Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ames v. Lindquist

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

June 21, 2017

MICHAEL AMES, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK LINDQUIST, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO AMEND

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Mark Lindquist, Chelsea Lindquist, and Pierce County's (“Defendants”) motion to dismiss (Dkt. 26). 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:

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On 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.

         On May 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.

         On May 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 April 26, 2017, the Court granted the motion in part, reserved ruling in part, and requested additional briefing on Ames' state law claims. Dkt. 41. On May 12, 2017, Ames filed a supplemental brief. Dkt. 43. On May 19, 2017, Defendants replied. Dkt. 44.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         1. Standard

         Motions to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure may be based on either the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under such a theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Department, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). Material allegations are taken as admitted and the complaint is construed in the plaintiff's favor. Keniston v. Roberts, 717 F.2d 1295, 1301 (9th Cir. 1983). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint does not require detailed factual allegations but must provide the grounds for entitlement to relief and not merely a “formulaic recitation” of the elements of a cause of action. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. Plaintiffs must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 1974.

         2. Abuse of Process

          “Abuse of process requires two essential elements: ‘(1) the existence of an ulterior purpose-to accomplish an object not within the proper scope of the process-and (2) an act in the use of legal process not proper in the regular prosecution of the proceedings.'” Hough v. Stockbridge, 152 Wn.App. 328, 343-44 (2009) (quoting Fite v. Lee, 11 Wn.App. 21, 27 (1974)).

         In this case, Ames asserts a straightforward claim of abuse of process. Ames alleges that Defendants fabricated false information about Ames and then disseminated the material to defense attorneys in certain criminal cases and filed the material in a civil case. FAC ¶¶ 6.89-6.94. Defendants argue that they are absolutely immune from any cause of action based on a prosecutor disclosing Brady material. Dkt. 14 at 2-4. The Court agrees to the extent that a prosecutor produces material that he is aware of, but disagrees if the prosecutor produces material that he knowingly fabricated. For example, if a prosecutor gives a defense attorney an independent investigative report that contains impeachment evidence, then immunity applies. See Broam v. Bogan, 320 F.3d 1023, 1029-1032 (9th Cir. 2003). Such an activity falls squarely within the prosecutor's duty to turn over exculpatory material regardless of the prosecutor's own belief in the truthfulness of the material that was generated by another. Id. On the other hand, Defendants have failed to cite authority for or persuade the Court that a prosecutor is immune from liability for fabricating and distributing impeachment evidence with the ulterior motive of discrediting a particular police officer.

         Ames, at least in part, asserts a claim for abuse of process based on the prosecutor's fabrication and dissemination of Brady material. Based on the current record, Ames asserts facts to plausibly state a claim for relief. Ames alleges that Pierce County prosecutors prepared declarations containing information that they knew was false. FAC ¶ 6.91. Ames alleges that the prosecutors then filed the declarations for retaliatory purposes and to accomplish the objective of discrediting Ames in various criminal cases. Id. The Court concludes that these ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.