United States District Court, D. Arizona
PAUL G. ROSENBLATT, District Judge.
Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Strike. (Doc. 24.) On April 11, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint ("SAC") alleging two counts: "wrongful death by excessive force" and civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 22.) Defendants move to dismiss the civil rights claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. They also move to strike paragraph 26 of the SAC as impertinent and immaterial under Rule 12(f).
Plaintiffs oppose the motion. (Doc. 27.) For the reasons set forth herein, the motion is granted.
Plaintiffs are Veronica Vacenri and Joel Smith, Jr., individually and as the parents of Joel Smith III, who died on September 13, 2012, after being shot by Deputy Tehran Ryles of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office during a law enforcement incident on September 13, 2012. Defendants include Deputy Ryles, Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio, and the Town of Guadalupe. ( Id. )
1. Rule 12(b)(6)
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Dismissal for insufficiency of a complaint is proper if the complaint fails to state a claim on its face. See Lucas v. Bechtel Corp., 633 F.2d 757, 759 (9th Cir. 1980). A Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal for failure to state a claim can be based on either the lack of a cognizable legal theory or insufficient facts to support a cognizable legal claim. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
In determining whether an asserted claim can be sustained, all allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Clegg v. Cult Awareness Network, 18 F.3d 752, 754 (9th Cir. 1994). With respect to factual allegations, the Supreme Court has explained that they "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must contain more than "an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.
2. Section 1983
Forty-two U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action against a person who, acting under color of state law, deprives another of rights guaranteed under the Constitution. It does not create any substantive rights; rather, it is a vehicle whereby plaintiffs can challenge actions by government officials. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989). To prove a case under § 1983, a plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) the action occurred under color of state law and (2) the action resulted in the deprivation of a constitutional right or federal statutory right. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir.2002); Balistreri, 901 F.2d at 699.
A. Survivorship claim
Paragraph 26 of the SAC alleges violations of decedent Joel Smith III's constitutional rights:
Defendant Deputy TEHRAN RYLES, acting under color of state law, knowingly, willfully, and intentionally deprived Decedent JOEL SMITH, III of his rights, privileges, and immunities secured by 42 U.S.C. 1983 & 1988, other federal and state statutes, as well as the Constitution of the State of ...