Harrell v. Board of Trustees of the California State University et al

Filing 47

ORDER denying 42 Motion for Relief from Presentation Requirement. Signed by Judge P. Casey Pitts on 11/14/2023. (nmc, COURT USER) (Filed on 11/14/2023)Any non-CM/ECF Participants have been served by First Class Mail to the addresses of record listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 JOSHUA HARRELL, 7 Plaintiff, 8 v. 9 BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, et al., 10 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 23-cv-02210-PCP ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM PRESENTATION REQUIREMENT Re: Dkt. No. 42 Defendants. 12 13 In this lawsuit, pro se plaintiff Joshua Harrell asserts various civil rights claims against 14 defendants Board of Trustees of the California State University (CSU) for allegedly removing 15 exam notes from Harrell’s possession and arresting Harrell for trespass in a university building. 16 Under the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), a plaintiff seeking money damages from a public 17 entity must present their claims to that entity before filing a lawsuit. Cal. Gov. Code § 945.4. Here, 18 Harrell failed to present his state law tort claims—alleging false arrest and unlawful search and 19 seizure—to CSU within the six-month statute of limitations that applies to such personal injury 20 claims.1 Cal. Gov. Code § 911.2. Harrell then filed an application for leave to present the late 21 claims with CSU, but CSU denied his request. Cal. Gov. Code § 911.4. Harrell now moves in this 22 Court for relief from the CTCA’s timely presentation requirements. Under the CTCA, if a public entity denies an application for leave to present an untimely 23 24 money damages claim, a petition can be made in “a superior court that would be a proper court for 25 the trial of an action on the cause of action to which the claim relates.” Cal. Gov. Code § 946.6. 26 The superior court then determines whether the public entity improperly denied the application. 27 28 1 Notably, these state law tort claims are not being asserted in the present lawsuit at this Court. 1 Because this federal District Court is not a state superior court, it does not have jurisdiction to 2 entertain Harrell’s motion. See Guerrero v. County of Alameda, No. 18-cv-02379-WHA, 2018 WL 3 3646818, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 1, 2018) (“Federal district courts do not have the authority to grant 4 the relief requested in plaintiff’s motion, instead plaintiff needs to file the petition in a California 5 Superior Court. Our court of appeals has not interpreted Section 946.6, but the majority of district 6 courts in this circuit interpret the provision as referring only to state superior courts, not federal 7 district courts.”). Harrell’s motion is thus denied without prejudice. If he so chooses, Harrell can 8 refile his petition in Santa Clara County Superior Court, where this action originated. 9 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: November 14, 2023 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 P. Casey Pitts United States District Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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