United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING HMS DEFENDANTS' AMENDED CR
12(B)(6) MOTION FOR DISMISSAL OF CLAIMS BASED ON ALLEGED
VIOLATIONS OF THE WASHINGTON STATE CONSTITUTION
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
reasons set forth below, the Court should grant HMS
Defendants' Motion for Partial Dismissal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PRO SE STANDARDS
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.