wade Phillips' original complaint.[1]Plaintiff names the following as defendants: (1) Kevin Haas, a detective with the Chico Police Department; and (2) the Chico Police Department. See ECF No. 1, pg. 2. Plaintiff alleges:

On April 23, 2016, my mentally ill neighbor smashed through my sliding glass door with a cement irrigation block. When I approached him and asked him to leave he proceeded to stab me several times and a struggle ensued. My fourteen year old son managed to call the police. After the suspect was detained and I was in the ambulance Detective Kevin Haas took it upon himself to enter into my residence illegally search my bedroom where he found and seized contraband. I was issued a felony warrant for drug sells nine months later. After nearly three years of deliberation it was found that Detective Haas did in fact violate my fourth amendment rights and the evidence was then suppressed and the charges later dropped.
ECF No. 1, pg. 4.

         Plaintiff states he is suing defendant Haas in his individual capacity only. See id. at 2. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. See id. at 5.

         II. STANDARD FOR MOTION TO DISMISS

         In considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all allegations of material fact in the complaint as true. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). The court must also construe the alleged facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); see also Hosp. Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hosp. Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976); Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 816 (9th Cir. 1994) (per curiam). All ambiguities or doubts must also be resolved in the plaintiff's favor. See Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969). However, legally conclusory statements, not supported by actual factual allegations, need not be accepted. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50 (2009). In addition, pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

         Rule 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” in order to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). However, in order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain more than “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555-56. The complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it ‘stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility for entitlement to relief.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court generally may not consider materials outside the complaint and pleadings. See Cooper v. Pickett, 137 F.3d 616, 622 (9th Cir. 1998); Branch v. Tunnell, 14 F.3d 449, 453 (9th Cir. 1994). The court may, however, consider: (1) documents whose contents are alleged in or attached to the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, see Branch, 14 F.3d at 454; (2) documents whose authenticity is not in question, and upon which the complaint necessarily relies, but which are not attached to the complaint, see Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001); and (3) documents and materials of which the court may take judicial notice, see Barron v. Reich, 13 F.3d 1370, 1377 (9th Cir. 1994).

         Finally, leave to amend must be granted “[u]nless it is absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the defects.” Lucas v. Dep't of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

         III. DISCUSSION

         In their unopposed motion to dismiss, defendants argue: (1) the entire action is barred by the applicable statute of limitations; and (2) plaintiff fails to state a claim against defendant Chico Police Department.[2] To the extent the court does not find these arguments dispositive of the entire action, defendants also seek an order striking plaintiff's request for punitive ...


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