Don Martin v. City of Los Angeles et al

Filing 29

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND by Magistrate Judge Suzanne H. Segal. The Second Amended Complaint is dismissed with leave to amend. If Plaintiff still wishes to pursue this action, he is granted thirty ( 30) days from the date of this Memorandum and Order within which to file a Third Amended Complaint. Plaintiff is strongly encouraged to utilize the standard civil rights complaint form when filing any amended complaint, a copy of which is attached. P laintiff is further advised that if he no longer wishes to pursue this action, he may voluntarily dismiss it by filing a Notice of Dismissal in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). A form Notice of Dismissal is attached for Plaintiff's convenience. (See document for further details). (Attachments: # 1 Civil Rights Complaint Form, # 2 Notice of Dismissal Form) (mr)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 DON MARTIN, Case No. CV 16-2655 TJH (SS) Plaintiff, 12 v. 13 14 MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH CITY OF LOS ANGELES, et al., LEAVE TO AMEND Defendants. 15 16 17 18 I. 19 INTRODUCTION 20 21 On February 13, 2018, Plaintiff Don Martin (“Plaintiff”), a 22 California resident proceeding pro se, filed a Second Amended 23 Complaint, alleging violations of his civil rights pursuant to 42 24 U.S.C. § 1983. 25 City 26 property 27 occasions. 28 of Los to (“SAC,” Dkt. No. 28). Angeles be and various unlawfully (See SAC at 2-8). seized Plaintiff claims that the city employees caused and destroyed on his several 1 Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a trial 2 court may dismiss a claim sua sponte “where the claimant cannot 3 possibly win relief.” 4 986, 991 (9th Cir. 1987); see also Baker v. Director, U.S. Parole 5 Comm’n, 916 F.2d 725, 726 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (per curiam) (adopting 6 the Ninth Circuit’s position in Omar and noting that such a sua 7 sponte 8 plaintiff’s rights and the efficient use of judicial resources”). 9 When a plaintiff appears pro se in a civil rights case, the court 10 must construe the pleadings liberally and afford the plaintiff 11 the benefit of any doubt. 12 Dep’t., 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988). 13 interpretation to a pro se complaint, the court may not, however, 14 supply essential elements of a claim that were not initially 15 pled. 16 268 (9th Cir. 1982). 17 to amend the complaint unless it is “absolutely clear that the 18 deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.” 19 Karim-Panahi, 839 F.2d at 623 (citation and internal quotations 20 omitted). 21 DISMISSED with leave to amend.1 dismissal “is Omar v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc., 813 F.2d practical and fully consistent with Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police In giving liberal Ivey v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, For the A court must give a pro se litigant leave reasons stated below, the Complaint is 22 23 // 24 // 25 // 26 27 28 A magistrate judge may dismiss a complaint with leave to amend without the approval of a district judge. See McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th Cir. 1991). 1 2 1 II. 2 FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND CLAIMS 3 4 Plaintiff sues the City of Los Angeles (“the City”) and 5 several city 6 Martinez, 7 attorney; Cline, a police officer; “Doe One,” a police officer; 8 and “Does Two-Ten,” city public works employees. a employees city in their councilwoman; individual Tamar capacities: Galatzan, a Nury deputy city (SAC at 2-4). 9 10 Plaintiff claims that Martinez, Galatzan and Does One-Ten 11 violated his Fourth Amendment and Due Process rights by causing 12 his property to be taken and destroyed. 13 alleges that this occurred at a homeless encampment on Bessemer 14 Street in Van Nuys, California on April 1 and May 23, 2014. 15 at 16 clothing, bedding, and other necessities of life.” 17 alleges that on December 17, 2015, at a different Van Nuys street 18 corner, the same Defendants took away in a dump truck Plaintiff’s 19 “electronic equipment, stationery, bicycles, food, etc.” 20 6). 21 orders, Doe One had Plaintiff’s 1995 Dodge truck towed away, 22 though “the officer knew there was no parking violation and no 23 registration 24 relief. 5). The lost property included violation.” (Id.). (Id. at 9). // 27 “legal materials, He (Id. food, (Id.). He (Id. at He further claims that on February 7, 2016, on Martinez’s 25 26 (Id. at 2, 5-8). // 28 3 Plaintiff seeks monetary 1 III. 2 DISCUSSION 3 4 A. Plaintiff Fails To State A Claim Against The City 5 6 Plaintiff attempts to state a claim against the City. 7 However, municipal entities, such as the City, may only be sued 8 for constitutional torts committed by their officials according 9 to an official policy, practice, or custom. 10 11 Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of City of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). specifically rejected governmental liability based Monell on the 12 13 14 doctrine of respondeat superior. Id. at 691-94. Thus, a government body cannot be held liable under section 1983 merely 15 because it employs a tortfeasor. 16 suing the City, he must identify some official municipal policy 17 pursuant to which the actions of its representatives caused the 18 injuries complained of. 19 20 21 22 23 Id. Insofar as Plaintiff is Id. at 690-91; Lytle v. Carl, 382 F.3d 978, 982 (9th Cir. 2004). As the Ninth Circuit has found, “there must be a ‘widespread practice.’” Marsh v. Cty. of San Diego, 680 F.3d 1148, 1159 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Davis v. City of Ellensburg, 869 F.2d 1230, 1233 (9th Cir. 1989)). 24 25 26 27 Here, deprivations Plaintiff occurred asserts generally “according to that official the alleged custom and practice,” and that “similar actions are carried out every week 28 4 1 by the City.” 2 any 3 4 facts to (SAC at 2). show that However, Plaintiff fails to allege Defendants’ actions are part of any ongoing policy of the City, rather than being merely isolated incidents. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s claims against the City are 5 6 7 8 dismissed with leave to amend. B. Plaintiff Fails To State A Claim Against The Named Individual Defendants 9 10 Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to section 1983 11 suits, 12 defendant, through the official’s own individual actions, has 13 violated the Constitution.” 14 (2009). The 15 personal participation 16 between the official’s conduct and the alleged constitutional 17 violation. “a plaintiff must plaintiff plead each Government-official Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 must or that establish “a either sufficient the causal official’s connection” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1207 (9th Cir. 2011). 18 19 Here, Plaintiff’s allegations against Martinez, Galatzan and 20 Cline are conclusory and vague. 21 Martinez “is responsible for orchestrating the seizures” of his 22 property. 23 “neighborhood 24 deprivations of Plaintiff’s rights.” 25 provide any facts showing how these Defendants orchestrated or 26 set in motion the alleged deprivations. 27 Officer 28 false pretenses.” (SAC Cline at 2). prosecutor” “order[ed] He for He asserts that Councilwoman states the seizures (Id. at 3). that City, Galatzan, “set in (Id. at 3). as the motion the He fails to Moreover, he claims that unlawfully – on grounds of However, he omits Cline from the 5 1 factual allegations, leaving no indication of what role Cline 2 played in the incidents. (See id. at 5-6). 3 4 Absent more pled specific these allegations, 6 violating 7 between any of their actions and any constitutional violations. 8 Accordingly, Plaintiff’s claims against Martinez, Galatzan and 9 Cline are dismissed with leave to amend. rights or any involvement not plausibly civil personal has 5 Plaintiff’s Defendants’ Plaintiff causal in connection 10 11 12 C. The Instant Complaint’s Remaining Allegations Fail To Comply With Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 13 14 Rule 8 requires that a pleading contain “a short and plain 15 statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to 16 relief.” 17 rather 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8. than a blanket Rule 8 requires a showing, assertion, of entitlement to relief. Factual allegations in a complaint satisfy the requirement of providing fair notice of the nature grounds on which the claim rests. of the claim, Fed. R. Civ. P. and the 8(a)(2); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Here, Plaintiff does not allegations to satisfy Rule 8. Martinez, Galatzan and Does provide sufficient factual He claims, for example, that Two-Ten unjustifiably personal property on three different occasions. seized his (SAC at 5-6). However, aside from the dates, street locations and types of property seized, he fails to allege any facts about the nature of 6 1 these incidents. As such, Plaintiff’s allegations do not show 2 that there are plausible grounds for relief, nor do they provide 3 enough facts for Defendants to properly respond to the claims. 4 5 Moreover, Plaintiff’s claims appear to rest partly on the 6 right to be protected against unlawful search and seizure — a 7 fact-specific 8 (1989) 9 Amendment requires a careful balancing of ‘the nature and quality 10 of the intrusion on the individual’s Fourth Amendment interests’ 11 against 12 (some internal quotation marks omitted). 13 to satisfy Rule 8, he must state a cognizable legal theory for an 14 unlawful 15 there are plausible grounds for relief. 16 Because the Second Amended Complaint fails to satisfy Rule 8, it 17 is dismissed with leave to amend. inquiry. (whether the a Graham “seizure countervailing seizure, v. is Connor, reasonable governmental providing 490 applicable U.S. under interests 386, the at 396 Fourth stake”) In order for Plaintiff facts that demonstrate Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 668. 18 19 D. Substitute True Names for “Doe” Defendants 20 21 Plaintiff fails to plead the names of the Doe Defendants. 22 Plaintiff is responsible for obtaining the full name of each 23 defendant named in any amended complaint. 24 result 25 defendants. in dismissal of claims against Failure to do so will these seven “Doe” 26 27 Accordingly, if Plaintiff does not know the full names of 28 the Doe Defendants, he must promptly investigate to determine the 7 1 true name of the defendant. Plaintiff may then substitute the 2 full names of those defendants who are inadequately identified in 3 the current Complaint. 4 5 IV. 6 CONCLUSION 7 8 9 For the reasons stated above, the Second Amended Complaint is dismissed with leave to amend.2 If Plaintiff still wishes to 10 pursue this action, he is granted thirty (30) days from the date 11 of this Memorandum and Order within which to file a Third Amended 12 Complaint. 13 defects 14 defendants or new allegations that are not reasonably related to 15 the 16 Complaint, if any, shall be complete in itself and shall bear 17 both 18 number assigned to this action. 19 to any prior complaint. 20 2 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 In any amended complaint, Plaintiff shall cure the described claims the above. asserted in designation Plaintiff prior “Third shall complaints. Amended not The Complaint” include Third and new Amended the case It shall not refer in any manner Plaintiff shall limit his action only to Plaintiff has another pending civil rights action in this Court, which he initiated in 2012. (See CV 12-0315 TJH (SS)). Plaintiff notes, in his Second Amended Complaint, that he intends to seek leave in the 2012 action to amend his pleading to add the claims from the instant case and then dismiss this case. (See SAC at 9). However, Plaintiff previously moved to consolidate the two cases on May 8, 2017, and the Court denied the motions on June 16, 2017. (See CV 12-0315 TJH (SS), Dkt. Nos. 72, 74; CV 16-2655-TJH (SS), Dkt. Nos. 17, 19). The Court found that consolidation was not in the interests of justice because, despite some overlap in Defendants and time periods, the two actions are not fully co-extensive and are at different stages of litigation. (CV 12-0315 TJH (SS), Dkt. No. 74 at 3; CV 16-2655TJH (SS), Dkt. No. 19 at 3). 8 1 those Defendants who are properly named in such a complaint, 2 consistent 3 reminds Plaintiff that it may be more efficient to seek to amend 4 his Prior Complaint with related claims, as opposed to initiating 5 an entirely new action. with the authorities discussed above. The Court 6 7 In any 8 allegations 9 claims. amended to complaint, those operative Plaintiff facts should supporting confine each of his his Plaintiff is advised that pursuant to Federal Rule of 10 Civil Procedure 8(a), all that is required is a “short and plain 11 statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to 12 relief.” 13 standard 14 complaint, 15 complaint, Plaintiff should make clear the nature and grounds for 16 each claim and specifically identify the Defendants he maintains 17 are liable for that claim. 18 for which he cannot allege a proper factual basis. Plaintiff civil a is rights copy of strongly complaint which encouraged form is when to filing attached. In utilize the any amended any amended Plaintiff shall not assert any claims 19 20 Plaintiff is explicitly cautioned that failure to timely 21 file a Third Amended Complaint, or failure to correct the 22 deficiencies described above, will result in a recommendation 23 that this entire action be dismissed with prejudice for failure 24 to prosecute and obey Court orders pursuant to Federal Rule of 25 Civil Procedure 41(b). 26 27 Plaintiff is further advised that if he no longer wishes to 28 pursue this action, he may voluntarily dismiss it by filing a 9 1 Notice of Dismissal in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil 2 Procedure 41(a)(1). 3 Plaintiff’s convenience. A form Notice of Dismissal is attached for 4 5 DATED: March 12, 2018 6 /S/ __________ SUZANNE H. SEGAL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 7 8 9 10 THIS MEMORANDUM IS NOT INTENDED FOR PUBLICATION NOR IS IT INTENDED TO BE INCLUDED IN OR SUBMITTED TO ANY ONLINE SERVICE SUCH AS WESTLAW OR LEXIS. 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 10

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