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Phillips v. Estate of Arnold

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

September 25, 2014

MARK E. PHILLIPS, Plaintiff,


RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, District Judge.


This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Julia de Haan's and Jeffrey Smyth's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. # 49). These Defendants seek dismissal of the remaining state law claims against them based, inter alia, on the expiration of the statute of limitations. Plaintiff argues that the statute of limitations has not expired because he did not discover the facts supporting his claims until after his criminal trial in 2011. Dkt. #55. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion and dismisses all remaining claims against Defendants de Haan and Smyth.


This case arises from the alleged wrongful acquisition of data by Defendants from computers owned by Plaintiff and A Dot Corporation (A Dot), a private corporation owned by Plaintiff, and the subsequent unlawful use of that information to extort him. Dkt. # 1 at 2. The relevant facts have been set out in previous Orders of this Court and are incorporated by reference herein. See Dkt. #27.


A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate where "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). In ruling on summary judgment, a court does not weigh evidence to determine the truth of the matter, but "only determine[s] whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Crane v. Conoco, Inc., 41 F.3d 547, 549 (9th Cir. 1994) ( citing Federal Deposit Ins. Corp. v. O'Melveny & Meyers, 969 F.2d 744, 747 (9th Cir. 1992)). Material facts are those which might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

The Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See O'Melveny & Meyers, 969 F.2d at 747, rev'd on other grounds, 512 U.S. 79 (1994). However, the nonmoving party must make a "sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof" to survive summary judgment. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Further, "[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251.

B. Judicial Notice

As an initial matter, Defendants and Plaintiff ask the Court to take judicial notice of several documents. Courts may take judicial notice of a fact that "is not subject to reasonable dispute because it can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned." Fed.R.Evid. 201. Likewise, the Court may take judicial notice of undisputed "matters of public record." Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688-89 (9th Cir. 2001). Matters of public record include documents "on file in federal or state courts." Harris v. County of Orange, 682 F.3d 1126, 1131 (9th Cir. 2012); see also NuCal Foods, Inc. v. Quality Egg LLC, 887 F.Supp.2d 977, 984-85 (E.D. Cal. 2012) (taking judicial notice of pleadings and affidavits filed in state court proceedings).

Defendants' request for judicial notice shall be granted as to all of the documents requested in its motion, as each of those documents was publicly filed in various state and federal cases. Dkt. #49 at 17-19. Although the Court may not "accept the veracity of the representations made in the documents, it may properly take judicial notice of those documents and of the representations having been made therein." NuCal Foods, 887 F.Supp.2d at 984 (internal quotations omitted). In addition, the Court continues to take judicial notice of the documents previously considered in this matter. See Dkt. #27 at 4-6. With respect to the documents requested by Plaintiff, the Court will take judicial notice of some of the documents attached to the Declaration of Reed Yurchak, which have also been publicly filed in various state and federal cases or are not disputed by Defendants, including those exhibits described at paragraphs 2.a., 2.c., 2.e., 2.i., 2.k., and 2.p.-2.v. See Dkt. # 56 and exhibits thereto. The Court will not take judicial notice of the remaining documents requested by Plaintiff as they either constitute inadmissible hearsay, they have not been properly authenticated by Mr. Yurchak, and/or they are not pertinent to the Court's resolution of this matter.[1]

C. Statute of Limitations

The remaining state law claims against Defendants Smyth and de Haan are fraud, tortious interference, conspiracy, and trespass to chattels and conversion. These claims arise from the same set of facts at the previously-dismissed Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA") claim. See Dkts. #1 and #27. As with the previous CFAA claim, the Court now finds that the Complaint and judicially noticed documents ...

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