United States District Court, D. Arizona
Alfred E. Caraffa, Plaintiff,
Tempe (AZ) Police Department, et al., Defendants.
Michael T. Liburdi United States District Judge
October 24, 2019, Plaintiff Alfred E. Caraffa filed a pro se
civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Doc. 1) and an Application to Proceed In District Court
Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Doc. 2). The Court will
grant the Application to Proceed and will dismiss the
Complaint with leave to amend.
Application to Proceed and Filing Fee
Court, in its discretion, will grant the Application to
Proceed. Plaintiff will be allowed to proceed without paying
the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
Statutory Screening of In Forma Pauperis Complaints
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), in a case in which a
plaintiff has been granted in forma pauperis status, the
Court shall dismiss the case “if the court determines
that . . . (B) the action . . . (i) is frivolous or
malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune from such relief.”
pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) (emphasis added). While
Rule 8 does not demand detailed factual allegations,
“it demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is
plausible “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. “Determining whether a complaint states a
plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id. at 679.
Thus, although a plaintiff's specific factual allegations
may be consistent with a constitutional claim, a court must
assess whether there are other “more likely
explanations” for a defendant's conduct.
Id. at 681.
the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has
instructed, courts must “continue to construe pro
se filings liberally.” Hebbe v. Pliler,
627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). A “complaint [filed
by a pro se individual] ‘must be held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.'” Id. (quoting Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam)).
Court determines that a pleading could be cured by the
allegation of other facts, a pro se litigant is entitled to
an opportunity to amend a complaint before dismissal of the
action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-29
(9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Plaintiff's Complaint will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim, but because it may
possibly be amended to state a claim, the Court will dismiss
it with leave to amend.
Complaint, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from Defendants
Tempe Police Department and Tempe Police Officer Guajardo.
Plaintiff alleges a violation of “Due Process, False
Arrest, False I[m]prisonment, Unlawful Confinement, Cruel and
Unusual Punishment.” He claims that while he was
looking in the window of a restaurant “and playing with
an I.D. in the refle[c]tion, ” Defendant Guajardo came
up behind Plaintiff, grabbed his wrist, restrained his arm,
and, without stating that he was a police officer, told
Plaintiff he was being detained for disorderly conduct.
Plaintiff alleges he was arrested for “disorderly
conduct-fighting, ” in violation of Arizona Revised
Statutes section 13-2904(A)(1), and was jailed for
two-and-a-half days. He claims the charge of
“disorderly conduct-fighting” is a “total
falsehood of the truth and a miscarriage of justice.”
Failure to State a Claim
Defendant Tempe Police Department
Tempe Police Department is a subpart of the City of Tempe,
not a separate entity for purposes of suit. Gotbaum v.
City of Phoenix, 617 F.Supp.2d 878, 886 (D. Ariz. 2008);
see Braillard, 232 P.3d at 1269 (county
sheriff's office is a nonjural entity); see also
Vincente v. City of Prescott, 2012 WL 1438695 (D. Ariz.
2012) (city fire department is a nonjural entity); Wilson
v. Yavapai Cnty., 2012 WL 1067959 (D. Ariz. 2012)
(county sheriff's office and county attorney's office
are nonjural entities). Because Defendant Tempe Police
Department is not a separate entity, it is not capable of
being separately sued. Thus, the Court will dismiss Defendant
Tempe Police Department.
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), conclusory and
vague allegations will not support a cause of action.
Ivey v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Alaska, 673
F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). Further, a liberal
interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply
essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled.
state a valid claim under § 1983, plaintiffs must allege
that they suffered a specific injury as a result of specific
conduct of a defendant and show an affirmative link between
the injury and the conduct of that defendant. See Rizzo
v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976). “[A]
plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant,
through the official's own individual actions, has
violated the Constitution.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
676. “A plaintiff must allege facts, not simply
conclusions, that show that an individual was personally
involved in the deprivation of his civil rights.”
Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir.
arrest, a species of false imprisonment, is the detention of
a person without his consent and without lawful
authority.” Donahoe v. Arpaio, 869 F.Supp.2d
1020, 1064 (D. Ariz. 2012) (quoting Reams v. City of
Tucson, 701 P.2d 598, 601 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1985)),
aff'd sub nom. Stapley v. Pestalozzi, 733 F.3d
804 (9th Cir. 2013). Under Arizona law, false
imprisonment and false arrest consist of non-consensual
detention of a person “without lawful authority.”
Slade v. City of Phoenix, 541 P.2d 550, 552 (Ariz.
1975). “Reflective of the fact that false imprisonment
consists of detention without legal process, a false
imprisonment ends once the victim becomes held pursuant
to such process- when, for example, he is bound over by
a magistrate or arraigned on charges.” Wallace v.
Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 389 (2007) (emphasis in original).
claim for false arrest turns only on whether probable cause
existed to arrest a defendant, and . . . it is not relevant
whether probable cause existed with respect to each
individual charge, or, indeed, any charge actually invoked by
the arresting officer at the time of arrest.”
Jaegly v. Couch, 439 F.3d 149, 154 (2d Cir. 2006);
see also Price v. Roark, 256 F.3d 364, 369 (5th Cir.
2001) (“Claims for false arrest focus on the validity
of the arrest, not on the validity of each individual charge
made during the course of the arrest.”). “Thus .
. . ‘[i]f there was probable cause for any of the
charges made . . . then the arrest was supported by
probable cause, and the claim for false arrest
fails.'” Price, 256 F.3d at 369 (quoting
Wells v. Bonner, 45 F.3d 90, 95 (5th Cir. 1995));
see also Barry v. Fowler, 902 F.2d 770, 773 n.5 (9th
Cir. 1990) (no unconstitutional seizure where police had
probable cause to arrest plaintiff for one offense, even if
police lacked probable cause to arrest for a second offense).
Although Plaintiff alleges that disorderly
conduct-fighting is a “total falsehood,
” he does not allege that Defendant Guajardo lacked
probable cause to arrest Plaintiff for engaging in conduct
constituting disorderly conduct under Arizona Revised
Statutes section 13-2904, or any other offense. Thus,
Plaintiff has failed to state a false arrest, false
imprisonment, or unlawful confinement claim. The Court will
dismiss without prejudice these claims.
has failed to explain how Defendant Guajardo denied him due
process or subjected him to cruel and unusual
punishment. Thus, the Court will dismiss without prejudice
Leave to Amend
foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's Complaint will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. Within 30 days, Plaintiff may submit a first
amended complaint to cure the deficiencies outlined above.
The Clerk of Court will mail ...