United States District Court, D. Arizona
A. Teilborg Senior United States District Judge
before the Court are: Defendants City of Glendale, Debora
Black, Rick St. John, Mark Burdick, and Anthony
Gavalyas's (the “Glendale Defendants'”)
Motion to Dismiss, (Doc. 26), and Defendant City of
Phoenix's (“Phoenix's”) Motion to
Dismiss, (Doc. 21). Plaintiff David Alan Berenter has filed
responses to each Motion, (Docs. 23; 28), and Defendants have
filed respective replies, (Docs. 27; 29). The Court now rules
on the Motions.
March 11, 2014, a fire broke out at Plaintiff's residence
in Glendale, Arizona. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 19). Officers from
the Glendale Police Department arrived at the scene and
subsequently arrested Plaintiff and charged him with arson.
(Id. at ¶ 20). Plaintiff remained in custody
for “several weeks until he was able to make
bail.” (Id. at ¶ 27). Sometime between
March 11, 2014 and September 17, 2014, Defendant Anthony
Gavalyas, a Glendale Fire Department arson investigator,
conducted an investigation of the fire and concluded that it
was caused by arson. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-26).
September 17, 2014, Plaintiff's defense counsel
interviewed Defendant Gavalyas, who admitted that he was not
certified by the National Fire Protection Association
(“NFPA”) and did not complete a full
investigation according to NFPA standards. (Id. at
October 16, 2014, the State moved to dismiss the criminal
complaint and the motion was granted the following day.
(Id. at ¶¶ 30-31). Almost two years later,
on June 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion to dismiss with
prejudice based, at least in part, on an argument that
“the State could not prove their case because Mr.
Gavalyas's investigation did not meet the [NFPA]
standards.” (Id. at ¶ 32). The state
court granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice.
(Id. at ¶ 33).
filed a complaint with this Court on October 17, 2016
alleging that the prosecution of the criminal complaint
caused a loss of personal freedom, physical and emotional
pain and suffering, financial hardship, and loss of
reputation in his community. (Id. at ¶¶
34, 36). Plaintiff brings his claims “pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and the constitution of the state of
Arizona, the constitution of the United States, and for state
law claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, conspiracy,
malicious prosecution, abuse of process, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, gross negligence, and
invasion of privacy.” (Id. at ¶ 14).
survive a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Federal
Rule”) 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim, a
complaint must meet the requirements of Federal Rule 8(a)(2).
This requires a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” so
that the defendant has “fair notice of what the . . .
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A
complaint must also contain sufficient factual matter, which,
if accepted as true, states a claim to relief that is
“plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Facial plausibility
exists if the pleader sets forth factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant
is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id.
Plausibility does not equal “probability, ” but
requires more than a sheer possibility that a defendant acted
unlawfully. Id. “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. (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557).
a complaint attacked for failure to state a claim does not
need detailed factual allegations, the pleader's
obligation to provide the grounds for relief requires
“more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal
citations omitted). Federal Rule 8(a)(2) “requires a
‘showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of
entitlement to relief, ” as “[w]ithout some
factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a
claimant could satisfy the requirement of providing not only
‘fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also
‘grounds' on which the claim rests.”
Id. at 555 n.3 (citing 5 Charles A. Wright &
Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure
§ 1202, at 94, 95 (3d ed. 2004)). Thus, Rule 8's
pleading standard demands more than “an unadorned,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
Court must construe the facts alleged in the complaint in the
light most favorable to the drafter and must accept all
well-pleaded factual allegations as true, Shwarz v.
United States, 234 F.3d at 428, 435 (9th Cir. 2000);
see also Cafasso v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., 637 F.3d
1047, 1053 (9th Cir. 2011). However, a court need not accept
as true legal conclusions couched as factual allegations.
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).
STATE LAW CLAIMS
alleges that Defendants violated his rights under Arizona law
and brings claims for “false arrest, false
imprisonment, conspiracy, malicious prosecution, abuse of
process, intentional infliction of emotional distress, gross
negligence, and invasion of privacy.” (Doc. 1 at ¶
Defendants argue that any state law claims should be barred
by Arizona's statute of limitations and notice of claim
statutes. (Docs. 26 at 3-10; 21 at 4-5).
Arizona law, any action against a public employee
“shall be brought within one year after the cause of
action accrues and not afterward.” Ariz. Rev. Stat.
Ann. § 12-821.01 (2015). Additionally, the claimant must
file a notice of claim with the public employee or persons
authorized to accept service for them within 180 days of the
cause of action accruing. Id. § 12-821.01(A).
The cause of action accrues when the claimant “realizes
he or she has been damaged and knows or reasonably should
know the cause, source, act, event, instrumentality or
condition that caused or contributed” to the injury.
Id. § 12-821.01(B); see also Sato v. Van
Denburgh, 599 P.2d 181, 183 (Ariz. ...