Cornejo et al v. Moran et al

Filing 21

ORDER by Judge Breyer granting 19 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction, denying 2 Motion for Preliminary Injunction, and Dismissing Case WITH PREJUDICE. (crblc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/1/2017)

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1 2 3 4 5 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 MARIMAR CORNEJO, et al., Plaintiffs, 9 v. 10 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 17-cv-04664-CRB TERESA MORAN, et al., 12 Defendants. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [DKT. 2], GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS ALL CLAIMS [DKT. 19], AND DISMISSING WITH PREJUIDICE 13 Plaintiffs Marimar Cornejo and Jamil Bey (“Plaintiffs”) filed for a temporary 14 restraining order (“TRO”) or, in the alternative, a preliminary injunction (“PI”) (dkts. 2–4), 15 alleging that the City of San Francisco (“City”) improperly impounded their vehicle (dkt. 1 16 (“Compl.”)). They seek the return of their car, as well as damages resulting from the 17 impound. The Court denied their motion for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) on 18 August 15, 2017. Dkt. 9. The City has since filed a motion to dismiss. Dkt. 17. Finding 19 that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the Court 20 DENIES the motion for PI and GRANTS the motion to dismiss. 21 I. BACKGROUND 22 The City booted and towed Cornejo’s car in July 2017 on the ground that she had 23 failed to pay a number of parking citations. Compl. ¶¶ 17–18. Plaintiffs challenged the 24 decision to impound at an administrative hearing. Compl. ¶ 21. They apparently did not 25 prevail. Compl. ¶ 99. They then filed the complaint in the instant case and sought a TRO 26 and PI, as well as leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). Dkts. 2–4. On Aug. 15, the 27 Court granted the motions to proceed IFP, denied the motion for TRO, and ordered the 28 City to respond to the motion for PI. Dkt. 9. In lieu of a response, the City filed a motion 1 to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Dkt. 2 19. Plaintiffs failed to meet the deadline to respond to the motion to dismiss. They 3 subsequently failed to respond to an order to show cause why their case should not be 4 dismissed for failure to prosecute. See dkt. 20. 5 II. LEGAL STANDARD In order to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must 6 7 contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to 8 relief.” Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2). Dismissal may be based on either “the 9 lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 1990). A court “must presume all factual allegations of the complaint to be true and draw 12 all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.” Usher v. City of L.A., 828 13 F.2d 556, 561 (9th Cir. 1987). Nevertheless, the facts pleaded must make the claim 14 “plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 15 “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory 16 statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Following dismissal, a court “should liberally allow a party to amend its pleading.” 17 18 Sonoma Cty. Ass’n of Retired Emps. v. Sonoma Cty., 708 F.3d 1109, 1117 (9th Cir. 19 2013). However, it need not grant leave to amend if there is no set of facts under which 20 the plaintiff can state a valid and sufficient claim. DCD Programs, Ltd. v. Leighton, 833 21 F.2d 183, 188 (9th Cir. 1987). 22 III. 23 DISCUSSION The City argues that Plaintiffs’ claim fails on two independent grounds: they did not 24 exhaust their administrative remedies, and they did not state a cognizable claim that the 25 administrative hearing violated their constitutional right to procedural due process. The 26 Court need not reach these arguments, however, because it lacks subject-matter 27 jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ claims under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, which bars federal 28 district courts from hearing appeals or de facto appeals from state-court judgments. See 2

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