CB v. SONORA SCHOOL DIST., No. CV-F-09-285 OWW/DLB.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
Writing for the CourtOLIVER W. WANGER
Citation691 F. Supp.2d 1170
PartiesC.B., a minor, Plaintiff, v. SONORA SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. CV-F-09-285 OWW/DLB.
Decision Date08 March 2010

691 F. Supp.2d 1170

C.B., a minor, Plaintiff,
v.
SONORA SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants.

No. CV-F-09-285 OWW/DLB.

United States District Court, E.D. California.

March 8, 2010.


691 F. Supp.2d 1172

John F. Martin, Law Offices of John F. Martin A Professional Corporation, Christine Ann Hopkins, Law Offices of John F. Martin, Walnut Creek, CA, for Plaintiff.

Jason M. Sherman, Alesa M. Schachter, Johnson Schachter & Lewis Sacramento, CA, Cornelius John Callahan, Borton Petrini, LLP, Modesto, CA, for Defendants.

691 F. Supp.2d 1173

MEMORANDUM DECISION DENYING DEFENDANTS' CITY OF SONORA, CHIEF OF POLICE MACE McINTOSH AND OFFICER HAL PROCK'S MOTION TO DISMISS FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT AND FOR MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT (Doc. 58)

OLIVER W. WANGER, District Judge.

Before the Court is the motion of Defendants City of Sonora, Chief of Police Mace McIntosh and Officer Hal Prock's motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint ("FAC") and for a more definite statement.1

Plaintiff filed the FAC pursuant to the Memorandum Decision filed on September 22, 2009, 691 F.Supp.2d 1123 (E.D.Cal. 2009) ("September 22 Memorandum Decision"). As "Facts Common to All Causes of Action," the FAC alleges:

9) In the 2007-2208 school year, minor C.B. was enrolled as a 6th grade student at Sonora Elementary School in the Sonora School District.
10) C.B. suffers from disabilities, namely a mood disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ... At all times relevant to the complaint, SONORA SCHOOL DISTRICT knew of C.B.'s disabilities and had in fact placed C.B. on an Individualized Education Plan and section 504 plan.
11) C.B.'s IEP and section 504 plans at Sonora Elementary School included specific behavioral interventions to be followed in the event that C.B. `shut down' or became unresponsive to school staff due to his mood disorder. A `shut down' meant that C.B. would simply freeze in place and not do anything. He would remain calm during `shut downs' and typically would not speak. C.B. would never make any movements that were aggressive or physically threatening in any way during a `shut down.' He would typically cross his arms and keep his head down or just stand still.
...
13) On or about September 29, 2008, C.B. allegedly experienced an episodes sic in which he `shut down' and became unresponsive to school staff. C.B. allegedly sat down on a bench in the fenced in playground and folded his arms across his chest and lowered his head so as to not make eye contact with anyone. The staff at Sonora Elementary School failed to follow C.B.'s IEP and section 504 plan for behavioral intervention and failed to contact C.B.'s parents or designated relatives or friends to assist with C.B.
14) Due to C.B.'s disabilities and despite the plans put in place to accommodate these disabilities, KAREN SINCLAIR, a specialist employed by Sonora Elementary School, threatened C.B. that if he did not do as she instructed, she would call the police. SINCLAIR did in fact instruct a school receptionist to call the City of Sonora Police Department for intervention with an out of control juvenile.
15) On or about September 29, 2008, Chief of Police MACE MCINTOSH, Officer HAL PROCK, and Officer Bowly responded to Sonora Elementary School to respond to the report of the `out of control' juvenile who was allegedly causing a disturbance at the school.
16) Upon locating C.B. on the school grounds, the police officers observed C.B. to be an eleven year old student, who was not acting in any disruptive nor unruly manner but rather sitting quietly
691 F. Supp.2d 1174
on a playground bench with his head down. One or more of the officers made contact with C.B. and found him to be calm and cooperative. C.B. did not act agitated in any way. None of the officers observed any conduct on the part of C.B. which gave them probable cause to take C.B. into custody nor which gave them any reason to believe that C.B. posed a threat to the safety of anyone. When Officer Hal Prock asked C.B. to stand up from the bench, C.B. complied with the Officer's instruction.
17) Despite the fact that C.B. posed no threat to anyone and despite the fact there was no probable cause to take C.B. into custody, Chief of Police MACE MCINTOSH directed Officer HAL PROCK to handcuff C.B. At the time the officers decided to handcuff the eleven year old, he was located in a fenced in playground with only one means of exit. Also, the eleven year old Plaintiff was surrounded by the officers and at least two other adults. A Sonora School District staff member who was present asked the officers if it was really necessary to handcuff an eleven year old.
18) The Chief of Police told the Sonora School District staff member that it was protocol to handcuff the eleven year old C.B. even though the Sonora Police Department's Handcuff Policy 354 clearly states `Juveniles under 14 years of age generally will not be handcuffed unless their acts have amounted to a dangerous felony or whey they are of a state of mind which suggests a reasonable probability of their desire to escape, injure themselves, the officer or to destroy property.' In addition, Sonora Police Department Handcuff Policy 354 clearly states that handcuffing is a discretionary procedure and that `the arresting officer should consider the circumstances leading to the arrest, the attitude of the arrested person, and the age, sex, and health of the person before handcuffing.'
19) Despite the fact that the officers observed that Plaintiff was calm and cooperative and, despite the fact that Plaintiff was in an enclosed area and surrounded by at least four adults, the officers forcibly handcuffed Plaintiff while he was on the playground. Officer Prock tightly handcuffed Plaintiff thereby causing his wrists to be hurt and injured. Officer Prock then left Plaintiff C.B. standing with his hands handcuffed tightly behind his back on the playground while he went to pull a police car around closer to the side of the school building. Officer Prock left the eleven year old Plaintiff in handcuffs (in full view of the public) even though at least three adults including the Chief of Police remained with C.B. in the playground area.
20) Officer Hal Prock then placed the Plaintiff child, who was still tightly handcuffed, in the backseat of a City of Sonora police car. The police car was equipped with all usual safety equipment, including a grate between the front and back seats and locking back doors which could not be opened by the back seat passenger (in this case an eleven year old child).
21) Officer Hal Prock kept Plaintiff in handcuffs in the back seat of the police vehicle for a half an hour drive to Jamestown, California, where he left the child in the custody of his uncle, Mark sic Banks. During the trip to Jamestown, Officer Hal Prock told Plaintiff C.B. he had been a police officer for eleven years and had never had to handcuff an eleven year old for doing nothing.
...
23) Sonora Elementary School gave the City of Sonora police officers a packet of contact information for Plaintiff C.B.'s parents and Uncle, Matt sic Banks.
691 F. Supp.2d 1175
At no time did the referenced City of Sonora employees have the permission of C.B. nor his parents to transport C.B. or to cause C.B. to be transported by anyone other that C.B.'s parents and emergency contacts. In fact, when Officer Prock called C.B.'s Uncle, Matt sic Banks, the uncle informed Officer Prock that the School had an established protocol for dealing with any situations involving C.B. and that the protocol was not being followed.

The FAC alleges causes of action for false imprisonment (Second Cause of Action), battery (Third Cause of Action), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Fourth Cause of Action), excessive force in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Eighth Cause of Action), and Monell liability (Ninth Cause of Action).

Defendants move to dismiss these causes of action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Alternatively, Defendants move for a more definite statement.

A. MOTION TO DISMISS.

1. Governing Standards.

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir.2001). Dismissal is warranted under Rule 12(b)(6) where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or where the complaint presents a cognizable legal theory yet fails to plead essential facts under that theory. Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir.1984). In reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must assume the truth of all factual allegations and must construe all inferences from them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Thompson v. Davis, 295 F.3d 890, 895 (9th Cir.2002). However, legal conclusions need not be taken as true merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations. Ileto v. Glock, Inc., 349 F.3d 1191, 1200 (9th Cir.2003). "A district court should grant a motion to dismiss if plaintiffs have not pled `enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Williams ex rel. Tabiu v. Gerber Products Co., 523 F.3d 934, 938 (9th Cir. 2008), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). "`Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" Id. "While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the `grounds' of his `entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atlantic, id. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955. 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. Id. at 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955. The plausibility standard...

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49 practice notes
  • Winters v. Jordan, No. 2:09-cv-00522 JAM KJN PS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • November 9, 2011
    ...notice, a defendant can move for a more definite statement under Rule 12(e) before responding."); C.B. v. Sonora Sch. Dist., 691 F. Supp. 2d 1170, 1191 (E.D. Cal. 2010) ("A Rule 12(e) motion is proper only if the complaint is soPage 27indefinite that the defendant cannot ascertain the natur......
  • Russell v. Corporal Lee Virg–in, No. S–13537.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • July 22, 2011
    ...States v. Lanier, 520 U.S. 259, 271, 117 S.Ct. 1219, 137 L.Ed.2d 432 (1997)). FN61. Id. at 1307; see also C.B. v. Sonora Sch. Dist., 691 F.Supp.2d 1170, 1184 (E.D.Cal.2010) (refusing to grant qualified immunity to officer who handcuffed a disabled student who had been disruptive but posed n......
  • Conerly v. Tarpin, No. 2:19-cv-2535 JAM DB PS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • June 4, 2021
    ...notice, a defendant can move for a more definite statement under Rule 12(e) before responding."); C.B. v. Sonora Sch. Dist., 691 F. Supp. 2d 1170, 1190-91 (E.D. Cal. 2010) ("A Rule 12(e) motion is proper only if the complaint is so indefinite that the defendant cannot ascertain the nature o......
  • Conerly v. Tarpin, No. 2:19-cv-2535 JAM DB PS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • July 27, 2020
    ...notice, a defendant can move for a more definite statement under Rule 12(e) before responding."); C.B. v. Sonora Sch. Dist., 691 F. Supp. 2d 1170, 1190-91 (E.D. Cal. 2010) ("A Rule 12(e) motion is proper only if the complaint is so indefinite that the defendant cannot ascertain the nature o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
49 cases
  • Winters v. Jordan, No. 2:09-cv-00522 JAM KJN PS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • November 9, 2011
    ...notice, a defendant can move for a more definite statement under Rule 12(e) before responding."); C.B. v. Sonora Sch. Dist., 691 F. Supp. 2d 1170, 1191 (E.D. Cal. 2010) ("A Rule 12(e) motion is proper only if the complaint is soPage 27indefinite that the defendant cannot ascertain the natur......
  • Russell v. Corporal Lee Virg–in, No. S–13537.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alaska (US)
    • July 22, 2011
    ...States v. Lanier, 520 U.S. 259, 271, 117 S.Ct. 1219, 137 L.Ed.2d 432 (1997)). FN61. Id. at 1307; see also C.B. v. Sonora Sch. Dist., 691 F.Supp.2d 1170, 1184 (E.D.Cal.2010) (refusing to grant qualified immunity to officer who handcuffed a disabled student who had been disruptive but posed n......
  • Conerly v. Tarpin, No. 2:19-cv-2535 JAM DB PS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • June 4, 2021
    ...notice, a defendant can move for a more definite statement under Rule 12(e) before responding."); C.B. v. Sonora Sch. Dist., 691 F. Supp. 2d 1170, 1190-91 (E.D. Cal. 2010) ("A Rule 12(e) motion is proper only if the complaint is so indefinite that the defendant cannot ascertain the nature o......
  • Conerly v. Tarpin, No. 2:19-cv-2535 JAM DB PS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • July 27, 2020
    ...notice, a defendant can move for a more definite statement under Rule 12(e) before responding."); C.B. v. Sonora Sch. Dist., 691 F. Supp. 2d 1170, 1190-91 (E.D. Cal. 2010) ("A Rule 12(e) motion is proper only if the complaint is so indefinite that the defendant cannot ascertain the nature o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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