Grimes v. Barber et al

Filing 57

ORDER GRANTING 51 MOTION TO DISMISS. ***Civil Case Terminated.*** Signed by Judge Claudia Wilken on 2/26/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/26/2014)

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1 2 3 4 5 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 JEROME L. GRIMES, 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 Plaintiff, ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS (Docket No. 51) v. OFFICER BARBER; OFFICER SMITH; OFFICER TANG; and BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, Defendants. 14 15 No. C 12-3111 CW ________________________________/ Defendants Barber, Smith and Tang have filed a motion to 16 dismiss the Complaint.1 Plaintiff opposes the motion. The matter 17 was taken under submission on the papers. Having considered the 18 parties’ papers, the Court GRANTS the motion to dismiss. 19 BACKGROUND 20 On June 15, 2012, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that 21 he was injured by Defendants Officers Barber, Smith and Tang in 22 connection with a jay-walking incident on the San Francisco State 23 University campus. Defendants Barber, Smith and Tang are peace 24 25 26 1 27 28 The Court previously dismissed the complaint as to Defendant Board of Trustees of California State Universities. Docket No. 13. See 1 officers employed by the San Francisco State University Police 2 Department. This case is related to a prior action in which Plaintiff 3 4 brought the same claims against these Defendants. 5 Barber, Case No. 09-411 (N.D. Cal.). 6 held in that case before Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte and 7 the parties agreed to a settlement. (C 09-0411 CW, Docket No. 48). 8 See Grimes v. A settlement conference was On September 17, 2009, the Court issued a conditional order of 9 dismissal which indicated that if, within ninety days, any party United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 certified to the Court that the agreed amount of consideration had 12 not been delivered, the order would be vacated and the case would 13 be set for trial. (C 09-0411 CW, Docket No. 49). 14 2009, Plaintiff filed a motion for relief from settlement, which 15 was heard by Magistrate Judge Laporte. 16 On September 21, On December 23, 2009, the Court adopted Magistrate Judge Laporte’s report and recommendation 17 and denied Plaintiff’s motion for relief from settlement. (C 09- 18 0411 CW, Docket Nos. 58, 60). On January 4, 2010, Plaintiff filed 19 20 a declaration stating that he had not received from Defendants, 21 within ninety days from the date of the Conditional Order of 22 Dismissal, the agreed consideration for the settlement of his 23 case. 24 Court issued an Order Regarding Plaintiff’s Declaration. 25 (C 09-0411 CW, Docket No. 62). On February 11, 2010, the The Court noted that Defendants’ counsel had submitted a declaration 26 stating that, until she received the Court's December 23, 2009 27 28 order denying Plaintiff's motion for relief from settlement, she 2 1 did not know whether the settlement would be vacated by court 2 order. 3 after the Court denied Plaintiff’s motion. 4 defense counsel reasonably waited until the Court ruled on 5 Plaintiff's motion before sending him the settlement check. 6 She had sent Plaintiff the settlement check immediately The Court found that The Court further found that, by filing his January 4, 2010 7 declaration, Plaintiff was attempting once again to obtain relief 8 9 from settlement. The Court indicated that it had ruled on that United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 issue, that it would not revisit it and that any further papers 11 submitted by Plaintiff attempting to vacate his settlement would 12 be returned to him by the clerk. (C 09-0411 CW, Docket No. 66). 13 14 In two other lawsuits, Plaintiff attempted to re-litigate the issues that he asserted and settled in C 09-0411 CW. See C 10- 15 1086 CW; C 11-2120 CW. In both of those cases, the Court granted 16 Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis, but dismissed the 17 18 complaint pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff has now 19 filed a modified version of the complaint that he filed in C 11- 20 3120 and paid the civil case filing fee. 21 22 23 In the instant complaint, Plaintiff again alleges that, in C 09-0411 CW, the Court improperly denied his motion to set aside the settlement because Defendants failed to pay him or to expunge 24 his record of false charges within ninety days of the Conditional 25 26 27 Dismissal Order. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants should have been fired and required to apologize to him. 28 3 DISCUSSION 1 The doctrine of res judicata, or claim preclusion, prohibits 2 3 the re-litigation of any claims that were raised or could have 4 been raised in a prior action. 5 Tahoe Reg’l Planning Agency, 322 F.3d 1064, 1077 (9th Cir. 2003). 6 Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council v. The purpose of the doctrine is to “relieve parties of the cost and 7 vexation of multiple law suits, conserve judicial resources, and, 8 9 by preventing inconsistent decisions, encourage reliance on United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 adjudication.” 11 590, 594 (9th Cir. 1985) (quoting Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 12 94 (1980)). 13 when doing so does not raise any disputed issues of fact. 14 Marin v. HEW, Health Care Fin. Agency, 769 F.2d Res judicata may be raised on a motion to dismiss Scott v. Kuhlmann, 746 F.2d 1377, 1378 (9th Cir. 1984). 15 Three elements must be present in order for res judicata to 16 apply: (1) an identity of claims; (2) a final judgment on the 17 18 merits; and (3) the same parties or their privies. Allen, 449 19 U.S. at 94. 20 Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim must be dismissed. 21 22 23 Because all three of these elements are present here, An identity of claims exists when two suits arise from the same transactional nucleus of facts. 1078. Tahoe-Sierra, 322 F.3d at Two events are part of the same transaction or series of 24 transactions where the claims share a factual foundation such that 25 26 27 they could have been tried together. Western Systems, Inc. v. Ulloa, 958 F.2d 864, 871 (9th Cir. 1992). 28 4 “Different theories 1 2 3 supporting the same claim for relief must be brought in the initial action.” Id. Here, Plaintiff seeks to re-litigate claims related to the 4 2008 jay-walking incident. 5 Plaintiff’s claims related to this incident in C 09-9411 CW. 6 Plaintiff and Defendants settled It is well established that court-approved settlement agreements, 7 such as the agreement in the 2009 case, have res judicata effect. 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 Reyn’s Pasta Bella, LLC v. Visa USA, Inc., 442 F.3d 741, 746-47 (9th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff argues that the settlement agreement was the 12 product of intimidation and other wrongful tactics. 13 Court addressed those issues in the 2009 case, when it denied 14 Plaintiff’s motion for relief from settlement. However, the (C 09-0411 CW, 15 Docket No. 60). 16 In his opposition to the motion to dismiss Plaintiff argues 17 18 that Defendants did not fulfill their obligations under the terms 19 of the agreement because they did not cooperate with him in his 20 attempt to remove from his arrest record the offense of battery on 21 a peace officer that arose from the 2008 jay-walking incident. 22 However, as Defendants demonstrate, they informed Plaintiff, 23 “Until you institute formal proceedings to amend your arrest 24 record, the SFSU Police Department cannot unilaterally redact the 25 26 arrest report or remove it from its records.” (C 09-0411 CW, 27 Docket No. 64) Moreover, an exhibit to Plaintiff’s amended 28 complaint indicates that his petition to have the offense removed 5 1 2 from his record pursuant to California Penal Code § 851.8 was denied because it was not timely filed. 3 The Court finds that Plaintiff’s claims are barred by the 4 doctrine of res judicata. 5 Defendants’ motion to dismiss. 6 Docket No. 2 at 33. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Because amendment would be futile, the dismissal is without leave to amend. The parties shall bear 7 their own costs. The clerk shall enter judgment and close the 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 file. IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 12 13 Dated: 2/26/2014 CLAUDIA WILKEN United States District Judge 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6

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