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Brees v. HMS Global Maritime Inc.

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

October 25, 2019

RICHARD BREES, Plaintiff,
v.
HMS GLOBAL MARITIME INC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING HMS DEFENDANTS' AMENDED CR 12(B)(6) MOTION FOR DISMISSAL OF CLAIMS BASED ON ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE WASHINGTON STATE CONSTITUTION

          ROBERT J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants HMS Global Maritime Inc., HMS Ferries Inc., Steve Caputo, Dominick De Lango, Mylinda Miller, Thomas Ripa, Tara Reynolds, and Derick F. Leenstra's (collectively “HMS Defendants”) Amended CR 12(b)(6) Motion for Dismissal of Claims Based on Alleged Violations of the Washington State Constitution (“Motion for Partial Dismissal”). Dkt. 94. The Court is familiar with the motion, all materials filed in support of and in opposition to the motion, and the remainder of the record herein, and it is fully advised.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court should grant HMS Defendants' Motion for Partial Dismissal.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises from allegedly unlawful searches conducted by ferry personnel against Plaintiff Richard Brees when he attempted to board the ferry in his car. Dkt. 83. Pierce County contracts with Defendant HMS Ferries, Inc. (“HMS”) to operate Pierce County's ferry system. Dkt. 46, at 2.

         Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, the operative complaint, alleges two unlawful searches: one occurring on May 17, 2018, and the other on May 18, 2018. Dkt. 83, at 8-10. In the first alleged search, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Steve Caputo, General Manager (“GM”), HMS Ferries, Inc., alongside an unnamed Senior Ticketing Agent and Ferry Captain, attempted to search his vehicle on May 17, 2018. Dkt. 83, at 8-10. Plaintiff apparently resisted the search and was eventually allowed to board the ferry. Dkt. 83, at 9.

         In the second alleged search, Plaintiff claims that an “angry GM” initiated a retaliatory search of his vehicle. Dkt. 83, at 9-10. Plaintiff alleges that he initially resisted the search, but “under duress” and “[d]esperate to get home, … [he] walked to his [vehicle] trunk, opened it, and said ‘fine, I'll play along, I have to get home, my wife is out of town, and our pets need care, so here search away.'” Dkt. 83, at 10-11. Plaintiff alleges that ferry personnel then searched his car's trunk and instructed Plaintiff to open a large bag, the contents of which were inspected. Dkt. 83, at 11. The operative complaint provides that, after the search was completed, Plaintiff told the GM, “I'll see you in court asshole.” Dkt. 83, at 11. Plaintiff was then not allowed to board the ferry. Dkt. 83, at 11.

         On August 22, 2018, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed an initial complaint with claims against HMS Ferries, Inc., HMS Global Maritime, Inc., and Steve Caputo. Dkt. 1-1. On April 19, 2019, Plaintiff filed a first Amended Complaint naming additional defendants. Dkt. 35-1.

         HMS Defendants filed an initial motion for partial dismissal of Plaintiff's claims. Dkt. 80. While that initial motion for partial dismissal was pending, the Court granted leave to Plaintiff to file a second amended complaint. Dkt. 81. The Court also granted leave to the defendants to amend or withdraw their pending motions for dismissal after Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint (Dkt. 83). Dkt. 88.

         Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint makes fourteen claims, seven of which are against HMS Defendants. Dkt. 83, at 12-15, ¶¶ 1-4, and 5-7. Four of Plaintiff's claims against HMS Defendants appear to allege violations of the Washington State Constitution. Dkt. 83, at 12-13, ¶¶ 1-3, and 6.

         HMS Defendants filed the instant Amended Motion for Partial Dismissal (Dkt. 94), which is almost identical to HMS Defendants' initial motion for partial dismissal found in Dkt. 80 and still pending consideration. Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to the instant motion. Dkt. 102. HMS Defendants filed a reply in support of the instant motion. Dkt. 104.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. PRO SE STANDARDS

         When a plaintiff proceeds pro se, a district court is required to afford plaintiff the benefit of any doubt in ascertaining what claims plaintiff raised in the complaint and argued to the district court. Alvarez v. Hill, 518 F.3d 1152, 1158 (9th Cir. 2008), (citing Morrison v. Hall, 261 F.3d 896, 899 n.2 (9th Cir. 2001)); see also Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dept., 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988) ...


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