Dolorez Perez v. County of Los Angeles et al

Filing 55

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS MOTION TO DISMISS 41 by Judge Otis D. Wright, II . (lc). Modified on 2/8/2018 (lc).

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O 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 United States District Court Central District of California 8 9 10 11 Plaintiff, 12 13 Case № 2:17-cv-01630-ODW-PLA DOLORES PEREZ, v. ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S 14 COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES; 15 RICHARD OCHOA; DOES 2–10, 16 inclusive, 17 MOTION TO DISMISS [41] Defendants. 18 19 I. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND 20 Plaintiff Dolores Perez alleges that Defendant Richard Ochoa, a deputy sheriff 21 for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, shot and killed her son, Joshua 22 Quintero. Perez sues Ochoa and the County of Los Angeles (the “County”) under 42 23 U.S.C. § 1983 and various state-law claims—false arrest/false imprisonment, battery, 24 negligence, and violation of California Civil Code § 52.1. 25 (“FAC”), ECF No. 36.) The County now moves to dismiss Perez’s state-law claims 26 under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that Perez failed to timely 27 28 (First Am. Compl. 1 submit pre-suit notice of her claims to the County. For the following reasons, the 2 Court DENIES the County’s Motion. (ECF No. 41.)1 3 II. LEGAL STANDARD 4 A complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a 5 claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 6 (2009). The determination whether a complaint satisfies the plausibility standard is a 7 “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial 8 experience and common sense.” Id. at 679. A court is generally limited to the 9 pleadings and must construe all “factual allegations set forth in the complaint . . . as 10 true and . . . in the light most favorable” to the plaintiff. Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 11 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001). But a court need not blindly accept conclusory 12 allegations, unwarranted deductions of fact, and unreasonable inferences. Sprewell v. 13 Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). The court must dismiss a 14 complaint that does not assert a cognizable legal theory or fails to plead sufficient 15 facts to support an otherwise cognizable legal theory. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); 16 Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). 17 III. DISCUSSION 18 The County argues that the Court should dismiss Perez’s state-law claims 19 because she did not present a formal claim prior to bringing suit pursuant to California 20 Government Code §§ 912.4 and 945.4. (Mot. 5, ECF No. 41.) In her FAC, Perez 21 alleges on October 18, 2016, she “filed a comprehensive and timely claim for 22 damages with the County of Los Angeles pursuant to applicable sections of California 23 Government Code.” (FAC ¶ 18.) She also alleges that since she received no written 24 rejection from the County, her claim was rejected by operation of law. (Id.) The 25 County asks the Court to take judicial notice of documents that purportedly contradict 26 Perez’s allegations. 27 28 After considering the papers filed in connection with the Motion, the Court deemed the matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-15. 1 2 1 A. The County’s Request for Judicial Notice 2 While a district court generally may not consider any material beyond the 3 pleadings in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court may consider any documents 4 referenced in the complaint, and may take judicial notice of matters in the public 5 record, without converting a motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment. See 6 Lee, 250 F.3d at 688–89. 7 The County requests the Court take judicial notice of the declaration of 8 Katherine Medina, the Deputy Clerk of the Board of Supervisors for the County of 9 Los Angeles and Custodian of Records for claims submitted to the Board of 10 Supervisors, in which she testifies that the County has no public record of Perez’s 11 claim. (Req. for Judicial Notice, Ex. A, ECF No. 40.) The County argues that 12 Medina’s declaration is appropriate for judicial notice because it contains a public 13 record and describes official acts of the County. (Id. at 2.) Judicial notice, however, 14 must be limited to facts that are not subject to reasonable dispute because it “(1) is 15 generally known within the trial court’s territorial jurisdiction or (2) can be accurately 16 and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be 17 questioned.” Fed. R. Evid. 201(b). Whether Perez actually presented her claim to the 18 County is a question of disputed fact. At this stage, the Court finds it inappropriate to 19 take judicial notice of the facts contained in Medina’s Declaration.2 20 The County cites a number of cases from the Eastern District of California in 21 support of its request. The Court finds these cases inapplicable, however, because 22 unlike Perez, the plaintiffs in those cases failed to affirmatively plead compliance with 23 the presentation requirements in the Government Code. 24 Sacramento, No. CIV S-10-1969, 2011 WL 4738472, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 5, 2011) 25 (“Plaintiff has failed to provide any information that he complied with the See Evans v. CSP 26 27 28 2 In support of her opposition, Perez submits evidence supporting her allegations that she did, in fact, timely present her claim to the County. (ECF Nos. 42, 43.) Because the Court finds that it is inappropriate to decide this disputed fact issue at the pleading stage, the Court declines to consider Perez’s evidence at this time. 3 1 [Government Claims Act].”); Elliott v. Amador Cnty. Unified Sch. Dist., No. 2:12-cv- 2 00117-MCE-DAD, 2012 WL 5013288, at *6 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 17, 2012) (finding that 3 plaintiff failed to present their tort claim to the correct public entity based on the claim 4 form attached to their complaint). Accordingly, the Court DENIES the County’s request for judicial notice as to 5 6 Exhibit A. (ECF No. 40.) 7 B. Compliance with California Government Code 8 In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court can consider only the pleadings and 9 documents that are incorporated by reference therein or are properly the subject of 10 judicial notice. United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 907–08 (9th Cir. 2003). The 11 Court finds that Perez has adequately pled compliance with the presentment 12 requirements of the Government Code. Therefore, the Court DENIES the County’s 13 Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 41.) The question of whether she actually complied 14 with these requirements is better left for motions for summary judgment after 15 discovery has occurred. 16 17 18 IV. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES the County’s Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 41.) 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 February 8, 2018 21 22 23 24 ____________________________________ OTIS D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 25 26 27 28 4

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