United States District Court, W.D. Washington
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION, GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
DISMISS, GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO AMEND, REQUESTING
ADDITIONAL BRIEFING, AND RENOTING MOTION
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants Mark Lindquist,
Chelsea Lindquist, and Pierce County's
(“Defendants”) motion to dismiss (Dkt. 26) and
Plaintiff Michael Ames's (“Ames”) motion for
reconsideration (Dkt. 37). The Court has considered the
pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion
and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as follows:
February 2, 2016, Ames filed a complaint against Defendants
in Pierce County Superior Court for the State of Washington.
Dkt. 1, Exh. 1. Ames asserted causes of action for violations
of his constitutional rights, conspiracy to violate his civil
rights, abuse of process, invasion of privacy, constructive
discharge, outrage, and indemnification. Id. On
February 22, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Dkt.
13. On April 21, 2016, the Court granted the motion
concluding that Ames failed to connect factual allegations to
the elements of his causes of action and granted Ames leave
to amend. Dkt. 21.
5, 2016, Ames filed a First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) asserting six causes of action: (1)
violations of his civil rights, including his First Amendment
right to freedom of speech, right to redress or petition, and
right to access the courts and his Fourteenth Amendment
rights to procedural and substantive due process, (2) abuse
of process, (3) invasion of privacy, (4) constructive
discharge/breach of contract, (5) outrage, and (6)
indemnification. Dkt. 24. The FAC is 72 pages long, and Ames
attached 320 pages of appendices. Id.
19, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Dkt. 26. On
October 6, 2016, the Court granted the motion in part,
reserved ruling in part, and requested additional briefing.
Dkt. 35. On October 18, 2016, Ames filed a supplemental
brief. Dkt. 36. On October 19, 2016, Ames filed a motion for
reconsideration. Dkt. 37. On October 28, 2016, Defendants
filed a supplemental reply. Dkt. 38. On December 27, 2016,
Defendants filed a request for judicial notice. Dkt. 39.
Motion for Reconsideration
for reconsideration are governed by Local Rule 7(h), which
Motions for reconsideration are disfavored. The court will
ordinarily deny such motions in the absence of a showing of
manifest error in the prior ruling or a showing of new facts
or legal authority which could not have been brought to its
attention earlier with reasonable diligence.
Local Rules, W.D. Wash. LCR 7(h).
case, it is unclear whether Ames moves for reconsideration on
the basis of new facts and/or authority or a manifest error
of law. Regarding the former, Ames correctly concludes that
his “claims against Pierce County that were not
dismissed would include entity liability based upon the acts
and omissions of Lindquist as a government official.”
Dkt. 37 at 3. Accordingly, Lindquist as a witness or integral
actor for the alleged deprivations is fundamentally different
than Lindquist as a party. The Court concludes that Ames has
failed to show a manifest error of law on this issue.
new facts or authority, the motion highlights some of the
problems with Ames's shotgun-style approach to stating
his claims. For example, Ames cites, for the first time,
Karl v. City of Mountlake Terrace, 678 F.3d 1062,
1072 (2012), for the proposition that a “subordinate
officer who is not the final decision maker can still be
liable under § 1983 if he set[s] in motion a series of
acts by others which the actor knows or reasonably should
know would cause others to inflict the constitutional
injury.” Dkt. 37 at 3-4. The Court agrees with Ames
that this is valid precedent. Ames, however, fails to
correlate precedent with factual allegations in his
complaint. The two relevant paragraphs in his complaint
provide as follows:
Defendant Mark Lindquist directed his subordinates in the
acts and failures to act that deprived Mike Ames of his First
Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment (Due Process) rights.
Defendant Mark Lindquist set in motion a series of acts by
his subordinates that he knew or reasonably should have known
would cause his subordinates to deprive Mike Ames of his
First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment (Due Process)
Dkt. 24 ¶¶ 6.17, 6.18. These allegations do not
state a claim under Karl because, if the lead
prosecutor is not an “employer” for purposes of
First Amendment liability, subordinate prosecutors would
definitely not be considered Ames's employers either.
Therefore, even under Ames's new authority, his complaint
still fails to state a claim.
Ames argues that he is prejudiced by “having to argue
his case on a [Rule] 12(b)(6) motion, divulging all his
theories, before he has the opportunity to fully develop them
. . . .” Dkt. 37 at 6. Contrary to Ames's
assertion, the rules of procedure require Ames to provide
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). If Ames fails to do so, then there is no need for
discovery. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127
S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007) (Plaintiffs must allege “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.”). Accordingly, the Court denies Ames's
motion for reconsideration.
Motion to Dismiss
alleges violations of his procedural and substantive due
process rights. FAC ¶¶ 6.69-6.81. Defendants move
to dismiss these claims because Ames has failed to state a
claim, the claims are barred by the ...