United States District Court, E.D. California
JANELLE HARNESS; ZIONNAH SMARR, THROUGH HER GUARDIAN AD LITEM; AND BRAYDEN SMARR, THROUGH HIS GUARDIAN AD LITEM, Plaintiffs,
CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL; UNKNOWN OFFICER DOE 1; UNKNOWN OFFICER DOE 2; AND DOES 3 THROUGH 25, INCLUSIVE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING UNOPPOSED
MOTION TO DISMISS, VACATING HEARING, AND REMANDING CASE TO
KERN COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT (ECF NO. 8)
LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
23, 2019, plaintiffs Janelle Harness, Brayden Smarr, and
Zionnah Smarr (“Plaintiffs”) filed a civil rights
and wrongful death action in the Superior Court of
California, County of Kern. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 1. Plaintiffs
filed an amended complaint on July 31, 2019. ECF No. 1, Ex. A
(“FAC”). The case was removed to this Court on
October 14, 2019. ECF No. 1.
claims concern an officer-involved shooting that occurred on
February 8, 2019 in an unincorporated area of Kern County.
See generally FAC. Plaintiffs allege decedent, Aaron
Przkeop, was shot and killed by an unknown California Highway
Patrol (“CHP”) Officer or Officers. Id.
at ¶ 9. The FAC contains a single state law wrongful
death claim and a single claim arising under 42 U.S.C §
1983 (“Section 1983”). See generally
FAC. The only named defendant at this time is the CHP,
although allegations are leveled at various “Doe”
CHP officers as well. Id.
November 13, 2019, the CHP moved to dismiss the Section 1983
claim in its entirety on the ground that the CHP is not a
“person” for purposes of Section 1983 liability.
ECF No. 8 (“Motion”). The CHP also moved to
dismiss the wrongful death claim as to Plaintiff Janelle
Harness on the ground that she lacks standing to sue.
Id. On November 29, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a
statement of non-opposition, indicating that they do not
oppose any aspect of the Motion. ECF No. 9.
reviewed the Motion in light of the entire record, including
Plaintiffs' non-opposition, the Court finds the Motion
suitable for decision on the papers pursuant to Local Rule
230(g) and GRANTS the Motion in its entirety.
well established that CHP is an arm of the State of
California and therefore cannot be sued for monetary damages
under Section 1983. See Herrera v. Cal. Highway
Patrol, No. 1:15-CV-01882 TLN SAB, 2017 WL 590244, at *1
(E.D. Cal. Feb. 14, 2017); Quilici v. Cal. Highway
Patrol, No. 2:16-CV-1523 MCE AC (PS), 2016 WL 3906691,
at *2 (E.D. Cal. July 18, 2016). Likewise, the Court agrees
that, as a parent of decedent, Plaintiff Harness has not pled
eligibility to recover under California Code of Civil
Procedure § 377.0(a).
have not requested leave to amend the federal claim, nor does
it appear possible to amend to state a Section 1983 claim for
damages against the individual “Doe” CHP
Officers. Actions against state officials in their official
capacities are treated as suits against the State and are
therefore generally barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25 (1991); Holley v.
Cal. Dep't. of Corr., 599 F.3d 1108, 1111 (9th Cir.
courts may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
a claim . . . if the district court has dismissed all claims
over which it has original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367(c)(3). “[I]n the usual case in which all
federal-law claims are eliminated before trial, the balance
of factors to be considered under the pendent jurisdiction
doctrine - judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and
comity - will point toward declining to exercise jurisdiction
over the remaining state-law claims.” Sanford v.
MemberWorks, Inc., 625 F.3d 550, 561 (9th Cir. 2010)
(quoting Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S.
343, 350 n. 7 (1988)). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), the
court must remand an action sua sponte if
the court loses subject-matter jurisdiction after removal. 28
U.S.C. 1447(c); Polo v. Innoventions Int'l, LLC,
833 F.3d 1193, 1196 (9th Cir. 2016) (“No motion, timely
or otherwise, is necessary: ultimate responsibility to ensure
jurisdiction lies with the district court.”).
reasons set forth above:
(1) The CHP's Motion is GRANTED in its entirety;
(2) The hearing on the Motion, currently set for December 16,
2019, is VACATED; and
(3) This case is REMANDED to the Superior Court for the