De La Fuente Manriquez, et al v. Phoenix, City of et al

Filing 18

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 4 Motion to Dismiss Party. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 12/1/2011.(NVO)

Download PDF
1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Mario De La Fuente Manriquez, et al., Plaintiffs, 10 11 ORDER vs. 12 No. CV11-01981-PHX-DGC City of Phoenix, et al., Defendants. 13 14 15 Defendants City of Phoenix, Jeff Kornegay, Jack Harris, John Collins, James 16 Holmes, and Steve Garcia (“City Defendants”) have filed a motion to dismiss with 17 prejudice pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Doc. 4. The motion has 18 been fully briefed. Docs. 4, 9, 12. Neither party has requested oral argument. For the 19 reasons that follow, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part. 20 I. Background. 21 A state grand jury indicted Plaintiffs on November 30, 2009 for various felony 22 offenses including conspiracy, fraudulent schemes, participation in a criminal syndicate, 23 illegal control of an enterprise, and money laundering. Doc. 1-2, at 11. Plaintiffs filed a 24 motion to remand or in the alternative to dismiss on the ground that the State’s grand jury 25 presentation denied Plaintiffs their due process rights. Id. That motion was granted on 26 November 8, 2010, and the State did not appeal. Plaintiffs then filed a complaint against 27 the City of Phoenix, Kornegay (a City detective), Harris (the City’s chief of police), 28 Collins (a City police lieutenant), Holmes (a City police department media relations 1 employee), and Garcia (a City detective), among others. The complaint alleges a mixture 2 of federal civil rights and state tort law violations. Plaintiffs’ federal civil rights claims 3 are (1) malicious prosecution, (2) false arrest, (3) defamation relating to a press 4 conference, (4) defamation relating to a website posting, (5) excessive force, and 5 (6) destruction of property. Doc. 1-2. Plaintiffs’ state tort claims include (7) malicious 6 prosecution, (8) defamation, (9) false light invasion of privacy, and (10) negligence.1 Id. 7 City Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint in its entirety with prejudice, 8 alleging that Plaintiffs failed to serve timely notices of claim on the individual 9 defendants, that the defamation claims were not filed within the statute of limitations, and 10 that the City of Phoenix is not liable under respondeat superior. Doc. 4, at 5. 11 II. Legal Standard. 12 When analyzing a complaint for failure to state a claim to relief under 13 Rule 12(b)(6), the well-pled factual allegations “‘are taken as true and construed in the 14 light most favorable to the nonmoving party.’” Cousins v. Lockyer, 568 F.3d 1063, 1067 15 (9th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). To avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, the complaint 16 must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. 17 Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). This plausibility standard “is not akin to a 18 ‘probability requirement,’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant 19 has acted unlawfully.” 20 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to 21 infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged – but it has 22 not ‘show[n]’ – ‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.’” Id. at 1950 (quoting Fed. R. 23 Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). 24 III. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Analysis. 25 City Defendants concede that Plaintiffs’ federal defamation claims (Counts 3 and 26 4) were timely filed. Doc. 12, at 1. The Court will deny the motion on Counts 3 and 4. 27 28 1 Plaintiffs and City Defendants both refer to Count 11 in their memoranda. See, e.g., Docs. 4, at 3; 9, at 8. Plaintiffs’ complaint alleges only ten claims. -2- 1 City Defendants also concede that Harris was personally served with a notice of claim on 2 May 26, 2011. Doc. 12, at 2. The Court will deny the motion with respect to Harris. 3 Plaintiffs agree that the state tort defamation claim (Count 8) and related state tort claims 4 (Counts 9 and 10) should be dismissed as time-barred, and clarify that the only city 5 employees they intended to include in the state tort counts are Harris (all state torts) and 6 Kornegay (Count 7). Doc. 9, at 3-4. The Court will grant the motion on Counts 8, 9, and 7 10 in their entirety, and grant the motion on Count 7 with respect to Collins, Holmes, and 8 Garcia. The remaining considerations for the Court are Count 7 with respect to Kornegay 9 and the City of Phoenix, and Counts 1, 2, 5, and 6 with respect to all City Defendants. 10 A. Count 7: State Law Claim Against Kornegay. 11 City Defendants ask the Court to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint in its entirety, but 12 make no mention of Kornegay in their motion. They argue only that “Plaintiffs did not 13 serve their Notice of Claim on Defendants Collins, Holmes, and Garcia; therefore, the 14 state actions against them are barred.” Doc. 4, at 3. Indeed, Plaintiffs are the first to 15 address Kornegay at any length, arguing in their response that he attempted to evade 16 service and that City Defendants are now estopped from claiming that he was not served. 17 Doc. 9, at 4-7. 18 Kornegay. Doc. 12. City Defendants cannot raise arguments in their reply that were not 19 raised in their initial motion to dismiss. Cooke v. Lake Havasu City, CV10-8044-PCT- 20 DGC, 2010 WL 2671750, at *5 (D. Ariz. July 2, 2010) (citing Delgadillo v. Woodford, 21 527 F.3d 919, 930 n.4 (9th Cir. 2008)). 22 arguments, and will deny the motion on Count 7 with respect to Kornegay. City Defendants wait until their reply to raise arguments regarding The Court will not consider these new 23 B. Count 7: State Law Claim Against the City of Phoenix. 24 Plaintiffs allege in their complaint that the City of Phoenix “at all relevant times 25 herein was the employer of Defendants Kornegay, Harris, Collins, Holmes and Garcia 26 and acting through its agents and/or servants and/or employees, caused events to occur 27 and/or failed to prevent the occurrence of certain events, which are the subject of this 28 lawsuit.” Doc. 1-2, at 5. City Defendants do not challenge this assertion, but argue that -3- 1 Plaintiffs’ claims against the City should be dismissed because the claims against the 2 individual city defendants are barred and the complaint does not contain any facts 3 supporting independent wrongdoing by the City. Doc. 4, at 3. Count 7 is not barred 4 against Harris and Kornegay, and the Court therefore will deny the motion on Count 7 5 with respect to the City of Phoenix. 6 C. 7 City Defendants ask the Court to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint in its entirety, but 8 make no argument supporting dismissal of the federal claims. Although City Defendants 9 are employed by the City of Phoenix and are therefore public employees under 10 A.R.S. § 12-821.01(A), the notice of claims provision does not bar Plaintiffs’ federal 11 claims. See Felder v. Casey, 487 U.S. 131, 133 (1988) (holding that state notice of claim 12 provisions may not serve to “place conditions on the vindication of a federal right”). City 13 Defendants do not address any of the federal claims in their motion other than the federal 14 defamation claims (Counts 3 and 4), which they have since conceded were timely. 15 Doc. 4, at 4; cf. Doc. 12, at 1. The Court will deny the motion on Counts 1, 2, 5, and 6. 16 17 18 Counts 1, 2, 5, and 6: Federal Claims Against All City Defendants. IT IS ORDERED that the City Defendants’ motion to dismiss (Doc. 4) is granted in part and denied in part as set forth in this order. Dated this 1st day of December, 2011. 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -4-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?