Garber v. Mohammadi

Decision Date06 August 2013
Docket NumberCase No. CV 10-7144-DDP (RNBx)
CourtU.S. District Court — Central District of California
PartiesROBERT GARBER, Plaintiff, v. MOHAMMADI, #36506, et al., Defendants.



Presently before the court is Defendants City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Police Department, Hamed Mohammadi, and Amy Standage's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. Having considered the parties' submissions, the court adopts the following order.


On September 29, 2010, plaintiff filed a pro se civil rights action herein pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, after being granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Named in the Complaint as defendants were the City of Los Angeles (the "City"); the Los Angeles Police Department (the "LAPD"); LAPD Officer Mohammadi ("Mohammadi"), LAPD Sergeant Standage ("Standage"); and "Jane Doe," who was alleged to be "a private person." (Complaint at 2-3.) Plaintiff purported to be seeking compensatory and punitivedamages.

Since plaintiff was proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court screened the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). After careful review and consideration of the allegations of the Complaint under the relevant standards, the Court found that, although its allegations arguably were sufficient to state a claim against defendant Mohammadi pursuant to the Fourth Amendment for the use of excessive force, its allegations were insufficient to state any other federal civil rights claim on which relief might be granted against Mohammadi, or any federal civil rights claim on which relief might be granted against any of the other named defendants. Accordingly, on October 28, 2010, the Court issued a 32-page Order Dismissing Complaint with Leave to Amend ("Order Dismissing Complaint"). Plaintiff was ordered, if he still wished to pursue this action, to file a First Amended Complaint within thirty (30) days of the Court's Order Dismissing Complaint, remedying the deficiencies discussed therein.

On November 3, 2010, prior to the lapse of the 30-day period for plaintiff to file a First Amended Complaint, defendants the City, the LAPD, Mohammadi, and Standage filed an Answer to the Complaint. In response, the Court issued a Minute Order on November 5, 2010, vacating its Order Dismissing Complaint, subject to the following caveat. Since the Court had found that plaintiff's allegations were insufficient to state any federal civil rights claim against defendant "Jane Doe," and she had not filed an answer to the Complaint, plaintiff's claims against "Jane Doe" remained dismissed with leave to amend. To date, plaintiff has not amended his allegations against "Jane Doe."

On November 15, 2010, plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike defendants' Answer ("MSA") and a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings ("MJP"), to which defendants filed opposition on December 29, 2010. In a Report and Recommendation ("First R&R") issued on January 19, 2011, the Court recommended that both of plaintiff's motions be denied. The District Court adopted the recommendation and denied plaintiff's MSA and MJP on May 24, 2011.

Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on May 27, 2011, which the court denied on November 8, 2011.

The court now considers Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. After careful review and consideration of the allegations of the Complaint under the relevant standards, the Court finds for the reasons discussed hereafter that, although its allegations arguably are sufficient to state a claim against defendant Mohammadi pursuant to the Fourth Amendment for the use of excessive force, its allegations are insufficient to state any other federal civil rights claim on which relief may be granted against Mohammadi, or any federal civil rights claim on which relief may be granted against any of other named defendants.

A. Factual allegations

On August 2, 2010, plaintiff was cited at Woodley Park for parking his "trailer coach and van" in a "No Parking Zone." (Complaint at 4.) On August 7, 2010, plaintiff again parked his trailer and van next to a fence at Woodley Park. (Id.)

Plaintiff noticed that a woman with several children was watching him around 6:00 p.m. that evening. (Id. at 5.) Approximately 30 minutes later, several LAPD officers arrived and"ordered plaintiff to put his dog inside the trailer." (Id.) Plaintiff did so and asked the officers "what the problem was." Officer Mohammadi "twisted plaintiff's left hand very violently to plaintiff's back, then the other arm[,] and handcuffed him very painfully." (Id. at 6.) Officer Mohammadi then asked for plaintiff's name and returned to his police car, presumably to check his computer for plaintiff's records. (Id.) Plaintiff was informed that he "had been identified as the man who [had] kidnapped a child at the park some half hour before." (Id.) Plaintiff told the officers that he had been sitting under the shade of a tree all day and that people involved in filming a movie nearby, as well as others at a dog-training event, had seen him sitting "all the day long at the same location." (Id. at 7.)

Two friends of plaintiff happened to pass by, and "plaintiff shouted at them to approach and watch how the officers were abusing him. Plaintiff also shouted at the dog-trainers and the movie people to come and help him." (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff's friends then told him that "the officers already knew that he was innocent because they had received information that the child ... had returned to his family after getting lost." (Id.)

Plaintiff's handcuffs were "so excruciatingly tight they cut into plaintiff's wrists ... causing bleeding." (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff "was protesting all that brutal treatment," and Officer Mohammadi "wrestled him to the ground, downed his right knee on plaintiff's jugular and the other knee on plaintiff's rib-cage." (Id.) Another officer "immobilized plaintiff's legs by kneeling on them and placing a very tight strap around and securing his knees." (Id.)

Sergeant Standage then arrived, and plaintiff asked "her to set him free." Sergeant Standage replied, "Say please." (Id. at 7-8.) Plaintiff refused, and Sergeant Standage told him that "he was going to be committed to a mental hospital hold for three days." (Id. at 8.) Three officers "hoisted plaintiff up ... and pushed him sideways in their cruiser's cramped back seat." Officer Mohammadi tightened the leg strap and kicked plaintiff's feet into the cruiser. (Id.)

Plaintiff's passing friends took possession of his vehicles and his dog. (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff was transported to the Olive View Hospital Mental Health Unit. Once there, Officer Mohammadi grabbed plaintiff's shirt and tore it and some chest hair while extracting plaintiff from the police car. (Id.) Plaintiff was "dragged" by his left arm into the "mental ward" by Officer Mohammadi. His legs were "paralyzed by lack of blood flow" after being strapped for "three hours." (Id.)

Dr. Gill interviewed plaintiff and asked questions about the "previous incident at the park." (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff asked to speak to a supervisor. He spoke to Dr. Luzano at 11:00 p.m., and plaintiff asked that the doctor contact a friend. Dr. Luzano did so and then informed plaintiff that he was going to be released, which he was at around midnight. (Id. at 9.)

Plaintiff attempted to obtain a copy of the police report concerning the incident, but he was informed at the West Valley LAPD station that no police report existed. He was provided with a list of only three of the six officers that plaintiff recalled being present. (Id. at 9-10.)

On August 20, 2010, "plaintiff became to know [sic] theidentity" of Officer Mohammadi. Plaintiff alleges that Officer Mohammadi is a Muslim and that it was well-known that plaintiff is an Israeli "national." Accordingly, plaintiff alleges, Officer Mohammadi's "sardonic smile" after checking plaintiff's records was a "vengeful smile of a cowardly[] assassin." (Id. at 11.)

According to the copy of the "Application for 72-Hour Detention for Evaluation and Treatment" pursuant to Cal. Wel. & Inst. Code § 5150 that plaintiff attached to his Complaint, Officer Mohammadi believed that plaintiff was "a danger to others" based on his "erratic behavior," and the fact that "he sleeps in a park w/ children around." Plaintiff was called to the officer's attention when police received a radio call "for a kidnapping susp.[;] subt. matched the exact description of this kidnapping susp." (Complaint, Exh. 7 at 1.) Further, Officer Mohammadi noted the following: "Susp. appears to be delusional and has challenged PP several times. Susp. challenged offr to physical altercation. Susp. has history of depression." (Id.)

B. Plaintiff's list of incidents and actions

Plaintiff lists the following "unlawful arrests, jailings, prosecutions, continuous harassments, retaliations, persecutions, tickets, etc." as being relevant to his allegations (see Complaint at 4; Exh. 1 "Robert Garber's 'Criminal' History"):

May 27, 1989: LAPD detention: Booking No. 001427984;
February 23, 1996: Arrest, case dismissed: Van Nuys Superior Court Case No. 6PN02097;
October 7, 2003: Vehicle parking citation, dismissed: Malibu Court Case No. MA0191701;
May 17, 2005: Assault against plaintiff by privateindividual, plaintiff was not arrested, charges not filed against attacker: Case RD#50917115;
August 30, 2005: Acquitted after trial: Superior Court Case No. 5PN05498 (see Federal Case No. CV 06-6232-DDP (RNB));
November 6, 2006: Acquitted by jury of "the arresting charges" of brandishing a weapon, but convicted on two other counts: Superior Court Case No. 6PY07114 (see Federal Court Case No. CV 07-07254-DDP (RNB));
April 19, 2007: Dismissed, parking citation 1041566105 and citation 3130444203;
June 3, 2007: Arrested for living in trailer on street, dismissed: LAPD citation 952203, Superior Court Case No. 7PY06254 (see Federal Court Case No. CV 08-03585-DDP (RNB));
June 12, 2007: Cited

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