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Pope v. City of Bellevue

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

February 7, 2017

RICHARD L. POPE, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF BELLEVUE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings (Dkt. No. 25). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons explained herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of Plaintiff's arrest for domestic violence. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2.) On the morning of March 20, 2013, Plaintiff called 911 to report that his live-in girlfriend, Lana Wilkinson-who was also his daughter's former caretaker-was interfering with the custody and control of his daughter, K.P. (Id.; Dkt. No. 14 at 2.) Officers Robertson, Collins, and McDade of the Bellevue Police Department responded, but did not take any action. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2.) Later that day, Officers Collins, McDade, Steppe, and Auclair responded to a 911 call reporting that Plaintiff “physically removed” Ms. Wilkinson from his car and “physically prevented her from re-entering” it. (Id.) The police officers arrested Plaintiff and left K.P., a 10-year-old with autism, in the care of Ms. Wilkinson. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff filed suit. (Dkt. No. 1-1.)

         Defendants' initial motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted and Plaintiff's claims for negligence, negligent supervision, tortious interference, unconstitutional taking, inverse condemnation, discrimination, and civil rights violations against the City of Bellevue were dismissed with prejudice. (Dkt. No. 21 at 7.) The Court dismissed Plaintiff's civil rights claim against individual officers without prejudice and granted leave to amend the complaint. (Id.) Plaintiff's amended complaint is now before the Court on Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (Dkt. No. 25 at 1.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff's amended complaint primarily restates claims that the Court previously dismissed with prejudice. (Dkt. No. 23 at 9-14.) Although Plaintiff acknowledges that causes of action one, four, five, six, eight, and nine were dismissed, he incorrectly interprets the Court's order granting leave to amend as giving him carte blanche to add new causes of action to the complaint. (Dkt No. 32 at 7; Dkt. No. 23 at 16.) The Court granted Plaintiff leave to amend his § 1983 claim against the officers, nothing more. (Dkt. No. 21 at 7.) Therefore, the Court will not address causes of action two, three, and seven in addition to those listed above.

         A. Plaintiff's Motion to Strike

         Plaintiff moves to strike Docket No. 25, page 2, lines 1-6. (Dkt. No. 32 at 7.) However, the content Plaintiff wishes to strike was not considered by the Court in deciding the motion to dismiss. The Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion to strike (Dkt. No. 32 at 7).

         B. Rule 12(b)(6) Standard

         A complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A defendant may move for dismissal when a plaintiff “fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). On a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court accepts all factual allegations in the complaint as true and construes them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Vasquez v. L.A. County, 487 F.3d 1246, 1249 (9th Cir. 2007). However, to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must cite facts supporting a “plausible” cause of action. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). A claim has “facial plausibility” when the party seeking relief “pleads factual content that allows the Court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 672 (2009) (internal quotations omitted). “[C]onclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences will not defeat an otherwise proper motion to dismiss.” Vasquez, 487 F.3d at 1249 (internal quotations omitted). “Dismissal for failure to state a claim is appropriate only if it appears beyond doubt that the non-moving party can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Id. (internal quotations omitted).

         C. Plaintiff's § 1983 Claim

         Plaintiff alleges a civil rights claim against the individual officers for violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Dkt. No. 23 at 14-16.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges violations of his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure and Fourteenth Amendment right to (1) manage the care, custody, and control of his child, (2) due process, and (3) equal protection. (Id.)

         The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. In his initial complaint, Plaintiff alleged the officers violated his Fourth Amendment right against an unreasonable search based on his assertion that his arrest was unreasonable. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 4.) In his amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that the officers placed K.P. in the custody of Ms. Wilkinson which constituted an unreasonable seizure. (Dkt. No. 23 at 16.) However, Plaintiff was granted leave to amend his original complaint, not to add new claims. Therefore, the Court will not consider Plaintiff's new Fourth Amendment claim. Regardless, Plaintiff does not allege any specific facts nor does he cite any case law to support his ...


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