United States District Court, D. Arizona
George W. Schaffer, Plaintiff,
Larry Hooten and Daniel Morales, Defendants.
G. Campbell, United States District Judge
Plaintiff George Schaffer filed a complaint against
Defendants Larry Hooten and Daniel Morelez,  alleging federal
and state law violations arising from their encounter with
and detention of Plaintiff on July 29, 2016. Doc. 17.
Defendants now move for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to
Rule 12(c). Doc. 24. The motion is fully briefed, and no
party requests oral argument. For the reasons that follow,
the Court will grant Defendants' motion in part and deny
it in part.
purposes of this motion, Plaintiff's factual allegations
are accepted as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009). Plaintiff is a resident of Yavapai County,
Arizona, and a first responder for the Skull Valley Fire
Department. Doc. 17 ¶¶ 4, 7. Defendants are Yavapai
County Deputy Sheriffs. Id. ¶ 5. At all times
relevant to this complaint, Defendants were in uniform,
armed, and acting in their official capacities as law
enforcement officers. Id. ¶¶ 5, 17, 33.
and Defendants participated in an emergency response call
with the fire and sheriff's departments on July 29, 2016.
Id. ¶ 7; Doc. 22 ¶ 7. After concluding the
call, Defendant Hooten asked Plaintiff to participate in a
debriefing. Doc. 17 ¶ 8. “Plaintiff reacted with
an involuntary, non-threatening mild expression.”
Id. ¶ 9. Defendant Hooten then asked Plaintiff
to state his full name and date of birth. Id. ¶
12. Plaintiff responded: “You don't need
that.” Id. ¶ 13. Defendant Hooten
continued to request his name and date of birth, and
Plaintiff continued to refuse. Id. ¶¶
14-15. When Plaintiff departed to end the encounter,
Defendants pursued Plaintiff and demanded that he place his
hands on a vehicle. Id. ¶¶ 16-18.
Plaintiff complied, and Defendant Hooten gave him “two
seconds” to provide his name and date of birth.
Id. ¶¶ 19-20. Defendant Morelez then
handcuffed Plaintiff, and Defendant Hooten threatened to
arrest him. Id. ¶¶ 21-23. Defendants
removed the handcuffs after approximately ten minutes, and
Plaintiff was free to leave. Id. ¶¶ 24-25.
alleges that this detention caused injuries “including
but not limited to loss of liberty, loss of sleep, stress and
anxiety, and emotional distress experienced during the
interrogation, assault and arrest, and after, potential
damage to his professional reputation, and defamation of
character.” Id. ¶ 40. Plaintiff seeks
$197, 600 in damages, an injunction barring further
restraints on his liberty without suspicion, and an order
that Defendants abide by their oaths as law enforcement
officers. Id. ¶¶ 49-52.
12(c) is functionally identical to Rule 12(b)(6) and the same
standard applies to motions brought under either rule.
Gregg v. Haw. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 870 F.3d
883, 887 (9th Cir. 2017). Thus, a successful Rule 12(c)
motion must show either that the complaint lacks a cognizable
legal theory or fails to allege facts sufficient to support
its theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't,
901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). A complaint that sets
forth a cognizable legal theory will survive a motion for
judgment on the pleadings as long as it contains
“sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). “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. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
se plaintiff's factual allegations are held “to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). The rule of liberal construction of pleadings is
“‘particularly important in civil rights
cases.'” Garmon v. Cty. of L.A., 828 F.3d
837, 846 (9th Cir. 2016) (quoting Ferdik v.
Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1261 (9th Cir. 1992)).
sues Defendants for (1) criminal deprivation of rights under
color of state law in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242, (2)
criminal violations of A.R.S. §§ 13-1204 and
13-2412, and (3) deprivation of rights under the Fourth,
Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Doc. 17 ¶¶ 41-47.
Criminal Deprivation of Rights.
alleges a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242, a federal
criminal statute that prohibits the deprivation of rights
under the color of state law. Doc. 17 at 5, ¶ 35.
Defendants argue that the Court must dismiss Plaintiff's
claim because § 242 does not provide a private right of
action. Doc. 24 at 12. Plaintiff acknowledges that he made a
mistake by citing § 242, but does not move to dismiss
this claim. Doc. 25 at 4. Section 242 is a criminal statute
that does not create a private right of action. Allen v.
Gold Country Casino, 464 F.3d 1044, 1048 (9th Cir. 2006)
(18 U.S.C. § 242 does “not give rise to civil
liability”). The Court accordingly will dismiss this