United States District Court, D. Arizona
HONORABLE G. MURRAY SNOW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (Doc.
50). The Court grants the Motion.
February 2017, Thomas and Tanya Henson brought a suit under
42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1988 against
various state and municipal actors, one private citizen, and
a towing company. (Doc. 1). In short, Mrs. Henson alleges
that Defendant Officer Glass violated her rights during a
traffic stop and subsequent arrest. Id. at 6-9. As
part of the arrest, a towing company towed their vehicle and
required the Hensons to pay sixty-five dollars for its
release. Id. at 10. Mrs. Henson appeared in state
court before Judges Blake, Hendrix, and Dalton on charges of
disorderly conduct, harassment, and failure to obey a police
officer, and she alleged that these judges violated her
rights. Id. at 11-13.
City of Scottsdale and government employees filed a motion to
dismiss. (Docs. 15, 16, 33). The Court dismissed the claims
against Judge Blake and Judge Hendrix with prejudice due to
judicial immunity. (Doc. 44 at 7-8). The Court dismissed the
remaining claims either without prejudice or with leave to
amend so that the Hensons could remedy their complaint and
allege sufficient facts to support their claims. (Doc. 44).
The Hensons filed a First Amended Complaint on August 31,
2017. (Doc. 46).
the Court outlined the factual deficiencies of
Plaintiffs' first complaint in detail, the
Plaintiffs' factual claims in the First Amended Complaint
are nearly identical to the factual claims in the original
complaint. (See Docs. 1, 46). As the only
substantive change, the First Amended Complaint alleges that
the state court judges violated certain criminal statutes
concerning crimes of conspiracy and deprivation of rights,
(doc. 46), notwithstanding the Court's dismissal of
claims against Judge Blake and Judge Hendrix with prejudice
due to judicial immunity. The Defendants filed a renewed
Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 50).
survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a
complaint must contain more than “labels and
conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action”; it must contain factual
allegations sufficient to “raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While “a
complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations . . .
it must plead ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Clemens v.
DaimlerChrysler Corp., 534 F.3d 1017, 1022 (9th Cir.
2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The
plausibility standard “asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Id. When a complaint does not “permit the
court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct,
the complaint has alleged-but it has not shown-that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679
(internal quotation omitted). When analyzing a complaint for
failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), “[a]ll
allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.”
Smith v. Jackson, 84 F.3d 1213, 1217 (9th Cir.
1996). However, legal conclusions couched as factual
allegations are not given a presumption of truthfulness, and
“conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted
inferences are not sufficient to defeat a motion to
dismiss.” Pareto v. FDIC, 139 F.3d 696, 699
(9th Cir. 1998).
a district court should not dismiss a complaint with
prejudice if an amendment could save the complaint.
Thinket Ink Information Resources, Inc. v. Sun
Microsystems, Inc., 368 F.3d 1053, 1061 (9th Cir. 2004)
(citations omitted). However, under Rule 41(b), a district
court has authority to dismiss a plaintiff's action
because of his or her failure to prosecute or to comply with
court orders. Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). Before dismissal for
failure to prosecute or failure to comply with court orders,
the Court must consider the following factors: “(1) the
public's interest in expeditious resolution of
litigation; (2) the court's need to manage its docket;
(3) the risk of prejudice to the defendants; (4) the public
policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits; and (5)
the availability of less drastic sanctions.” In re
Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Prod. Liab. Litig., 460 F.3d
1217, 1226-1228, 1234-1252 (9th Cir. 2006) (discussing and
applying the five factors); Pagtalunan v. Galaza,
291 F.3d 639, 642-43 (9th Cir. 2002) (same).
described in the previous opinion granting Defendants'
motion to dismiss with leave to amend, Mr. and Mrs. Henson
failed to allege a sufficient factual basis for relief. (Doc.
44). For example, the Court dismissed the Monell
claims against the City of Scottsdale because the complaint
did not allege any facts concerning liability of the City of
Scottsdale. (Doc. 44 at 6). Nothing in the First Amended
Complaint does so either. As another example, the Court
dismissed Mrs. Hensons's claim of excessive force because
she did not allege facts that Officer Glass used more than
de minimis force, and nothing in the First Amended
Complaint addresses this issue or alleges that Officer Glass
used more than de minimis force. (Doc. 44 at 12).
whole, the First Amended Complaint does not resolve any of
the factual deficiencies outlined by the Court. The lone
addition to the complaint is a new legal basis claiming that
the state court judges violated criminal conspiracy laws. The
Court previously dismissed the judicial defendants with
prejudice due to judicial immunity, and Plaintiff's new
citation to the criminal code does not impact that analysis.
(Doc. 44 at 7).
the First Amended Complaint also fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, the Court considers whether
dismissal with prejudice is appropriate. The Court previously
instructed the Plaintiffs concerning the complaint's
factual deficiencies, and instead of addressing those issues,
the Plaintiffs alleged a new claim against defendants
previously dismissed with prejudice. To provide the
Plaintiffs with a second opportunity to potentially save
their complaint would violate the Court's commitment to
expeditious resolutions, docket management, and fairness ...