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Yates v. County of Pima

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 8, 2018

Ira Jon Yates, Plaintiff,
v.
County of Pima, et al., Defendant.

          ORDER

          Honorable D. Thomas Ferraro United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant County of Pima's Motion to Dismiss (“Motion”). (Doc. 5.) The Motion is fully briefed. (Docs. 6, 7.) On November 6, 2018, the Court heard oral argument and took the Motion under advisement. (Doc. 19.) As set forth below, the Motion will be granted in part.

         Background

         The Complaint alleges as follows: Plaintiff Ira Jon Yates (“Plaintiff') owns approximately 12 acres of real property in Tucson, Arizona, located at 7801 North La Cholla Boulevard, Pima County, Arizona (the “Property”). (Doc. 1-1, ¶ 5.) In 2009, the Property was accessible via two easements: an addressable access easement from La Cholla (the “La Cholla Easement”) and a restricted driveway access easement from Como Drive (the “Como Easement”). Id. ¶ 6. The Property is zoned for Suburban Ranch use. Id. ¶ 9.

         In 2006, voters in Pima County passed a measure which included a plan to widen and reconfigure the intersection at La Cholla and Magee Road (the “Intersection Reconfiguration”). Id. ¶ 11. Because the Intersection Reconfiguration would eliminate access to the Property via the La Cholla Easement, Plaintiff objected and began discussing possible alternatives that would alleviate the burden of losing the La Cholla easement. Id. ¶ 14. In June and July 2009, Defendant advised Plaintiff there was adequate access to the property via the Como Easement. Id. ¶ 15.

         Construction on the Intersection Reconfiguration began in April 2011. Id. ¶ 16. At a meeting in April 2011, Defendant again suggested there was adequate access to the property via the Como Easement. Id. ¶ 17. Defendant also advised Plaintiff that it would secure alternative access to the property. Id. ¶ 18. The Intersection Reconfiguration, which neared completion in July 2011, eliminated access to the La Cholla Easement. Id. ¶ 19. In August 2011, a curb cut was inserted giving the appearance of access via the La Cholla Easement. Id. ¶ 20.

         In October and November 2011, the parties signed an Agreement to Toll and Extend Filing a Notice of Claim and the Statute of Limitations (the “Tolling Agreement”), which extended all notice-of-claim and statute-of-limitation deadlines by 180 days. Id. ¶ 22. Defendant acknowledged in the Tolling Agreement that the intersection might be altered, that alternative access rights might be perfected, or that Defendant might initiate a direct condemnation action to acquire the La Cholla Easement. Id. ¶ 23. Instead of doing any of the foregoing, Defendant maintained that the Como Easement provided access to the Property that was adequate to develop the Property. Id. ¶ 24.

         In December 2016, Plaintiff filed an application with Pima County Development Services to rezone the Property from Suburban Ranch to CR-5 (Multiple Residence Zone). Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff designated the Como Easement and La Cholla Easement as the access points. Id. On January 19, 2017, Pima County Development Services advised Plaintiff that the “proposed access onto La Cholla does not meet street standards for corner clearance” and that the Arizona Department of Transportation did not support the proposed use of the La Cholla Easement. Id. ¶ 26.

         Approximately four months earlier, in August 2016, Plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action in Arizona Superior Court, Pima County to determine the scope of the Como Easement for purposes of his then-forthcoming rezoning application. Id. ¶ 27. On April 12, 2017, the Arizona Superior Court entered its order declaring that the Como Easement was designed to allow access only to the existing structures on the Property and that the Como Easement does not create the rights necessary to develop the Property as intended by Plaintiff. (Id.)

         Plaintiff's rezoning application expired on April 19, 2018 due to inactivity. Id. ¶ 28. Plaintiff contends that the Intersection Reconfiguration “interferes and is inconsistent with [his] use of the [La Cholla] Easement and the […] Property[.]” Id. at ¶ 29. Plaintiff submitted a notice of claim on October 6, 2017 to which Defendant did not respond. Id. ¶ 30.

         Plaintiff alleges an inverse condemnation claim under Arizona law (Count I) and a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, predicated on an alleged taking without just compensation in violation of the Just Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution (Count II). (Id. at 6-7.) Defendant removed this action on August 15, 2018. (Doc. 1.) Thereafter, Defendant timely moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint arguing that Plaintiff failed to file his Complaint within the relevant limitations period. (Doc. 5.)

         Standard of Review

         A complaint must include a “short and plain statement . . . showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). While Rule 8 does not require in-depth factual allegations, it does require more than “labels[, ] conclusions, [or] a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). There must be sufficient “factual content [to] allow[] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

         Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., may be “based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). When reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court takes “all factual allegations set forth in the complaint . . . as true and construed in the light most favorable to plaintiffs.” Lee v. City of L.A., 250 F.3d 668, 679 (9th Cir. 2001). However, only well-pleaded facts are given a presumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Conclusory allegations-that is, allegations that ‚Äúsimply recite the elements of a cause of ...


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