United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss. Dkt. # 8. Plaintiff opposes the motion. Dkt. # 11.
For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES the motion.
October 13, 2012, a Tukwila Police Department K-9, Gino, bit
Plaintiff's leg while two officers, James Sturgill and
Mike Boehmer, tackled Plaintiff and unleashed pepper spray.
Dkt. # 1-1 (Amended Complaint) at ¶ 2.1. Plaintiff
sustained serious and permanent injuries due to the dog bite.
Id. at ¶ 2.16. On November 9, 2015, Plaintiff
sued the City of Tukwila (“City”) in King County
Superior Court, alleging that its officers used excessive
force during the arrest.
September 2016, Plaintiff moved to amend his complaint by
adding Officers Sturgill and Boehmer as individual
defendants. Dkt. # 12 at 4. The City opposed Plaintiff's
motion, arguing that the statute of limitations barred
Plaintiff from suing the individual officers. Id. at
17. The state court ruled in Plaintiff's favor.
Id. at 41. Defendants removed to this Court and now
seek to reargue the statute of limitations issue.
12(b)(6) permits a court to dismiss a complaint for failure
to state a claim. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). 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, 570 (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).
typically cannot consider evidence beyond the four corners of
the complaint, although it may rely on a document to which
the complaint refers if the document is central to the
party's claims and its authenticity is not in question.
Marder v. Lopez, 450 F.3d 445, 448 (9th Cir. 2006).
A court may also consider evidence subject to judicial
notice. United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908
(9th Cir. 2003).
argues that Defendants are collaterally estopped from seeking
dismissal of the individual officers. Dkt. # 11 at 4.
Defendants respond that collateral estoppel is not applicable
because the issues presented to the state court are not
identical to the issues presented to this Court, the officers
lack privity with the City, the officers were not afforded a
full opportunity to litigate this issue to the state court,
and applying the doctrine would be unjust. Dkt. # 8 at 6-9.
estoppel, or issue preclusion, prevents a party from
relitigating an issue on which a court has already ruled.
Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94 (1980). In
determining the preclusive effect of a prior state court
judgment, federal courts apply the collateral estoppel rules
of the state that rendered the underlying judgment.
See 29 U.S.C. § 1738 (“Full Faith and
Credit Act”); Migra v. Warren City Sch. Dist. Bd.
of Ed., 465 U.S. 75, 81 (1984); Everett v.
Perez, 78 F.Supp.2d 1134, 1136 (E.D. Wash. 1999). In
this case, a Washington state court ruled on whether
Plaintiff could amend his complaint to add the individual
officers as defendants, and therefore this Court will abide
by Washington rules regarding collateral estoppel.
Everett, 78 F.Supp.2d at 1136.
Washington law, a party may not relitigate an issue after the
party against whom the doctrine is applied has had a full and
fair opportunity to litigate his or her case. Hanson v.
City of Snohomish, 852 P.2d 295, 300 (Wash. 1993).
Before a court may apply the doctrine of collateral estoppel,
the moving party must prove that:
(1) the issue decided in the prior adjudication must be
identical with the one presented in the second; (2) the prior
adjudication must have ended in a final judgment on the
merits; (3) the party against whom the plea of collateral
estoppel is asserted must have been a party or in privity
with a party to the ...