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Myser v. Tangen

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

September 9, 2014

STEVEN TANGEN, et al., Defendants.


JAMES L. ROBART, District Judge.


Before the court is Defendant Spokane County's ("Spokane") motion for judgment on the pleadings (Mot. (Dkt. # 9)), and Plaintiff Douglas Luther Myser's opposition thereto (Resp. (Dkt. # 11)). The court has reviewed the parties' submissions, the record, and the relevant law. Considering itself fully advised, the court GRANTS the motion and DISMISSES the complaint without prejudice but with leave to file an amended complaint within 15 days.


On January 26, 2003, Mr. Myser went to a sports bar in Spokane Valley, Washington. (Compl. (Dkt. # 1) ¶ 25.) After he requested his bill, someone at the sports bar called the police, who came to the bar. ( Id. ¶¶ 26-28.) At some point, police deputies brought Mr. Myser to the floor, struck him, handcuffed him, and placed him in a police car. ( Id. ¶¶ 33-40.) En route to the jail, Mr. Myser told a police deputy he planned to bring a lawsuit for violation of his civil rights. ( Id. ¶¶ 41-44.) According to Mr. Myser, the police deputy took Mr. Myser to a dark area and struck him until he lost consciousness; Mr. Myser regained consciousness in jail. ( Id. ¶¶ 45-52.) Later medical evaluations found that Mr. Myser had been seriously injured. ( Id. ¶¶ 54-56.)

Mr. Myser brought a lawsuit against Spokane arguing that the use of force by the police violated his constitutional rights. ( Id. ¶¶ 63-64.) Mr. Myser's lawsuit came before Senior United States District Judge Fred Van Sickle in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, and was not successful. ( See id. ¶ 63(s).) Mr. Myser appealed to the Ninth Circuit, but the decision was affirmed in a divided opinion. ( See id. ¶¶ 64(v), 69(s).)

In his case before this court, Mr. Myser argues that certain aspects of the trial testimony and alleged misrepresentations of medical evidence "constituted fraud on the court." ( See id. ¶ 64(a)-(u); see also id. at 33.) In addition, he alleges that the police officers who arrested him in 2003 later committed serious misconduct. ( See id. ¶¶ 64-66.) Furthermore, Mr. Myser points out inconsistent testimony by the manager of the bar where he was arrested-testimony upon which Judge Van Sickle relied in reaching a decision. ( See id. ¶ 69.) Mr. Myser alleges bribery occurred because the manager of the bar later worked for the government. ( See id. ¶ 69(i).)

Separately, Mr. Myser and former employees of his business were engaged in litigation in state court in Spokane County. ( Id. ¶ 57.) Mr. Myser's former employees brought a suit alleging that he had not properly compensated them in 2003 and 2004, while Mr. Myser counterclaimed that the employees had stolen from the business. ( Id. ¶ 61(a)-(g).) Mr. Myser alleges, among other contentions, that there was misconduct during this prior litigation related to the timing of depositions and the forthrightness of opposing parties during discovery. ( See id. ¶¶ 58-60.) Mr. Myser also alleges (1) that Spokane, along with other litigants in Mr. Myser's cases "worked together to hide evidence, " (2) that Spokane "corrupted" one of the litigants against Mr. Myser, (3) and that one of the parties gave "false reasons" for a loss of Mr. Myser's business, amounting, in total, to fraud on the court. ( See id. ¶ 61(h)-(t).)

Mr. Myser's present complaint implicates his former employees, Spokane, its agents, police officers, and other witnesses in a broad attempt to undermine his previous lawsuit against Spokane by fraudulent means. ( See generally Compl.) Mr. Myser alleges coordinated action between Spokane and the litigants in the separate state action to undermine his likelihood of success in that state action. ( See id. 68(d); see generally Compl.) Finally, he argues that "Judge Van Sickle knew, or should have known, that Mr. Myser proved that the defendants inflicted excessive and deadly force against him, in violation of the Fourth Amendment." ( Id. ¶ 69(n).) Further, Mr. Myser alleges that "Judge Van Sickle did not want to order Spokane County to pay damages to Mr. Myser." ( Id. ¶ 69(u).) Mr. Myser's only cause of action is fraud on the court. ( Id. at 33.)


A. Judgment on the Pleadings

Judgment on the pleadings "is properly granted when, taking all the allegations in the pleadings as true, a party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Lyon v. Chase Bank USA, N.A., 656 F.3d 877, 883 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). In the context of dismissal for failure to state a claim, the same standard governs a Rule 12(c) as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. See Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989). Dismissal for failure to state a claim "is proper if there is a lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1242 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court may consider the pleadings, documents attached to the pleadings, and documents incorporated by reference in the pleadings. United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing Van Buskirk v. CNN, 284 F.3d 977, 980 (9th Cir. 2002)).

When considering a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Livid Holdings Ltd. v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., 416 F.3d 940, 946 (9th Cir. 2005). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see Telesaurus VPC, LLC v. Power, 623 F.3d 998, 1003 (9th Cir. 2010). "A claim has facial plausibility when the ...

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