Hillblom v. County of Fresno, No. CV F 07-1467 LJO SMS.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
Writing for the CourtLawrence J. O'Neill
Citation539 F.Supp.2d 1192
Docket NumberNo. CV F 07-1467 LJO SMS.
Decision Date04 February 2008
PartiesTerry HILLBLOM, et al., Plaintiffs, v. COUNTY OF FRESNO, et al., Defendants.
539 F.Supp.2d 1192
Terry HILLBLOM, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
COUNTY OF FRESNO, et al., Defendants.
No. CV F 07-1467 LJO SMS.
United States District Court, E.D. California.
February 4, 2008.

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Patience Milrod, Law Office of Patience Milrod, Fresno, CA, for Plaintiffs.

James Darvin Weakley, Weakley, Ratliff, Arendt & McGuire, L LP, Fresno, CA, for Defendants.

ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' F.R.Civ.P. 12 MOTIONS TO DISMISS AND FOR MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT

LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, District Judge.


INTRODUCTION

Defendants County of Fresno ("County"), former County Sheriff Richard Pierce ("Sheriff Pierce") and three County Sheriffs Department officers1 seek F.R.Civ.P.

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12(b)(6) dismissal of plaintiffs'2 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("section 1983") and related claims on grounds that the claims fail to allege necessary elements. Defendants pursue an alternative F.R.Civ.P. 12(e) motion for a more definite statement as to plaintiffs' section 1983 illegal arrest and tort in essence claims. Plaintiffs contend that, for the most part, their complaint satisfies requirements to plead necessary elements of their claims. This Court considered the defendants' alternative motions to dismiss and for a more definite statement on the record and VACATES the February 7, 2008 hearing, pursuant to Local Rule 78-230(h). For the reasons discussed below, this Court GRANTS defendants F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and F.R.Civ.P. 12(c) relief in part and ORDERS plaintiffs, no later than February 25, 2008, to file a first amended complaint consistent with and in compliance with this order.

BACKGROUNDS3
Mr. Hillblom's Arrest

Mr. and Ms. Hillblom are married and are Michael L.'s maternal grandparents. Mr. Hillblom is an inactive attorney. Sgts. Broughton and Carreiro and Deputy Carey are peace officers with the County Sheriffs Department ("Department").

On April 25, 2006 at about 8 p.m., Kimberly L., Michael L.'s mother and daughter of Mr. and Ms. Hillblom, dialed 911 to report that Michael L., then age 14, was at Mr. and Ms. Hillblom's Parlier home and refused to return with Kimberly L. to her Sanger home. Mr. and Mrs. Hillblom were unaware that Kimberly L. had called 911. Kimberly L. sought law enforcement assistance to compel Michael L. to leave with her although Michael L. had resided at Mr. and Mrs. Hillblom's home during the prior four weeks pursuant to a court order. Kimberly L. had lost custody of her then five-year-old daughter and had what plaintiffs' characterize as "a welldocumented and significant history of drug abuse and arrests for domestic violence and Health and Safety Code violations."

Deputy Carey arrived at Mr. and Ms. Hillblom's home at around 8:40 p.m. and entered the home at Kimberly L.'s invitation although Deputy Carey knew she did not live in the home and, as plaintiffs' describe, "did not have consent to his entry." After Michael L. did not respond to Kimberly L.'s attempts to summon him and with Kimberly L.'s permission, Deputy Carey proceeded further down a hallway toward a den. Mr. Hillblom, unaware Kimberly L. had summoned law enforcement, requested Deputy Carey to leave the home and offered to accompany Deputy Carey outside to discuss "whatever business" had brought Deputy Carey to the home. Mr. Hillblom informed Deputy Carey that Kimberly L. did not reside in the house, lacked authority to invite Deputy Carey inside, and was present only for a supervised court-ordered visit with her daughter.

After telling Mr. Hillblom to sit down, Deputy Carey advanced within inches of Mr. Hillblom, who demanded that Deputy Carey leave. Deputy Carey responded by slamming Mr. Hillblom into a nearby fireplace, jerking Mr. Hillblom's arms behind Mr. Hillblom's back and handcuffing Mr. Hillblom. Deputy Carey shoved Mr. Hillblom out of the house and locked Mr. Hillblom into Deputy Carey's patrol car.

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Mr. Hillblom suffered bruises and cuts to his left forearm and wrist, and his insulin pump was pulled off his belt. Mr. Hillblom, an insulin-dependent diabetic who wears an insulin pump constantly, asked Deputy Carey to reinsert the pump. Deputy Carey responded: "I don't care." Mr. Hillblom remained locked in the patrol car for about 40 minutes without insulin.

Mrs. Hillblom and Michael L. were present and observed Mr. Hillblom's arrest, bleeding, ripping out of his insulin pump, and remaining locked in the patrol car.

Mr. Hillblom's Citation

After Sgt. Broughton arrived at the home, Mrs. Hillblom informed him of Mr. Hillblom's disconnected insulin pump and bleeding wrist. Mr. Hillblom was uncuffed, treated for his bleeding wrist, and permitted to check his blood glucose and to place a new infusion set into his body.

Sgt. Broughton and Deputy Carey issued Mr. Hillblom a citation for violation of California Penal Code section 148(a)(1) (resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer). Sgt. Broughton and Deputy Carey transported Mr. Hillblom to the Reedley Police Department (20 minutes away) where Mr. Hillblom was processed and detained until approximately midnight.

Deputy Carey prepared a crime report which made false statements regarding Mr. Hillblom and which was approved by Sgt. Carreiro, whom plaintiffs allege on information and belief knew or should have known that claims of Mr. Hillblom's criminal conduct were false.

The Fresno County District Attorney's office filed a criminal complaint to charge Mr. Hillblom with violation of California Penal Code section 148(a)(1) (resisting, obstructing or delaying a peace officer). After a suppression motion hearing, the prosecuting deputy attorney moved to dismiss the charge against Mr. Hillblom. Mr. and Mrs. Hillblom claim they incurred legal expenses "to defend against the malicious prosecution triggered by Carey's false report."

Deputy Carey's Prior History

Plaintiffs claim Deputy Carey has a volatile temper and history of excessive force and related personnel complaints, steroid use, and arrests for violence.

Plaintiffs' Claims

Plaintiffs' complaint alleges the following claims subject to defendants' challenge:

1. A (first) cause of action under section 1983 for illegal warrantless arrest in that the County, Deputy Carey and Sgts. Broughton and Carreiro's acts and omissions deprived Mr. Hillblom of rights secured by the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to subject him to excessive and unreasonable force, unjustifiable denial of liberty, deprivation of necessary medical care, and conspiracy to cover up defendants' misconduct by commencement of a fraudulent criminal proceeding;

2. A (third) cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress ("NIED") that the unlawful conduct of Deputy Carey and Sgt. Broughton "subjected all of the plaintiffs to mental suffering and emotional distress";

3. A (fourth) cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress ("NIED") that the actions of Deputy Carey and Sgt. Broughton "constituted outrageous conduct, undertaken with the intention of causing, or the reckless disregard of the probability of causing, emotional distress";

4. A (fifth) false arrest and false imprisonment cause of action that Deputy Carey and Sgt. Broughton, with

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neither a warrant nor probable cause and on the County's behalf, "recklessly and unlawfully detained, arrested and jailed" Mr. Hillblom;

5. A (sixth) torts in essence cause of action that the County, Deputy Carey and Sgts. Broughton and Carreiro breached non-consensual duties arising out of mandatory California Penal Code sections 118, 118.1, 125, 127, 137(c), 148.5, 149 and 182(2) and "assaulted, battered, injured, falsely arrested and filed false crime re ports" against Mr. Hillblom; and

6. A (seventh) negligent employment, training and supervision cause of action that the County, Sheriff Pierce and Sgts. Broughton and Carreiro "failed to provide policies and procedures to ensure meaningful reporting, monitoring and investigation of the misuse and abuse of authority by Fresno County Sheriff's deputies, and failed adequately to supervise personnel as to their duties and obligations under the law, policy and practice."

Sheriff Pierce is specifically identified as a defendant in only the (seventh) negligent employment, training and supervision cause of action.4

Defendants contend that the above causes of action fail to allege necessary elements or facts for defendants' liability and that Sheriff Pierce, Sgts. Broughton and Carreiro and Deputy Carey are redundantly named in their official capacities. Alternatively, defendants seek a more definite statement of the (first) section 1983 and (sixth) torts in essence causes of action in that they are vague and ambiguous.

DISCUSSION
F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) Motion To Dismiss Standards

A F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is a challenge to the sufficiency of the pleadings set forth in the complaint. "When a federal court reviews the sufficiency of a complaint, before the reception of any evidence either by affidavit or admissions, its task is necessarily a limited one. The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416, U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974); Gilligan v. Jamco Development Corp., 108 F.3d 246, 249 (9th Cir.1997). A F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper where there is either a "lack of a cognizable legal theory" or "the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.1990); Graehling v. Village of Lombard, Ill., 58 F.3d 295, 297 (7th Cir.1995). F.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper when "plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief," Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S....

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  • Young v. City of Visalia, No. 1:09-CV-115 AWI GSA.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • 15 Enero 2010
    ...v. City of Pittsburg, 2009 WL 1684701, *2, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50117, *5 (N.D.Cal. June 12, 2009); Hillblom v. County of Fresno, 539 F.Supp.2d 1192, 1212 (E.D.Cal.2008). Further, Plaintiffs cite no authority regarding whether Defendant Flaws's warrant application to the Superior Court con......
  • Burns v. City of Concord, No. C 14-00535 LB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • 6 Noviembre 2014
    ...in the conduct that allegedly caused the violation." Blankenhorn, 485 F.3d at 481, n.12. Hillblom v. County of Fresno, 539 F. Supp. 2d 1192, 1205-06 (E.D. Cal. 2008).Page 23 The Contra Costa County Defendants say that, according to Plaintiffs' allegations, of the three individual Contr......
  • Shelley v. Cnty. of San Joaquin, No. 2:13–cv–00266–MCE–DAD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • 7 Febrero 2014
    ...Thus, the Court concludes Sheriff Moore should be dismissed as a defendant as redundantly pled. See Hillblom v. Cnty. of Fresno, 539 F.Supp.2d 1192, 1202 (E.D.Cal.2008) (“[W]hen both an officer and the local government entity are named in a [§ 1983] lawsuit and the officer is named in offic......
  • Rezek v. City of Tustin, Case No. SACV 11-01601 DOC (RNBx)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • 15 Noviembre 2012
    ...intent, nor why, if the Legislature did so intend a private right of action, it did not simply say so); Hillblom v. County of Fresno, 539 F. Supp. 2d 1192, 1212 (E.D. Cal. 2008) (putting the burden on the plaintiffs to "defend meaningfully their torts in essence cause of action" a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • Young v. City of Visalia, No. 1:09-CV-115 AWI GSA.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • 15 Enero 2010
    ...v. City of Pittsburg, 2009 WL 1684701, *2, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50117, *5 (N.D.Cal. June 12, 2009); Hillblom v. County of Fresno, 539 F.Supp.2d 1192, 1212 (E.D.Cal.2008). Further, Plaintiffs cite no authority regarding whether Defendant Flaws's warrant application to the Superior Court con......
  • Burns v. City of Concord, No. C 14-00535 LB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • 6 Noviembre 2014
    ...in the conduct that allegedly caused the violation." Blankenhorn, 485 F.3d at 481, n.12. Hillblom v. County of Fresno, 539 F. Supp. 2d 1192, 1205-06 (E.D. Cal. 2008).Page 23 The Contra Costa County Defendants say that, according to Plaintiffs' allegations, of the three individual Contr......
  • Shelley v. Cnty. of San Joaquin, No. 2:13–cv–00266–MCE–DAD.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • 7 Febrero 2014
    ...Thus, the Court concludes Sheriff Moore should be dismissed as a defendant as redundantly pled. See Hillblom v. Cnty. of Fresno, 539 F.Supp.2d 1192, 1202 (E.D.Cal.2008) (“[W]hen both an officer and the local government entity are named in a [§ 1983] lawsuit and the officer is named in offic......
  • Rezek v. City of Tustin, Case No. SACV 11-01601 DOC (RNBx)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • 15 Noviembre 2012
    ...intent, nor why, if the Legislature did so intend a private right of action, it did not simply say so); Hillblom v. County of Fresno, 539 F. Supp. 2d 1192, 1212 (E.D. Cal. 2008) (putting the burden on the plaintiffs to "defend meaningfully their torts in essence cause of action" a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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