United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honoraple Rosemary Maftraez United States District Judge
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (Doc.
18.) Plaintiff Emily Cota filed a combined Response and
Motion to Amend Complaint, to which Defendants have
responded. (Docs. 21, 22.) The motions are suitable for
determination without oral argument.
Complaint contains the following allegations: on August 30,
2016, Plaintiff Emily Cota took the day off work to get
together with family and mourn the death of her uncle, who
had passed on August 29. (Doc. 1, ¶¶ 12-13.)
Plaintiff spent the night at her grandmother's house in
West Mesa and was there at approximately 10:50 p.m.
same day and time, at the intersection of Power Road and
Apache Trail, Deputy A. Bratt observed a Ford Mustang with a
Texas license plate registered to a Ford truck. (Id.
¶ 14.) There were four people in the vehicle: a female
driver, a male front-seat passenger, and two female backseat
passengers. (Id. ¶ 15.) Deputy Bratt followed
the Mustang to a nearby Circle K and asked for the license
and registration from the female driver. (Id.)
Deputy Fortner ran a warrant check on the driver and male
passenger, while Deputy Bratt spoke to the backseat
Bratt had both backseat passengers exit the Mustang and asked
if either had marijuana on them. (Id. ¶ 16.)
Both initially said no. (Id.) Subsequently, one of
the backseat passengers, who later claimed to be Emily Cota,
admitted to having a marijuana pipe in her purse.
(Id.) The female claiming to be Emily Cota showed
Deputy Bratt the marijuana pipe, and Deputy Bratt detained
her in the back of his patrol car. (Id. ¶ 17.)
Neither backseat passenger had identification, so Deputy
Fortner and Deputy Bratt ran the names provided by the
females and compared their physical appearances to images
recorded with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division
(“MVD”). (Id.) Based on the comparison,
the deputies determined that both females had provided false
information. (Id. ¶ 18.)
Bratt asked the female claiming to be Emily Cota to provide a
home address. (Id. ¶ 20.) The address provided
did not match the information in the MVD profile.
(Id.) Deputy Bratt asked for an address a second
time. (Id. ¶ 21.) The female claiming to be
Emily Cota then stated she lived with the other occupants of
the vehicle at 580 W. Galveston Road, Chandler, Arizona.
(Id.) The other occupants of the vehicle provided
their addresses, none of which were the Galveston Road
address. (Id. ¶ 22.)
the four individuals were booked or fingerprinted to verify
their identities. (Id. ¶ 23.) Deputy Bratt and
Deputy Fortner submitted charges against Plaintiff based upon
the information provided by the female claiming to be Emily
Cota. (Id. ¶ 24.) The case was submitted to the
Maricopa County Attorney's Office and, on February 8,
2017, a summons was issued. (Id. ¶ 26.) On
February 21, 2017, the summons was returned as
non-deliverable. (Id. ¶ 27.) On March 10, 2017,
an arrest warrant for Plaintiff was issued. (Id.
in November 2017, Plaintiff learned there was an outstanding
warrant for her arrest. (Id. ¶ 29.) On December
21, 2017, Plaintiff's counsel filed a notice of
appearance and moved to quash the warrant. (Id.
¶ 30.) On January 8, 2018, Plaintiff appeared for her
initial appearance and was released on her own recognizance.
(Id. ¶ 31.) On February 7, 2018, following the
presentation of evidence, a Maricopa County court dismissed
the case against Plaintiff without prejudice. (Id.
names as Defendants Deputy Bratt, Deputy Fortner, Maricopa
County Sheriff Paul Penzone, and the Maricopa County
Sheriff's Office. She alleges seven claims, each claim
against all Defendants. She alleges three claims under 42
U.S.C. § 1983: one for abuse of process, malicious
prosecution, and failure to train (Count I), one for
violation of substantive due process (Count II), and one for
violation of equal protection (Count III). She also alleges
state-law claims for abuse of process and malicious
prosecution (Count IV), intentional infliction of emotional
distress (Count V), gross negligence and negligent
supervision (Count VI), and false arrest and imprisonment
Standard of Review
move for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure for “failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) “can 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. 1988), as amended. To survive a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, “a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In other words, the complaint's
“non-conclusory factual content, and reasonable
inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of
a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.” Moss v.
U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009)
(internal quotation marks omitted). “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.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “Threadbare recitals
of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id.
evaluating a motion to dismiss must view the allegations of a
complaint “in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Abramson v. Brownstein, 897 F.2d
389, 391 (9th Cir. 1990). All well-pleaded factual
allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true,
although the same does not apply to legal conclusions couched
as factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79.
Maricopa County ...