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United States v. Maricopa County

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 12, 2012

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA; et al., Defendants.

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Edward G. Caspar, Jennifer Larissa Mondino, Jonathan M. Smith, Sergio Perez, U.S. Dept of Justice-Civil Rights, Roy L. Austin, Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Dept of Justice, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff.

Dan K. Webb, Joel E. Connolly, Winston & Strawn LLP, Chicago, IL, Richard K. Walker, Robert L. Dysart, Walker & Peskind PLLC, Scottsdale, AZ, for Defendant.

ORDER

ROSLYN O. SILVER, Chief Judge.

Pending before the Court are Defendants' motions to dismiss. (Docs. 35 and 37). For the reasons below, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (" MCSO" ) will be dismissed, but the claims against Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio (" Arpaio" ) and Maricopa County, Arizona (the " County" ) will be allowed to proceed.

BACKGROUND

On May 10, 2012, the United States of America (" Plaintiff" ) filed a Complaint against the County, MCSO and Arpaio in his official capacity. The Complaint alleges six claims for relief: Count One for intentional discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in violation of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141 (" Section 14141" ) and the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment; Count Two for unreasonable searches, arrests and detentions lacking probable cause or reasonable suspicion in violation of Section 14141 and the

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Fourth Amendment; Count Three for disparate impact and intentional discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d-2000d-7 (" Title VI" ); Count Four for disparate impact and intentional discrimination against limited English proficient (" LEP" ) Latino prisoners in violation of Title VI; Count Five for disparate impact and intentional discrimination in violation of Defendants' contractual assurances under Title VI; Count Six for retaliation against Defendants' critics in violation of Section 14141 and the First Amendment. (Doc. 1, ¶¶ 165-188). Defendants move to dismiss.

ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard

Under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must contain " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must " give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quotation omitted). A plaintiff must allege facts sufficient " to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. The complaint must contain " sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘ state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’ " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955). " A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678, 127 S.Ct. 1955. " Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘ merely consistent with’ a defendant's liability, it ‘ stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.’ " Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955). " A pleading that offers ‘ labels and conclusions' or ‘ a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’ " Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955).

B. MCSO

The MCSO moves to dismiss because it is a non jural entity, incapable of suing or being sued in its own name. State law generally determines a party's capacity to be sued. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b)(3). Under Arizona law, " Government entities have no inherent power and possess only those powers and duties delegated to them bye their enabling statutes. Thus, a governmental entity may be sued only if the legislature has so provided." Braillard v. Maricopa County, 224 Ariz. 481, 232 P.3d 1263, 1269 (Ariz.Ct.App.2010) (citations omitted). In Braillard, the Arizona Court of Appeals recognized the question of " [w]hether MCSO is a nonjural entity is apparently an issue of first impression in our state courts." Id. The Court noted, " [a]lthough A.R.S. § 11-201(A)(1) provides that counties have the power to sue and be sued through their boards of supervisors, no Arizona statute confers such power on MCSO as a separate legal entity." Id. Braillard " therefore conclude[d] MCSO is a nonjural entity and should be dismissed from this case." Id. The MCSO's motion to dismiss will be granted because the MCSO is a nonjural entity.[1]

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C. Sheriff Arpaio

1. Disparate Impact Claims in Counts III, IV and V

Counts III, IV and V allege disparate impact and intentional discrimination under Title VI. The Sheriff seeks to dismiss the disparate impact portion of Counts III, IV and V for failure to allege ...


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