Heath v. City of Desert Hot Springs, 062915 FED9, 13-55946
|Party Name:||DOMINIC HEATH, guardian ad litem, personal representative for Andrea Heath and KENDALL JOHNSON, guardian ad litem, personal representative for Andrea Heath, Plaintiffs - Appellants, v. CITY OF DESERT HOT SPRINGS; et al., Defendants-Appellees.|
|Judge Panel:||Before: THOMAS, Chief Judge, CALLAHAN, Circuit Judge and KORMAN, Senior District Judge.|
|Case Date:||June 29, 2015|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit|
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
Argued and Submitted June 1, 2015 Pasadena, California
Appeal from the United States District Court No. 2:12-cv-02318-PSG-OP for the Central District of California Philip S. Gutierrez, District Judge, Presiding
Dominic Heath and Kendall Johnson, guardians ad litem for minor J.M.J., appeal the district court's dismissal of an action brought by J.M.J's predecessor in interest, Andrea Heath. Heath, a police officer with the City of Desert Hot Springs, brought a § 1983 claim and state law claims alleging that Defendants retaliated against her for exercising her First Amendment free speech and petition rights. We reverse and remand. Because the parties are familiar with the history of this case, we need not recount it here.
We review a district court's dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) de novo. Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068, 1072 (9th Cir. 2005). In undertaking this review, we "accept all factual allegations of the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Pub. Lands for the People, Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 697 F.3d 1192, 1196 (9th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted). "Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is inappropriate unless [the plaintiff's] complaint fails to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Dahlia v. Rodriguez, 735 F.3d 1060, 1066 (9th Cir. 2013) (en banc) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). We review a district court's decision to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims after all federal claims were dismissed for abuse of discretion. Costanich v. Dep't of Soc. & Health Servs., 627 F.3d 1101, 1107 (9th Cir. 2010).
The district court erred in dismissing Heath's § 1983 claims because she could not establish a constitutional violation because Heath's reporting of illegal police acts did not constitute constitutionally protected speech.
It is well settled that the government is not permitted to stifle "the First Amendment rights [employees] would otherwise enjoy as citizens to comment on matters of public interest . . . ." Pickering v. Bd. of Ed. of Twp. High Sch....
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