Marvin Louis Lowery v. City of Los Angele et al

Filing 8

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND by Magistrate Judge Jean P. Rosenbluth. If Plaintiff desires to pursue his claims, he is ORDERED to file a first amended complaint within 28 days of the date of this order. (See document for further details.) (sbou)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 MARVIN LOUIS LOWERY JR., Plaintiff, 13 14 v. 15 CITY OF LOS ANGELES et al., 16 Defendants. ) Case No. CV 18-9644-R (JPR) ) ) ) ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH ) LEAVE TO AMEND ) ) ) ) ) 17 18 On November 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed pro se a civil-rights 19 action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 20 to proceed in forma pauperis. 21 warrantless misdemeanor arrest at the Westwood branch of the Los 22 Angeles Public Library on June 21, 2018. 23 He was subsequently granted leave His claims arise from a After screening the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), 24 the Court finds that its allegations fail to state a claim upon 25 which relief might be granted. 26 that Plaintiff can state an actionable claim under § 1983, the 27 Complaint is dismissed with leave to amend. 28 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (holding that Although the Court is skeptical 1 See Lopez v. Smith, 1 pro se litigant must be given leave to amend complaint unless it 2 is absolutely clear that deficiencies cannot be cured). 3 Plaintiff desires to pursue any of his claims, he is ORDERED to 4 file a first amended complaint within 28 days of the date of this 5 order, remedying the deficiencies discussed below. 6 7 If ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT At about 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, 2018, Plaintiff 8 “was sitting at the border of the general section and the 9 children’s section” in the Westwood branch of the Los Angeles 10 Public Library. 11 warning that patrons who engage in disruptive behavior, do not 12 follow rules, or do not leave the library when asked “will be 13 subject to arrest and prosecution” under Penal Code section 14 602.1(b).1 15 Plaintiff “frequented th[e] [Westwood branch] library often and 16 incurred minimal issue[s]” with staff and a “newly contracted” 17 security company. 18 (Compl. at 5-6.) The library has a posted (Id., Exs. B & C; see also Compl. at 4, 7.) (Compl. at 5-6.) “With a certain sensitivity” for “other patron[]s,” 19 Plaintiff began to “engage[] with [his] daily audible ruminations 20 at a hushed tone.” (Id. at 6.)2 “For some reason,” that conduct 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 That statute provides in relevant part that anyone who “intentionally interferes with any lawful business carried on by the employees of a public agency open to the public,” by “obstructing or intimidating” those present or attempting to transact business with the agency, “and who refuses to leave the premises” upon request of an agency manager or supervisor or a peace officer is guilty of a misdemeanor. See § 602.1(b). 2 Plaintiff suffers from unspecified “extreme mental issues” that cause “psychotic outbursts” and for which he takes “psychotropic drug[s],” including Risperdal. (See Compl. at 6-7.) He does not specifically allege that his “daily audible 2 1 “aroused the attention of one of the librarians,” who approached 2 Plaintiff and warned him that he could not talk on his cell 3 phone. 4 name (id.) but appears to identify her later as nondefendant 5 Christy Carr (see id. at 8, 15). 6 not on [his] cell phone” and “questioned her admonishment” by 7 stating that his “tone was at an appropriate level considering 8 where [he] was sitting.” 9 “phone calls were not allowed to be taken within the library” and 10 (Id.) Plaintiff has “never been given” that librarian’s He “informed her that [he] was (Id. at 6.) “went back to her station.” The librarian stated that (Id.) Plaintiff, “[s]lightly agitated,” “continued with [his] 11 12 audible ruminations.” 13 out a needle and thread and “began to sew [his] newly acquired 14 Levi’s [t]rucker [j]acket.” 15 in the corner” until Los Angeles Police Department officers 16 arrived. 17 while sewing. (Id.) (Id.) “As a coping mechanism,” he pulled (Id.) He “continued to sew quietly He apparently continued to ruminate audibly (See id.) 18 The “admonishing librarian,” evidently accompanied by 19 officers, “came to [Plaintiff’s] table” and “informed” him that 20 he “was not allowed to continue to patron [sic]” the library “due 21 to ignoring their policy on no phone calls.” 22 “informed” the officers of “what [he has] written previously.”3 23 (Id.) (Id.) He The officers “talked to the librarian near her station” as 24 25 26 27 ruminations” resulted from any mental-health problem, however. 3 Plaintiff does not specifically allege what he told the officers (see Compl. at 6), but the Court infers that he denied he had been talking on a cell phone and may have said other things. 28 3 1 Plaintiff “watched from afar.” 2 “inform[ed]” him that “if [he] continued to refuse to leave,” he 3 would be “put under citizen’s arrest and escorted out of the 4 building.”4 5 told him to “pack his things.” 6 packing, the librarian “came over again and stated that [he] was 7 not allowed to continue patron[iz]ing the library that day,” and 8 the LAPD officers “informed [him] again that if [he] refused to 9 leave [he]’d be arrested for trespassing.” 10 (Id.) (Id.) They then returned and He “subsequently refused,” and the officers (Id.) After he had finished (Id.) Plaintiff “again refused” to leave, “was put in handcuffs[,] (Id.)5 He was taken to a local 11 and [was] escorted outside.” 12 police station and detained before being “issued a ticket for the 13 misdemeanor of [t]respassing” in violation of Penal Code section 14 “602(q).”6 (Id.; see also id., Ex. A.) Plaintiff was 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 Plaintiff does not allege that he was asked to leave on any previous occasion (see generally Compl. at 5-16) and contends that the library’s suspension letter stating otherwise is “fraudulent” (see id. at 8 & Ex. E). 5 Plaintiff characterizes the incident as a citizen’s arrest (see, e.g., Compl. at 6) by Carr or some other librarian (see id. at 7), but it is unclear who actually arrested him and whether that person was a police officer (compare id. at 6 (officers warned him of possibility of trespassing arrest, and he was put in handcuffs when he refused to leave), with id. at 8 (Complaint based on librarian’s citizen’s arrest)). The citation he was issued is largely illegible and only partially filled out, but it appears to list a “Ruiz” in a space for the name of the “[a]rresting or [c]iting [o]fficer.” (See id., Ex. A.) A space below that for the “[n]ame of [a]rresting [o]fficer, if different from [c]iting [o]fficer,” has been left blank. (See id.) 6 That statute provides in relevant part that anyone who “refus[es] or fail[s] to leave a public building of a public agency” upon request by a “guard, watchperson, or custodian” during hours when the building is normally closed is guilty of misdemeanor 4 1 traumatized by the experience and “consider[s] it a blessing that 2 [he] was not hospitalized for a sixth time with as psychotic as 3 [he] was.” 4 trauma or discomfort from his arrest, handcuffing, or detention. 5 (See generally id. at 6-15.) 6 (Compl. at 7.) He does not allege any physical On an unspecified date, Plaintiff attempted to appear in (Id. at 8; see also id., 7 court for the trespassing violation. 8 Ex. A (citation with date of notice to appear in court 9 illegible).) But he couldn’t find his name on the docket and 10 discovered later that the city attorney had decided not to file a 11 case against him. 12 information, apparently an employee of the city attorney’s 13 office, also “implied that it was in [his] best interest” to 14 “avoid that library.” 15 (Compl. at 8.) “The woman” who gave him that (Id.) On August 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed suit in Los Angeles 16 County Superior Court against the City of Los Angeles and its 17 public library, bringing claims of false arrest and imprisonment 18 arising from the June 21, 2018 incident. 19 M.) 20 Super. Ct. of Cal., Cnty. of L.A., 21 casesummary/ui/index.aspx?casetype=civil (search for case number 22 BC716638) (last visited Dec. 18, 2018), although Plaintiff 23 appears to believe it has been dismissed (see Compl., Ex. N at 52 24 (alleging that on Oct. 10, 2018, state-court judge sustained 25 City’s demurrer and dismissed case without leave to amend). (See, e.g., Compl., Ex. That suit evidently remains pending, see Online Servs., 26 27 28 trespassing “if the surrounding circumstances would indicate to a reasonable person that [the accused] has no apparent lawful business to pursue.” Cal. Penal Code § 602(q). 5 1 Despite the unidentified woman’s advice, Plaintiff 2 “attempted to patron [sic]” the Westwood branch library on August 3 16, 2018, and “was summarily turned away” by Carr and a security 4 guard. 5 him a “[s]uspension letter,” which contained incorrect or 6 “fraudulent” information. 7 specifically, the letter, dated July 17, 2018, asserted that an 8 unidentified library patron, apparently later identified as 9 Plaintiff, had directed threats and profanity at library staff (Compl. at 8.) They and another “unnamed librarian” gave (Id.; see also id., Ex. E.) More 10 and patrons on May 4 and 17, 2018, and then had refused to leave. 11 (See id., Ex. E at 1.)7 12 library privileges until October 18, 2018. 13 letter does not contain Plaintiff’s name or any other identifying 14 information, nor does it mention the June 21, 2018 incident. 15 (See generally id.) 16 The letter suspended the person’s (See id. at 2.) The Plaintiff was “escorted” out of the library by the LAPD 17 shortly after being presented with the letter. 18 He does not allege whether he was detained or cited for or 19 charged with any Penal Code violation at that time. 20 Evidently later that same day, he emailed nondefendant City 21 Attorney Mike Feuer to “inform[] the City as to what was 22 transpiring at this rogue library” but received no immediate 23 response. 24 to Feuer regarding civil case and suspension letter), 27 (email 25 from Plaintiff to Feuer regarding suspension letter, “pending (Compl. at 8.) (Id.) (Id.; see also id., Ex. D at 24 (email from Plaintiff 26 27 28 7 For nonconsecutively paginated documents, the Court uses the pagination generated by its Case Management/Electronic Case Filing System. 6 1 litigation,” and Plaintiff’s intent to visit library again when 2 it opened).) 3 Plaintiff went to the library again at about 9:30 a.m. on 4 August 17, 2018; “[a]gain [the] LAPD was called,” and he was 5 escorted out at about 12:45 p.m. 6 allege whether he was asked to leave by anyone or if he was 7 detained by the LAPD, but he was issued a 24-hour trespassing 8 warning under Los Angeles Municipal Code § 41.24(d).8 9 & Ex. G.) (Compl. at 8-9.) He does not (Id. at 9 He again emailed Feuer (Compl. at 9 & Ex. D at 30) but 10 apparently received no response. 11 at about 3 p.m., “after the 24 hours had passed,” Plaintiff again 12 arrived at the Westwood branch library and “was escorted out” by 13 the LAPD. 14 the [f]raudulent letter to state why [he] was excluded from the 15 library.” 16 library or what he was doing or intended to do there. 17 Plaintiff “left without issue” and “sent a final email” to Feuer. 18 (Id.; see also id., Ex. D at 33. 19 23, 2018 email to Feuer complaining that LAPD officer had warned 20 Plaintiff that he would be arrested for trespassing if he 21 returned to Westwood branch library).) 22 allege specific facts as to any response to those emails. (Compl. at 9.) (Id.) On Saturday, August 18, 2018, “The librarians continued to reference He does not allege how long he was at the This time, But see id., Ex. D. at 34 (Aug. The Complaint does not (See 23 24 25 26 27 28 8 That provision authorizes the arrest of anyone who enters or is present at “private property open to the general public” within 24 hours of having been advised “to leave and not return” and warned by the owner or his agent of the possibility of arrest for noncompliance. L.A. Mun. Code § 41.24(d). 7 1 2 generally id. at 5-16.)9 Plaintiff sues the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles 3 Public Library. (Compl. at 1, 4-5.) 4 individuals as Defendants. 5 for false arrest under the Fourth Amendment (id. at 12-13), 6 “[f]alse [i]mprisonment” (id. at 13),10 and a state-law claim for 7 “[m]ental [a]nguish” (id. at 13-14). 8 only from the June 21, 2018 arrest and detention and not the 9 suspension letter or any later removal from the library premises. 10 (See, e.g., id. at 7 (“[The major aspect of this complaint is the 11 basis behind that librarian’s ‘Citizen’s Arrest [on June 21, 12 2018].’”); see also generally id. at 4-6, 13-14.) 13 $250,000 in damages and the release of various government (See id.) He does not name any He brings causes of action His claims apparently arise He seeks 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 9 On August 28, 2018, Deputy City Attorney Matthew McAleer sent Plaintiff a “meet and confer” email informing him that the City intended to file a demurrer to his lawsuit and asking him to voluntarily dismiss his case. (See Compl., Ex. L.) Plaintiff indicates that he received no response to the “7 emails” he sent to Feuer and that he “lost access to the email [address]” where McAleer sent the “meet and confer” email. (See Compl., Ex. D at 21.) 10 Plaintiff’s second cause of action does not specifically allege any constitutional deprivation, and the cases it cites do not appear to be relevant to any § 1983 claim; one is an FTCA case applying New York law, and the other is a Puerto Rico Supreme Court case applying Puerto Rico law. (See Compl. at 11, 13 (citing Ayala v. San Juan Racing Corp., 12 P.R. Offic. Trans. 1012, 1021 (1982), and Bernard v. United States, 25 F.3d 98, 102 (2d Cir. 1994)).) False imprisonment is a state-law tort. See Slama v. City of Madera, No. 1:08-cv-810-AWI GSA., 2008 WL 5246006, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 17, 2008); Lyons v. Fire Ins. Exch., 161 Cal. App. 4th 880, 888 (2008) (listing elements of tortious false imprisonment under California law). But even liberally construed as a Fourth Amendment unreasonable-seizure claim, see Alvarez v. Hill, 518 F.3d 1152, 1158 (9th Cir. 2008), it fails for the reasons discussed below. 8 1 documents under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, 2 and certain provisions of the California Public Records Act, 3 Government Code sections 6250-70 & 6275-76.48. 4 Compl. at 14-15.) 5 6 (See, e.g., STANDARD OF REVIEW A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law for failure 7 to state a claim “where there is no cognizable legal theory or an 8 absence of sufficient facts alleged to support a cognizable legal 9 theory.” Shroyer v. New Cingular Wireless Servs., Inc., 622 F.3d 10 1035, 1041 (9th Cir. 2010) (as amended) (citation omitted); 11 accord O’Neal v. Price, 531 F.3d 1146, 1151 (9th Cir. 2008). 12 considering whether a complaint states a claim, a court must 13 generally accept as true all the factual allegations in it. 14 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Hamilton v. Brown, 15 630 F.3d 889, 892-93 (9th Cir. 2011). 16 as true, however, “allegations that are merely conclusory, 17 unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” 18 re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008) 19 (citation omitted); see also Shelton v. Chorley, 487 F. App’x 20 388, 389 (9th Cir. 2012) (finding that district court properly 21 dismissed civil-rights claim when plaintiff’s “conclusory 22 allegations” did not support it). 23 include detailed factual allegations, it “must contain sufficient 24 factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief 25 that is plausible on its face.’” 26 Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); Yagman v. 27 Garcetti, 852 F.3d 859, 863 (9th Cir. 2017). 28 plausible when it “allows the court to draw the reasonable In The court need not accept In Although a complaint need not Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting 9 A claim is facially 1 inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct 2 alleged.” 3 ‘to be liberally construed,’ and ‘a pro se complaint, however 4 inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than 5 formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.’” 6 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (citations omitted). Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. 7 8 “A document filed pro se is Erickson v. Pardus, 551 DISCUSSION I. The Complaint Appears to Be Duplicative of Plaintiff’s 9 State-Court Lawsuit 10 The Complaint is likely not properly heard by this Court 11 because it is duplicative of Plaintiff’s pending state case. 12 suit is duplicative if “the claims, parties, and available relief 13 do not significantly differ between the two actions.” 14 Cal. Dep’t of Health Servs., 487 F.3d 684, 689 (9th Cir. 2007) 15 (citation omitted), overruled on other grounds by Taylor v. 16 Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 904 (2008). 17 lawsuit evidently also sues the City and its library for false 18 arrest and false imprisonment based on the events of June 21, 19 2018. 20 actions seek only monetary damages. 21 53.) 22 theories in his state case 23 has not alleged any reason why he could not have done so, and 24 none is apparent to the Court. 25 duplicative of Plaintiff’s pending state case. 26 A Adams v. Plaintiff’s state-court (See, e.g., Compl., Ex. M at 48.) It appears that both (See Compl. at 14 & Ex. N at It is unclear whether Plaintiff sued on any federal legal (see generally Compl., Ex. M), but he The Complaint thus appears to be In the federal court system, “the general principle is to 27 avoid duplicative litigation.” Colo. River Water Conservation 28 Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 817 (1976). 10 A federal 1 court may decline to exercise jurisdiction over a case when a 2 concurrent, duplicative state case is pending. 3 Although Colorado River abstention is disfavored in § 1983 cases, 4 see Tovar v. Billmeyer, 609 F.2d 1291, 1294 (9th Cir. 1979), the 5 Ninth Circuit “has not established a categorical prohibition” 6 against it, see Jacobo v. L.A. Cnty., No. CV 11-7212-GW(SSx), 7 2012 WL 13012480, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 16, 2012). 8 under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 41 (1971), may also be 9 appropriate when a § 1983 plaintiff has a concurrent state case 10 arising from the same conduct. 11 See id. at 818. Abstention F.3d 965, 979-80 (9th Cir. 2004) (en banc). 12 See Gilbertson v. Albright, 381 Here, the Court need not decide whether any of those 13 doctrines apply because, as discussed below, the Complaint does 14 not state any constitutional claim. 15 5453 BHS, 2017 WL 3534577, at *3 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 17, 2017) (when 16 plaintiff had not yet stated cognizable § 1983 claim, court could 17 dismiss pleading with leave to amend without “conclusively 18 decid[ing]” whether abstention was warranted). 19 Plaintiff is able to adequately plead a constitutional 20 deprivation in an amended pleading, the Court may abstain from 21 considering it pending resolution of his state-court case. 22 Los Altos El Granada Inv’rs v. City of Capitola, 583 F.3d 674, 23 689-90 (9th Cir. 2009). 24 25 See Wall v. Arend, No. C17- In the event See Plaintiff is further warned that the Rooker-Feldman11 line of cases would bar this Court from hearing any de facto appeal of 26 27 11 28 See Rooker v. Fid. Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983). 11 1 a state-court judgment.12 2 federal plaintiff asserts as a legal wrong an allegedly erroneous 3 decision by a state court, and seeks relief from a state court 4 judgment based on that decision.” 5 F.3d 890, 897 (9th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). 6 contains a de facto appeal, a district court is barred from 7 deciding not only the issues decided by the state court but also 8 any other issues that are “inextricably intertwined” with the 9 state court’s decision. “A de facto appeal exists when a Id. Bell v. City of Boise, 709 If the action Rooker-Feldman applies even when 10 the challenge to the state court’s actions involves federal 11 constitutional issues. 12 23 F.3d 218, 221 (9th Cir. 1994). 13 court decide Plaintiff’s case and should he thereafter elect to 14 file an amended pleading, he must allege facts demonstrating that 15 this action is not barred by Rooker-Feldman. 16 II. 17 See Dubinka v. Judges of Superior Court, Accordingly, should the state The Complaint Does Not State Any § 1983 Claim Plaintiff seeks redress under the Fourth Amendment on 18 theories of false arrest and — construed liberally — unlawful 19 detention, evidently based on the conduct of Carr or whichever 20 librarian or police officers effectuated his June 21, 2018 arrest 21 and subsequent detention by the LAPD. 22 12-13.) (See, e.g., Compl. at 5-8, 23 24 25 26 27 28 12 Plaintiff attached to his Complaint a complaint he apparently submitted to the Commission on Judicial Performance asserting that the superior court was wrong to sustain the City’s demurrer in his state-court lawsuit. (See Compl., Ex. N.) 12 1 A. 2 3 Legal Standards 1. Fourth Amendment An arrest without probable cause violates the Fourth 4 Amendment and gives rise to a claim for damages under § 1983. 5 See, e.g., Rosenbaum v. Washoe Cnty., 663 F.3d 1071, 1076 (9th 6 Cir. 2011); Dubner v. City & Cnty. of S.F., 266 F.3d 959, 964 7 (9th Cir. 2001). 8 have knowledge or reasonably trustworthy information sufficient 9 to lead a person of reasonable caution to believe that an offense “Probable cause to arrest exists when officers 10 has been or is being committed by the person being arrested.” 11 Ramirez v. City of Buena Park, 560 F.3d 1012, 1023 (9th Cir. 12 2009) (citation omitted). 13 the totality of circumstances known to the arresting officers at 14 the time of arrest. 15 Because probable cause is an objective inquiry, the arresting 16 officer’s “subjective reason for making the arrest” does not 17 matter; a public, warrantless arrest comports with the Fourth 18 Amendment so long as there was probable cause for a reasonable 19 officer to arrest the suspect for some crime, which need not be 20 the actual offense charged or the one articulated by the 21 arresting officers. 22 (2004); see also Arpin v. Santa Clara Valley Transp. Agency, 261 23 F.3d 912, 924 (9th Cir. 2001) (warrantless misdemeanor citizen’s 24 arrest requires probable cause). 25 delivery of a person following a citizen’s arrest without 26 “independently investigat[ing]” the claims of the citizen 27 witness. 28 Probable cause is determined based on Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238 (1983). Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146, 153-54 An officer may not accept Arpin, 261 F.3d at 924-25. The Fourth Amendment governs a claim for unlawful detention 13 1 “even beyond the start of legal process.” 2 Joliet, 137 S. Ct. 911, 920 (2017). 3 plaintiff must show that the officer violated his constitutional 4 rights by detaining or arresting him without probable cause. 5 at 918; Barry v. Fowler, 902 F.2d 770, 772 (9th Cir. 1990). 6 Manuel v. City of To raise such a claim, a Id. Any Fourth Amendment claim for unlawful detention, like any 7 claim for false arrest, thus depends on an absence of probable 8 cause. 9 (9th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). See Cabrera v. City of Huntington Park, 159 F.3d 374, 380 But a prosecutor’s subsequent 10 decision to dismiss charges or not to file them at all does not 11 by itself invalidate the legitimacy of an arrest; indeed, a 12 lawful arrest contemporaneously supported by probable cause 13 generally remains so regardless of subsequent developments in the 14 case. 15 Freeman v. City of Santa Ana, 68 F.3d 1180, 1189 (9th Cir. 1995) 16 (as amended). 17 18 See Michigan v. DeFillippo, 443 U.S. 31, 36 (1979); 2. Municipal liability Plaintiff sues only the City and the Library. (See, e.g., 19 Compl. at 1, 4-5.) 20 considered “persons” under § 1983 and therefore may be liable for 21 causing a constitutional deprivation. 22 Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978); see also Long v. Cnty. 23 of L.A., 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006). 24 respondeat superior liability exists under § 1983, a municipality 25 is liable only for injuries that arise from an official policy or 26 longstanding custom. 27 Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 385 (1989). 28 [municipal] employee committed the alleged constitutional Municipalities and local governments are See Monell v. Dep’t of Because no Monell, 436 U.S. at 694; City of Canton v. 14 A plaintiff must show “that a 1 violation pursuant to a formal governmental policy or a 2 longstanding practice or custom which constitutes the standard 3 operating procedure of the local governmental entity.” 4 v. Delmore, 979 F.2d 1342, 1346 (9th Cir. 1992) (per curiam) 5 (citation omitted). 6 Gillette In addition, a plaintiff must allege facts demonstrating 7 that the policy was “(1) the cause in fact and (2) the proximate 8 cause of the constitutional deprivation.” 9 F.3d 911, 918 (9th Cir. 1996). Trevino v. Gates, 99 “Liability for improper custom 10 may not be predicated on isolated or sporadic incidents; it must 11 be founded upon practices of sufficient duration, frequency and 12 consistency that the conduct has become a traditional method of 13 carrying out policy.” 14 885 F.2d 1439, 1443-44 (9th Cir. 1989) (“Consistent with the 15 commonly understood meaning of custom, proof of random acts or 16 isolated events are [sic] insufficient to establish custom.”), 17 overruled on other grounds by Bull v. City & Cnty. of S.F., 595 18 F.3d 964, 981 (9th Cir. 2010) (en banc). 19 or a policy can be inferred from widespread practices or 20 ‘evidence of repeated constitutional violations for which the 21 errant municipal officers were not discharged or reprimanded.’” 22 Pierce v. Cnty. of Orange, 526 F.3d 1190, 1211 (9th Cir. 2008) 23 (as amended) (quoting Gillette, 979 F.2d at 1349). 24 Id.; see also Thompson v. City of L.A., “A custom can be shown A plaintiff may also establish municipal liability by 25 demonstrating that the alleged constitutional violation was 26 caused by a failure to train municipal employees adequately. 27 Harris, 489 U.S. at 388. 28 must allege facts demonstrating the following: See A plaintiff claiming failure to train 15 1 (1) he was deprived of a constitutional right, (2) the 2 [municipality] had a training policy that “amounts to 3 deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of 4 the persons with whom its police officers are likely to 5 come into contact,” and (3) his constitutional injury 6 would not have happened had the [municipality] properly 7 trained those officers. 8 Blankenhorn v. City of Orange, 485 F.3d 463, 484 (9th Cir. 2007) 9 (citation and alterations omitted). 10 B. 1. 11 12 13 Analysis The Complaint does not state any Fourth Amendment claim Plaintiff’s claims fail because he has not adequately 14 pleaded any Fourth Amendment injury, much less one that resulted 15 from a failure to train City librarians or any municipal policy, 16 custom, or practice. 17 “audibl[y]” in the library (Compl. at 6), “adjacent to a 18 partition-less children’s section” (id. at 12), and insisted on 19 continuing to do so after a librarian had put him on notice that 20 he needed to stop (id. at 6). 21 Plaintiff (see supra note 5), officers on the scene “talked to 22 the librarian,” asked Plaintiff about his conduct, and warned him 23 that if he did not leave he would be arrested and escorted from 24 the building (see Compl. at 6). 25 at 6-7.) 26 violating section 602.1(b), which makes it a misdemeanor to 27 interfere with the lawful business of a public agency and refuse 28 to leave the premises when asked. He admits that he was “ruminati[ng]” Regardless of who arrested He repeatedly refused. (See id. Probable cause therefore existed to arrest him for 16 See Devenpeck, 543 U.S. at 1 153-54; Arpin, 261 F.3d at 924-25. 2 That Plaintiff was apparently cited for a violation of 3 section 602(q), which does not appear to apply to his alleged 4 conduct, does not destroy the existence of probable cause and 5 does not invalidate his arrest. 6 54. 7 state a constitutional claim based on his less-than-three-hour 8 detention. 9 determination provides “constitutionally adequate justification” See Devenpeck, 543 U.S. at 153- Moreover, because probable cause existed, Plaintiff cannot See Manuel, 137 S. Ct. at 918 (valid probable-cause 10 for detention before legal process has begun). 11 matter that the City Attorney apparently ultimately decided not 12 to file charges. 13 It does not See DeFillippo, 443 U.S. at 36. Thus, Plaintiff has not alleged any Fourth Amendment 14 violation under any theory. 15 claim in an amended pleading, he must allege specific facts 16 showing that he meets the standards set forth above in Section 17 II.A. 18 19 2. Should he decide to pursue such a The Complaint fails to state any Monell claim Plaintiff has named no individual Defendants and proceeds 20 solely on a municipal-liability theory (see Compl. at 1, 4), 21 apparently primarily based on a failure to train City librarians 22 or other employees (see id. at 13). 23 has not adequately pleaded any constitutional deprivation. 24 City of L.A. v. Heller, 475 U.S. 796, 799 (1986) (no Monell 25 liability absent showing of constitutional injury); Quintanilla 26 v. City of Downey, 84 F.3d 353, 355 (9th Cir. 1996) (same). 27 has he alleged facts showing that any Defendant’s training policy 28 amounted to deliberate indifference to his constitutional 17 But as discussed above, he See Nor 1 rights,13 or that more or different training would have prevented 2 any constitutional violation. 3 Cf. Blankenhorn, 485 F.3d at 484. Plaintiff also alleges that the library had a posted policy 4 warning patrons that they could be arrested under Penal Code 5 section 602.1(b) if they behaved disruptively, disobeyed library 6 rules, or refused to leave when asked. 7 also id., Ex. B.) 8 patrons from talking on cell phones in the library. 9 at 6.) (See Compl. at 4, 7; see One of those rules apparently prohibited (See Compl. He does not specifically allege that any of those rules 10 or policies led to his arrest. 11 not have proximately caused him any Fourth Amendment deprivation 12 because, as discussed above, Plaintiff has not adequately pleaded 13 any such deprivation; indeed, he admits that he was talking out 14 loud in the library and continued to do so after having been 15 asked to stop. 16 section 602.1(b) (or for that matter section 602(q) or Municipal 17 Code section 41.24(d)) is unconstitutional in any way, and no 18 such infirmity is apparent to the Court. 19 allowing for disruptive individuals to be removed from public 20 spaces have withstood constitutional challenge. 21 v. City of L.A., No. CV 12-7261 DSF (SHx), 2012 WL 12548355, at 22 *3, *5-7 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 6, 2012) (upholding rules requiring 23 “civility” and “decorum” against vagueness and overbreadth (See id. at 6.) But even if he had, that could Plaintiff nowhere alleges that Similar provisions See, e.g., Hunt 24 25 26 27 28 13 Indeed, at one point Plaintiff characterizes the City’s and library’s training policy as “gross[ly] negligen[t].” (Compl. at 4.) That is not sufficient for § 1983 liability. See Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 333 (1986) (injuries to life, liberty, or property inflicted by governmental negligence not addressed by Constitution). 18 1 challenges from plaintiff who had been ejected from City 2 recreation-board meeting for disruptive behavior).14 3 Plaintiff therefore has not stated any municipal-liability 4 claim for any Fourth Amendment violation. Should he elect to 5 pursue such claims in an amended pleading, he must allege 6 specific facts showing that he was deprived of some 7 constitutional right and that the deprivation was proximately 8 caused by some municipal policy, custom, or practice. 9 Monell, 436 U.S. at 694; Trevino, 99 F.3d at 918. See As Monell 10 liability for a Fourth Amendment violation is apparently his only 11 federal-law theory of relief, the Court defers screening of his 12 state-law claims until he has adequately pleaded a federal cause 13 of action. 14 F.3d 802, 805 (9th Cir. 2001).15 See Herman Family Revocable Tr. v. Teddy Bear, 254 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 14 Further, Plaintiff appears to contend that the library acted unlawfully because it violated the posted policy, not because the policy itself was flawed. (See, e.g., Compl. at 8 (describing email to Feuer “as to what was transpiring at this rogue library”), 12-13 (librarian Carr acted “outside of her rights” because he was cited for violating § 602(q) rather than § 602.1(b)).) 15 The Court notes, however, that in bringing a state-law tort claim against a public entity or employee, a plaintiff must plead compliance with the California Tort Claims Act or the claim is subject to dismissal. See State v. Super. Ct. (Bodde), 32 Cal. 4th 1234, 1239, 1245 (2004); Mangold v. Cal. Pub. Utils. Comm’n, 67 F.3d 1470, 1477 (9th Cir. 1995). This requirement applies in federal court. See Karim-Panahi v. L.A. Police Dep’t, 839 F.2d 621, 627 (9th Cir. 1988). Plaintiff’s failure to allege compliance with the Tort Claims Act could lead to dismissal of his state-law tort claims. 19 1 III. Plaintiff’s Public-Records Requests Are Premature or Not 2 Cognizable Under § 1983 3 Plaintiff seeks “discovery” under FOIA and state public- 4 records statutes. 5 is construed as seeking a discovery order from the Court, that 6 request is denied as premature. 7 is ordered served and any Defendant files an answer, the Court 8 may thereafter issue an order allowing discovery to begin. 9 (See Compl. at 14.) To the extent his request If one of Plaintiff’s complaints If Plaintiff wishes to make a request under FOIA or the 10 California Public Records Act, he may do so using the procedures 11 described in those statutes and does not need the Court’s 12 permission. 13 § 6253; see also U.S. Dep’t of Justice,, https:// 14 (providing portal for users to create FOIA request 15 online); Cal. Att’y Gen.’s Off., Summary of the California Public 16 Records Act of 2004 (Aug. 2004), 17 summary_public_records_act.pdf. 18 19 See generally 5 U.S.C. § 552; Cal. Gov’t Code ********************* If Plaintiff desires to pursue his claims, he is ORDERED to 20 file a first amended complaint within 28 days of the date of this 21 order, remedying the deficiencies discussed above. 22 should bear the docket number assigned to this case, be labeled 23 “First Amended Complaint,” and be complete in and of itself, 24 without reference to the original Complaint or any other 25 pleading, attachment, or document. 26 The FAC Plaintiff is advised that he may wish to seek help from one 27 of the federal “pro se” clinics in this District. 28 offer free on-site information and guidance to individuals who 20 The clinics 1 are representing themselves (proceeding pro se) in federal civil 2 actions. 3 the Court. 4 170 of the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 5 255 East Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. 6 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 to 4 7 p.m. 8 website, 9 They are administered by nonprofit law firms, not by The clinic closest to Plaintiff is located in Suite It is open Useful information is also available on the clinics’ Plaintiff is warned that if he fails to timely file a 10 sufficient FAC, the Court may dismiss this action on the grounds 11 set forth above or for failure to diligently prosecute.16 12 13 DATED: December 19, 2018 JEAN ROSENBLUTH U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 16 If Plaintiff believes this order erroneously disposes of any of his claims, he may file objections with the district judge within 20 days of the date of the order. See Bastidas v. Chappell, 791 F.3d 1155, 1162 (9th Cir. 2015) (“When a magistrate judge believes she is issuing a nondispositive order, she may warn the litigants that, if they disagree and think the matter dispositive, they have the right to file an objection to that determination with the district judge.”). 21

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?