Monrell D. Murphy v. R. Diaz et al

Filing 62

ORDER ACCEPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS by Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank for Report and Recommendation 54 , MOTION for Judgment on the Pleadings 47 . 1. The Report and Recommendation is accepted, (Dkt. No. 54); 2. Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleading is granted, (Dkt. No. 47); and 3. Judgment is to be entered accordingly. (see document for further details) (hr)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 MONRELL D. MURPHY, Plaintiff, 12 15 16 ORDER ADOPTING R and R: Granting Document #47 (Defendant’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings) v. 13 14 Case No. 2:19-cv-05034 VBF (ADS) R. DIAZ, et al., Defendants. Directing Entry of Separate Judgment Terminating Case (JS-6) 17 Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Court has reviewed the Second Amended Civil 18 Rights Complaint, Defendants’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, the Report and 19 Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge, and Plaintiff Monrell D. Murphy’s 20 Objections to the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation. The Court has reviewed de 21 novo those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections were made. 22 Plaintiff’s objections are overruled as explained below. 23 Plaintiff argues the settlement agreement from Murphy v. Kern, Case No. 24 2:18-cv-10150 FLA (ADS), does not preclude him from asserting the First Amendment 1 claim in this case because the settlement agreement is void under California Civil Code 2 § 1668 (“Section 1668”). Section 1668 provides that “[a]ll contracts which have for their 3 object, directly or indirectly, to exempt anyone from responsibility for his own fraud, or 4 willful injury to the person or property of another, or violation of law, whether willful or 5 negligent, are against the policy of the law.” Cal. Civ. Code § 1668. Plaintiff contends 6 the settlement agreement is void under Section 1668 because it waives Defendants’ 7 liability for allegedly violating his First Amendment rights. 8 9 Plaintiff’s reliance on Section 1668 is unavailing, however, because the statute voids only those contracts that waive liability for future violations of the law. See, e.g., 10 SI 59 LLC v. Variel Warner Ventures, LLC, 239 Cal. Rptr. 3d 788, 794 (Cal. Ct. App. 11 2018) (“We are not aware of any case law applying section 1668 to torts where all 12 elements are past events . . . the weight of authority recogniz[e] that section 1668 applies 13 only to concurrent or future torts.”); Watkins v. Wachovia Corp., 92 Cal. Rptr. 3d 409, 14 417 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009) (“[Section 1668] is meant to prohibit contracts releasing 15 liability for future torts not to prohibit settlements of disputes relating to past conduct.”) 16 (citation omitted); Luciani v. Luciani, No. 10-CV-2583-JM (WVG), 2011 WL 3859707, at 17 *5 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 1, 2011) (“However, Plaintiffs overlook the fact that the contracts 18 referred to in § 1668 are those that relate to the release of liability for future 19 wrongdoing.”). Here, the settlement agreement in Kern does not waive Defendants’ 20 liability for future violations of his constitutional right but rather settles a claim and 21 releases liability relating to the parties’ past conduct. Section 1668 does not void the 22 settlement agreement, which is the basis for the ruling on the Motion for Judgment on 23 the Pleadings. 24 2 1 2 Accordingly, the Court accepts the findings and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge, and IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: 3 1. The Report and Recommendation is accepted, (Dkt. No. 54); 4 2. Defendants’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleading is granted, (Dkt. No. 47); and 3. Judgment is to be entered accordingly. 5 6 7 8 9 DATED: September 16, 2022 /s/ Valerie Baker Fairbank _______________________________ THE HON. VALERIE BAKER FAIRBANK Senior United States District Judge 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 3

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