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Ames v. Lindquist

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

November 11, 2017

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



         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Mark Lindquist (“Lindquist”), Mark and Chelsea Lindquist, and Pierce County's (“County”) (collectively, “Defendants”) motion to dismiss (Dkt. 49). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants in part and denies in part the motion for the reasons stated herein.


         On February 1, 2016, Plaintiff Michael Ames (“Ames”) filed a complaint in Pierce County Superior Court for the State of Washington against Defendants asserting numerous causes of action. Dkt. 1-1. On February 6, 2016, Defendants removed the matter to this Court. Dkt. 1.

         On May 5, 2016, Ames filed a seventy-two page amended complaint with 320 pages of appendices. Dkt. 24. On May 19, 2016, Defendants moved to dismiss. Dkt. 24. The Court divided the motion into three parts and requested additional briefing. Dkt. 32. On October 6, 2016, The Court granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part. Dkt. 35. The Court denied the motion on Ames's first amendment claims against the County. Id. On April 26, 2017, the Court granted the motion on Ames's due process claims and granted Ames leave to amend. Dkt. 41. On June 21, 2017, the Court granted the motion in part and denied it in part, dismissed Ames's state law indemnification claim with prejudice, and granted Ames leave to amend other state law claims. Dkt. 45.

         On June 30, 2017, Ames filed a seventy-three-page Second Amended Complaint and 360 pages of appendices. Dkt. 46.

         On July 14, 2017, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Dkt. 49. On August 7, 2017, Ames responded. Dkt. 50. On August 11, 2017, Defendants replied and move to strike the overlength portions of Ames's brief. Dkt. 51.[1]


         As a threshold matter, the Court agrees with Defendants that Ames has created potential statute of limitations issues by asserting allegations that occurred years before the applicable period of limitations for some claims. Ames, however, has also asserted allegations that occurred within the applicable periods. At this time, the Court declines to parse the complaint on an allegation-by-allegation basis because, for each claim that survives, Ames has alleged at least one fact to establish the claim. Theories and/or facts under each claim that are barred will be disposed of as the matter proceeds. With that understanding, the Court will consider Defendants' motion.

         A. 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.

         B. Federal Claims

         Ames asserts claims for violations of his First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The Court has concluded that Ames has stated a First Amendment retaliation claim against Pierce County. Dkt. 35. While the claim is limited to municipal liability because Ames has failed to name any individual besides Lindquist, the Court concludes that Ames has asserted sufficient allegations to overcome a motion to dismiss. Id.

         Regarding Ames's First Amendment claim against Lindquist, the complaint is extremely confusing. If one reads the complaint, ignoring the labels and conclusions, it would seem that Ames is alleging that Lindquist organized a broad conspiracy to ruin Ames's career as a police officer. Ames also alleges that Lindquist ordered his subordinates to perjure themselves in an effort to fabricate impeachment evidence to use against Ames in pending and future criminal matters. Oddly, Ames further alleges that the current defense attorney is one of Lindquist's specialized deputies that he ordered to pursue frivolous sanctions against Ames in a previous lawsuit. Dkt. 46, ¶¶ 5.36 (“Mike Patterson . . . whom Lindquist specially deputized in Ames' name clearing case”), 6.26 (“Lindquist further directed his special deputies to pursue frivolous lawsuit sanctions against Ames for daring to request a name clearing hearing judicially.”). Ames, however, fails to assert a conspiracy ...

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