Mendez et al v. Becher et al

Filing 15

ORDER by Judge Edward M. Chen Granting in Part and Denying in Part 5 Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Strike. (emcsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/7/2012)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 CARLOS MENDEZ, 9 Plaintiff, v. 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 No. C-12-4170 EMC CHIEF TERESA BECHER, et al., 12 Defendants. ___________________________________/ ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS AND MOTION TO STRIKE (Docket No. 5) 13 14 15 Having considered the motion, all papers that are related thereto, and the argument of 16 counsel, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendants’ motion to dismiss and DENIES Defendants’ 17 motion to strike for the reasons stated on the record, and as summarized, in part, below. 18 The parties confirmed on the record that all Defendants are sued in only their individual 19 capacities and that the first cause of action asserts a claim only against Defendants Montour and 20 Anderson (and not Chief Becher) arising under the Fourth Amendment (and not the Fifth, Ninth, or 21 Fourteenth Amendments). Defendants do not move to dismiss this cause of action as clarified. 22 The parties confirmed on the record that the second cause of action only states a claim 23 arising under the Fourth Amendment (and not the Fifth, Ninth, or Fourteenth Amendments) against 24 Defendant Becher in her individual capacity (and not Defendants Montour or Anderson). The Court 25 DISMISSES without prejudice (with leave to amend within 30 days) Plaintiff’s second cause of 26 action. In a section 1983 suit, “each Government official, his or her title notwithstanding, is only 27 liable for his or her own misconduct.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677 (2009). A supervisor 28 may be held liable for the actions of his or her subordinates “‘if there exists either (1) his or her 1 personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation, or (2) a sufficient causal connection between 2 the supervisor’s wrongful conduct and the constitutional violation.’” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 3 1207 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Hansen v. Black, 885 F.2d 642, 646 (9th Cir.1989)). 4 5 6 7 8 9 Id. at 1207-08 (internal citations, alterations, and quotation marks omitted). Here, Plaintiff does not make any specific allegations about how Chief Becher’s conduct 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 The requisite causal connection can be established by setting in motion a series of acts by others or by knowingly refusing to terminate a series of acts by others, which the supervisor knew or reasonably should have known would cause others to inflict a constitutional injury. A supervisor can be liable in his individual capacity for his own culpable action or inaction in the training, supervision, or control of his subordinates; for his acquiescence in the constitutional deprivation; or for conduct that showed a reckless or callous indifference to the rights of others. resulted in his constitutional deprivation, beyond conclusory statements regarding her approving, 12 ratifying, condoning, encouraging, or tacitly authorizing a pattern and practice of misconduct. Such 13 conclusory allegations do not suffice to state a cause of action. See Hydrick v. Hunter, 669 F.3d 14 937, 942 (9th Cir. 2012). Post-facto ratification of a singular instance of wrongdoing against the 15 Plaintiff may not satisfy the causation requirement. 16 The parties confirmed on the record that the third cause of action only asserts a claim arising 17 under the Fourth Amendment (and not the Fifth, Ninth, or Fourteenth Amendments) against 18 Defendant Becher in her individual capacity (and not Defendants Montour or Anderson). The Court 19 DISMISSES with prejudice Plaintiff’s third cause of action. Plaintiff’s third cause of action is 20 predicated on liability established under Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691 21 (1978), which provides for municipal liability where there is a custom or policy causing the harm to 22 plaintiffs. It does not establish individual liability such as that of Chief Becher in her individual 23 capacity. If Plaintiff sought to name Chief Becher in her official capacity, this cause of action would 24 nevertheless be barred pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment, as the California Highway Patrol, for 25 whom Chief Becher works, is a state entity, not a municipal entity. See Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 26 332, 342 (1979); Will v. Mich. Dep’t State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989) (“neither a State nor its 27 officials acting in their official capacities are ‘persons’ under § 1983”). 28 2 1 In his papers and as confirmed at the hearing, Plaintiff is abandoning his fourth cause of 2 action for assault and battery, his fifth cause of action for false arrest and imprisonment, his sixth 3 cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, his eighth cause of action for violation 4 of California Civil Code section 51.7, and his ninth cause of action for violation of California Civil 5 Code section 52.1 against Chief Becher. Defendants confirmed on the record that they do not move 6 to dismiss these causes of action as against Defendants Montour or Anderson. Plaintiff indicated in 7 his papers and confirmed at the hearing in this matter that he is withdrawing his seventh cause of 8 action for negligent infliction of emotional distress as to all Defendants. 9 Defendant moved to strike Plaintiff’s tenth cause of action (which Plaintiff concedes is brought against Officers Montour and Anderson and not against Chief Becher), for negligence, on 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 the grounds that it is redundant with his other state law claims. The motion is brought only as to the 12 claim against Defendant Montour. Even though there is some overlap between Plaintiff’s 13 negligence cause of action and his claims, the negligence cause of action is both broader than and 14 legally distinguishable from the other causes of action, such as assault and battery, which requires 15 intent, and false arrest, which would not apply to conduct before Plaintiff was arrested. Thus, the 16 Court DENIES Defendants’ motion to strike Plaintiff’s tenth cause of action. 17 This order disposes of Docket No. 5. 18 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 21 Dated: November 7, 2012 22 _________________________ EDWARD M. CHEN United States District Judge 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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?