United States District Court, W.D. Washington
JIMI M. BELLINGER, Plaintiff,
THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al., Defendants.
Richard A. Jones, United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendant City of
Seattle's Partial Motion to Dismiss Count III of
Plaintiff's Complaint. Dkt. # 13. For the reasons that
follow, the Court DENIES the City's motion.
Court describes the facts as Plaintiff Jimi M. Bellinger
alleges them in his complaint, Dkt. # 1-2, suggesting no
opinion on whether these allegations will prove true. The
Court cites the numbered paragraphs of the complaint using
February 3, 2016, Yashimoto Saki was using a computer at the
Seattle Central Community College (“Seattle
Central”) library when a man sat down nearby, exposed
himself to her, and began masturbating. ¶¶ 14, 16.
Without seeing the man's face, Saki immediately got up
and reported his conduct to a librarian. ¶¶ 16-17.
By then, however, the man had left. ¶ 17.
an African-American man, was reading magazines nearby.
¶¶ 3, 14-15. A Seattle Central security guard
detained him on suspicion that he was the man whom Saki had
described. ¶ 18. Officers from the Seattle Police
Department (“SPD”) arrived, arrested Bellinger
for indecent exposure, and removed him from the library.
Bellinger had been taken away, an SPD officer interviewed
Saki who explained that she could not identify the man who
exposed himself, but described him as wearing brown clothes
and a hat. ¶ 20. Bellinger was wearing black clothing.
Id. Surveillance video, which was available to the
officers prior to Bellinger's arrest, unequivocally shows
that Bellinger was not the man who had exposed himself to
Saki. Id. The officers, however, ignored this video
and all other evidence demonstrating that they lacked
probable cause to arrest him. Id.
was transported to King County Jail, where he was held for
more than twenty-four hours. ¶ 21. Bellinger's
unlawful detention caused him to suffer significant emotional
harm. ¶ 23. Based on the surveillance video, all charges
against him were dismissed with prejudice. ¶ 22.
19, 2016, Bellinger filed a civil rights action against the
officers, the security guard, the City of Seattle, the State
of Washington, and Seattle Central. Dkt. # 1-2. Bellinger
alleges that his arrest was unsupported by probable cause and
that he was targeted as a suspect based on his race.
¶¶ 19, 34. Among Bellinger's causes of action
is a Monell claim against the City of Seattle for
failing to properly train its officers and thereby causing
his unlawful and discriminatory arrest. ¶¶ 36-47.
The City of Seattle timely removed the action to this Court
and moved to dismiss the Monell claim pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Dkt. ## 1, 13.
Bellinger opposes the motion. Dkt. # 17.
12(b)(6) permits a court to dismiss a complaint for failure
to state a claim. The rule requires the court to assume the
truth of the complaint's factual allegations and credit
all reasonable inferences arising from those allegations.
Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903, 910 (9th Cir. 2007).
A court “need not accept as true conclusory allegations
that are contradicted by documents referred to in the
complaint.” Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine
Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008). The
plaintiff must point to factual allegations that “state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 568
(2007). If the plaintiff succeeds, the complaint avoids
dismissal if there is “any set of facts consistent with
the allegations in the complaint” that would entitle
the plaintiff to relief. Id. at 563; Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
resolving a motion to dismiss, a court typically cannot
consider evidence beyond the four corners of the complaint.
It may, however, consider certain materials, including those
subject to judicial notice, without converting the motion
into a motion for summary judgment. United States v.
Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2003). Under Rule
201, a court may take judicial notice of “a fact that
is not subject to reasonable dispute because it: (1) is
generally known within the trial court's territorial
jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined
from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be
questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201. Certain public records
qualify under the second category, including the
“records and reports of administrative bodies.”
Ritchie, 342 F.3d at 909 (quoting Interstate
Nat. Gas Co. v. S. Cal. Gas Co., 209 F.2d 380, 385 (9th