Warden v. Walkup et al

Filing 49

ORDER ADOPTING 46 Report and Recommendations. DENYING 40 Motion to Amend/Correct filed by Roy Warden, GRANTED IN PART, DENIED IN PART 28 Motion to Dismiss Case filed by Unknown Dormand, Unknown Flores, Unknown Friedman, Kathleen Robins on, Richard Miranda, Mike Rankin, Tucson Police Department, Tucson, City of, Unknown Kugler. Officer flores, Tucson Police Department and Does 1-100 terminated. Plaintiff to submit document within 20 days as to defendants in Count One, Paragraph C. Matter referred back to Magistrate Judge Velasco for purther pretrial proceedings.(See attached pdf for complete information). Signed by Judge Cindy K Jorgenson on 11/16/12. (SMBE)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 ROY WARDEN, Plaintiff, 10 11 vs. 12 BOB WALKUP, et al., 13 Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. CIV 11-460-TUC-CKJ (BPV) ORDER 14 On October 2, 2012, Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco issued a Report and 15 Recommendation (Doc. 46) in which he recommended that Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss 16 be construed as a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 28) and that it be granted in 17 part and denied in part. The Magistrate Judge further recommended that the Tucson Police 18 Department, Does 1-100, and, absent a show of cause, Officer Flores be dismissed from this 19 action in its entirety. The Magistrate Judge also recommended that Plaintiff Roy Warden 20 (“Warden”) be ordered to provide information regarding unnamed Defendants. Lastly, the 21 Magistrate Judge recommended the Court deny Warden’s motion to amend. (Doc. 40) 22 Magistrate Judge Velasco advised the parties that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), any 23 written objections were to be filed and served within 14 days after being served with a copy 24 of the Report and Recommendation. Warden has filed an objection; Defendants have filed 25 a response. Warden has requested oral argument. The Court declines to schedule this matter 26 for oral argument. 27 28 1 Pleading Standards Set Forth by Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) 2 Warden argues that the magistrate judge incorrectly applied the standards for stating 3 a claim upon which relief may be granted. In effect, Warden asserts that the magistrate judge 4 did not correctly apply the standards for determining whether claims upon which relief can 5 be granted. See Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011) ("If there are two 6 alternative explanations, one advanced by defendant and the other advanced by plaintiff, both 7 of which are plausible, plaintiff's complaint survives a motion to dismiss[.]"). The Court will 8 not separately address Warden’s argument, but will consider the standards in considering the 9 Report and Recommendation. 10 11 Statute of Limitations 12 Warden argues that exceptions, as set forth in National RR Passenger Corp. v. 13 Morgan, 536 U.S. 101 (2002), permit him to plead “allegations which fall outside the two 14 year statute of limitations to support timely claims.” Objections, p. 5. Warden appears to 15 assert the Supreme Court permits “continuing violations” in hostile work environment 16 claims, “pattern-or-practice” claims, and to support a timely claim. The Court agrees with 17 Warden that the Supreme Court “allowed the application of the [continuing violation] 18 doctrine to a claim for hostile work environment, which by its nature consists of multiple 19 related actions that by themselves may not constitute discrimination, but in the aggregate 20 create an ongoing discriminatory workplace environment.” Darensburg v. Metropolitan 21 Transp., 611 F.Supp.2d 994, 1040 (N.D. Cal. 2009), citing Morgan, 536 U.S. at 122. 22 However, the Court specifically stated that it was not considering “the timely filing question 23 with respect to ‘pattern-or-practice’ claims brought by private litigants as none [were] at 24 issue [in Morgan]. Morgan, 536 U.S. at 115, n. 9. Warden has not stated a hostile work 25 environment claim and, in light of the general rule prohibiting continuing violation claims, 26 the Court declines to consider whether a pattern-or-practice claim is appropriate. 27 28 As to permitting allegations to support a timely claim, the Supreme Court and the -2- 1 Ninth Circuit have held that time-barred conduct may be offered as evidence of 2 discriminatory intent to support timely claims. Morgan, 536 U.S. at 113; United Airlines Inc. 3 v. Evans, 431 U.S. 533, 558 (1977); Lyons v. England, 307 F.3d 1092, 1111 (9th Cir.2002) 4 (time-barred acts of employment discrimination “relevant as background and may be 5 considered by the trier of fact in assessing the defendant's liability ....”). In other words, 6 Warden is permitted to allege such claims in support of his timely claims, but the time-barred 7 claims are not permitted. 8 The Court agrees with the magistrate judge’s recommendation that Count One, 9 Paragraphs A and B, Count Three, Paragraph A, and Count Four, Paragraphs A through E, 10 and the first two claims of Paragraph F are barred by the statute of limitations. These claims 11 will be dismissed. 12 13 Retaliation Claims Against Dormand and Friedman 14 Warden asserts that the magistrate judge applied a summary judgment standard rather 15 than determining whether he had stated a claim upon which relief could be granted. The 16 magistrate judge stated: 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Having reviewed Count Two of the Amended Complaint, the Magistrate Judge finds that the allegations do not establish that Officers Friedman and Dormand’s citation of Plaintiff and impoundment of his vehicle was motivated in any way by the Plaintiff's exercise of constitutionally protected activity. Plaintiff did not allege that he was engaged in a constitutionally protected activity on the date of his encounter with Officers Friedman and Dormand, nor does he allege facts to support his position that the officers induced Plaintiff to drive an unregistered vehicle on a suspended license for the purpose of citing him and impounding his vehicle with an intent to chill his speech or punish him based on his exercise of protected speech. Furthermore, Defendants plainly had probable cause to cite Plaintiff; Warden does not dispute that he drove on a suspended license. Though Plaintiff alleges that he informed Officers Friedman and Dormand of his speaking appearances in front of the Tucson City Counsel, Plaintiff did not do so until after the officers had decided to cite Plaintiff and confiscate the car. (See Doc. 6, ¶¶ 102, 105-06) Plaintiff alleged that remarks made by other TPD officers while investigating another incident at Plaintiff’s residence “confirmed TPD’s animus towards Plaintiff.” (Id., ¶ 115) This, however, is insufficient to allege a retaliation claim against Officers Friedman and Dormand. Plaintiff submits that the events which occurred on August 3, 2009 were an exercise of the long-standing custom and policy of Tucson City Officials to use their public office, and the color of law, to engage in retaliatory acts against individuals who exercise their First Amendment rights in opposition to the official’s personally or their -3- 1 2 3 4 5 6 policy generally. This allegation, however, is insufficient to state a claim that Officers Friedman and Dorman’s desire to cause such a chilling effect was a but-for cause of Defendants’ actions on August 3, 2009. Because Plaintiff has failed to plead facts or allegations in Count Two from which to reasonably infer that any action taken by Defendants Friedman and Dormand was in retaliation for Plaintiffs' protected activity, the Magistrate Judge recommends that Defendants' Motion to dismiss Count Two of the Amended Complaint be granted. Report and Recommendation, pp. 14-15. The Ninth Circuit has stated: 8 Because direct evidence of retaliatory intent rarely can be pleaded in a complaint, allegation of a chronology of events from which retaliation can be inferred is sufficient to survive dismissal. See Pratt, 65 F.3d at 808 (“timing can properly be considered as circumstantial evidence of retaliatory intent”); Murphy v. Lane, 833 F.2d 106, 108–09 (7th Cir.1987). 9 Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1114 (9th Cir. 2012). Warden alleges engaging in 10 protected activity and alleges facts that permit a reasonable inference that Defendants 11 Durmond and Friedman had some knowledge of Warden and/or prior conduct of Warden 12 (e.g., “I know there are issues with Roy’s Drivers License[;]” “Hello Roy!” First Amended 13 Complaint, pp. 21-22). However, there are no factual allegations or reasonable inferences 14 that Defendants Durmond or Friedman knew of prior conduct that constituted protected 15 activity before their contact with Warden on August 3, 2009. Unlike in Starr where the 16 plaintiff had "specifically allege[d] that [defendant] was given notice of [the incidents,]" 652 17 F.3d at 1216, Warden has not alleged any facts that Defendants Durmond or Friedman knew 18 of Warden's protected activity. In other words, although Warden alleges that his explanation 19 is just as plausible as any other, his explanation fails to allege facts to support it. Moreover, 20 although a chronology of events has been alleged, retaliation cannot be inferred from that 21 chronology. See Starr, 652 F.3d at 1216. (9th Cir. 2011) (“the factual allegations that are 22 taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief”). The Court agrees with the 23 magistrate judge that Warden has failed to alleged a First Amendment retaliation claim 24 against Defendants Durmond and Friedman. The Motion to Dismiss as to Count II will be 25 granted. 7 26 27 28 -4- 1 Second Amended Complaint 2 Warden objects to the magistrate judge’s recommendation that his motion to amend 3 be denied. Warden appears to argue that his proposed Second Amended Complaint 4 adequately states a claim upon which relief can be granted and asserts that, because justice 5 so requires, leave to amend should be granted. Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132 (9th Cir. 6 1987). 7 As stated by the magistrate judge, granting leave to amend is not appropriate if the 8 proposed amendment would be futile. Allen v. City of Beverly Hills, 911 F.2d 367, 373 (9th 9 Cir. 1990) (“five factors are frequently used to assess the propriety of a motion for leave to 10 amend: (1) bad faith, (2) undue delay, (3) prejudice to the opposing party, (4) futility of 11 amendment; and (5) whether plaintiff has previously amended his complaint.”). 12 In Counts One, Two, Four, and Six, Warden has incorporated all prior paragraphs and 13 has alleged offenses against named and unnamed defendants. This places the onus on the 14 Court to decipher which, if any, facts support which claims, as well as to determine whether 15 a plaintiff is entitled to the relief sought. Haynes v. Anderson & Strudwick, Inc., 508 F.Supp. 16 1303 (D.C.Va. 1981); see also, Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004) (“District judges 17 have no obligation to act as counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants” because this would 18 undermine district judges’ role as impartial decisionmakers.). As stated by the magistrate 19 judge, “[t]he Court cannot be expected to wade through Plaintiff’s lengthy recitation of facts 20 and pick and choose which named and unnamed Defendants and which facts support 21 Plaintiff’s claims.” Report and Recommendation, p. 26. 22 As to Count Three, it does not appear that Warden has included any additional 23 allegations regarding this claim. In other words, the proposed Second Amended Complaint 24 does not add anything to this claim and such amendment, therefore, would be futile. 25 As to Count Five, Warden again incorporates all prior paragraphs, alleges that 26 unnamed defendants improperly exerted pressure on Defendants Rankin, Merritt, and 27 Mehroff, and then alleges that the actions of Defendants Rankin, Merritt, and Merhoff were 28 -5- 1 the proximate cause of harm done to Plaintiff. Although Warden asserts that unnamed 2 persons improperly exerted pressure, he then alleges claims against Defendants Rankin, 3 Merritt, and Mehroff. Again, Warden is placing the onus on the Court to determine which 4 facts support his claim. Lastly, to the extent Warden is alleging claims against prosecutors, 5 prosecutorial immunity renders the proposed amendment futile. See generally Lacey v. 6 Maricopa County, 693 F.3d 896 (9th Cir. 2012); see also Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, 555 7 U.S. 335, 343 (2009). 8 9 The Court agrees with the magistrate judge that denial of the motion to amend is appropriate. 10 Accordingly, after an independent review, IT IS ORDERED: 11 1. The Report and Recommendation (Doc. 46) is ADOPTED. 12 2. Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, construed as a Motion for Judgment on the 13 Pleadings (Doc. 28), is GRANTED IN PART. The following are dismissed: 14 (a) Count One, Paragraphs A and B, Count Three, Paragraph A, and Count 15 Four, Paragraphs A through E, and the first two claims of Paragraph F, 16 for failure to comply with the two-year statute of limitations applicable 17 to Plaintiff’s claims. 18 (b) Counts Two, Three and Four for failure to state a claim. 19 (c) Officer Flores. 20 (d) Tucson Police Department. 21 (e) Does 1-100. 22 3. 23 24 Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, construed as a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 28), is DENIED IN PART, as to Count One, Paragraph C. 4. Plaintiff shall submit a document within 20 days of the date of this Order 25 providing (1) an explanation of what Plaintiff has done to try to learn the 26 names of the unnamed Defendants in Count One, Paragraph C, (2) a 27 description of what discovery he would undertake to learn their names, and (3) 28 -6- 1 the identity of at least one person who could be served with discovery. 2 5. Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend (Doc. 40) is DENIED. 3 6. This matter is referred back to Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco for 4 further pretrial proceedings and report and recommendation in accordance with 5 the provisions of 28 U. S. C. § 636(b)(1) and L.R.Civ.P. 72.1 and 72.2. 6 DATED this 16th day of November, 2012. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -7-

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