Lee v. City of Los Angeles, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtHarry Pregerson, William A. Fletcher and Ronald M. Gould; Pregerson
Parties(9th Cir. 2001) MARY SANDERS LEE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE CONSERVATOR FOR THE ESTATE OF KERRY SANDERS; KERRY SANDERS,, v. CITY OF LOS ANGELES; A. HADDOCK, OFFICER, #25553; MCCALLESTER, DETECTIVE, #233680; HOLMSTROM, DETECTIVE, #320622; NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES,
Decision Date13 September 2000
Docket NumberNo. 98-55807,PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES

Page 668

250 F.3d 668 (9th Cir. 2001)
MARY SANDERS LEE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS THE CONSERVATOR FOR THE ESTATE OF KERRY SANDERS; KERRY SANDERS, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES; A. HADDOCK, OFFICER, #25553; MCCALLESTER, DETECTIVE, #233680; HOLMSTROM, DETECTIVE, #320622; NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.
No. 98-55807
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
Argued and Submitted September 13, 2000--Pasadena, California
Filed February 14, 2001
Opinion Withdrawn May 4, 2001
Filed May 4, 2001

Page 669

Copyrighted Material Omitted

Page 670

Copyrighted Material Omitted

Page 671

Copyrighted Material Omitted

Page 672

Copyrighted Material Omitted

Page 673

Copyrighted Material Omitted

Page 674

Copyrighted Material Omitted

Page 675

Copyrighted Material Omitted

Page 676

Michael D. Seplow and Wilmer J. Harris, Schonbrun & De Simone, Venice, California, for the plaintiffs-appellants.

Janet Bogigian, Deputy City Attorney, Los Angeles, California, for defendants-appellees, City of Los Angeles, Karl Holmstrom, Julie McCallister, and Art Haddock. Deon J. Nossel, Deputy Attorney General (Argued); Marion R. Buchbinder, Assistant Attorney General (Brief), attorneys for defendants-appellees, Philip Coombe, Jr. and The State of New York Department of Correctional Services.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California; William M. Byrne, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-96-07268-WMB.

Harry Pregerson, William A. Fletcher and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges.

Pregerson, Circuit Judge.

ORDER

The mandate issued April 5, 2001, is hereby recalled. The Opinion filed February 14, 2001 is withdrawn.

OPINION

This case arises out of the wrongful arrest, extradition, and incarceration of Kerry Sanders, a mentally disabled Los Angeles resident. Employees of the City of Los Angeles ("City") and New York State Department of Correctional Services ("NYSDCS") incorrectly identified Kerry Sanders as the fugitive Robert Sanders, a convicted embezzler who absconded from a New York state-prison work-release program. As a result, Kerry Sanders was extradited from California to New York in October 1993 and incarcerated in a New York state prison until October 1995, when NYSDCS officials learned that the real Robert Sanders had been arrested by federal drug enforcement agents in another jurisdiction. Had defendants at any time

Page 677

compared Kerry Sanders's fingerprints or other identifying characteristics with those of Robert Sanders, or had defendants in any other way verified the identity of the man they had in custody, Kerry Sanders would not have been arrested, extradited, or incarcerated as Robert Sanders.

Plaintiff Mary Sanders Lee, individually and as the Conservator for the Person and Estate of her son Kerry Sanders, brought suit claiming violations of constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, 12131-12134, and violations of rights protected by state law.1 The defendants in this appeal are the City, four individual officers of the Los Angeles Police Department ("LAPD"), Acting Director of NYSDCS Philip Coombe, Jr., and other unnamed employees of the City and NYSDCS (collectively referred to as"defendants"). The district court dismissed all federal claims against defendants with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, dismissed all claims against NYSDCS defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction, and dismissed plaintiffs' remaining state claims without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

"Because this is an appeal from the dismissal of an action pursuant to [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 12(b)(6), we accept as true the facts alleged in the complaint. " Zimmerman v. Oregon Dep't of Justice, 170 F.3d 1169, 1171 (9th Cir. 1999), petition for cert. filed, 121 S.Ct. 1186, 149 L.Ed.2d 103 (2001). Plaintiffs allege the following facts:

Kerry Sanders has a long history of mental illness for which he has been institutionalized in the past. He suffers from hallucinations, learning disabilities, and chronic schizophrenia, for which his doctors have prescribed a variety of medications. Kerry Sanders's mental incapacity is"obvious." Because of his mental disability, he was declared mentally incapacitated and his mother, Mary Sanders Lee, was appointed as Conservator for his Person and Estate.

In October 1993, the LAPD arrested Kerry Sanders. At some point after his arrest, employees of the LAPD mistakenly identified Sanders as the fugitive named Robert Sanders who had absconded from a Temporary Release Program at Greenhaven Correctional Center in Stormville, New York.2 Soon thereafter, the LAPD

Page 678

informed officials at NYSDCS that the person the LAPD had in custody was the fugitive Robert Sanders. NYSDCS provided the LAPD with an identification packet on Robert Sanders. The LAPD, however, failed to take proper steps to verify that the individual in their custody was in fact Robert Sanders. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that the LAPD recklessly and with deliberate indifference failed to compare Kerry Sanders's fingerprints and other characteristics with the fingerprints and other characteristics of Robert Sanders, which NYSDCS had provided. Plaintiffs further allege that defendants knew or should have known that Kerry Sanders was not in fact the fugitive Robert Sanders because Kerry Sanders's mental incapacity is "obvious," and because neither his fingerprints nor his physical characteristics match those of Robert Sanders.

Acting on the representations of the LAPD, Defendant Philip Coombe, Jr., Acting Director of NYSDCS, and/or other officials of NYSDCS, instructed NYSDCS employees to arrange for Kerry Sanders's extradition. Following an extradition hearing in Los Angeles,3 these NYSDCS employees traveled to Los Angeles, took custody of Kerry Sanders, and transported him back to New York. But they too failed to verify that the person they transported was in fact the absconded fugitive, Robert Sanders. Instead, they simply had him incarcerated in the Greenhaven Correctional Center without further legal process. The plaintiffs allege that because defendants failed to ensure Kerry Sanders's welfare and safety during his wrongful incarceration in New York, he was allegedly sexually molested by other inmates. He remained in prison until the real Robert Sanders was arrested in another jurisdiction and NYSDCS officials realized that Kerry Sanders was not the fugitive Robert Sanders.

Mrs. Lee began searching for her son, Kerry Sanders, shortly after his initial arrest in October 1993. Over the course of the next two years, Mrs. Lee repeatedly contacted the LAPD regarding the whereabouts of Kerry Sanders. Each time she was informed that his whereabouts were unknown.

B. Procedural History

The procedural history of this case is complex and need not be recounted here in full. We note, however, that the complexity of this case is due in part to the fact that some of the defendants filed motions to dismiss the original complaint ("Original Complaint"), while other defendants filed motions to dismiss the First Amended Complaint ("First Amended Complaint").4 Because this appeal considers motions to

Page 679

dismiss both complaints, we will refer to either the Original Complaint or the First Amended Complaint when necessary.

Before proceeding to the merits of the case, it is also useful to set forth the actions of the district court that we must review in this appeal. First, in response to a motion filed by the NYSDCS defendants, and before plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint, the district court dismissed the NYSDCS defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction. Second, after plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint, the district court also: (1) granted the City's motion to dismiss the § 1983 claims; and (2) denied a motion by plaintiffs for leave to further amend their First Amended Complaint. Finally, the district court dismissed sua sponte plaintiffs' ADA claim against the City, and all claims against the individual LAPD defendants.5

Plaintiffs timely appeal as to each of these decisions by the district court. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

A. Rule 12(b)(6) Standard

When a district court dismisses a claim pursuant to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, "we evaluate the complaint de novo to decide whether it states a claim upon which relief could be granted." Gonzalez v. Metropolitan Transp. Auth., 174 F.3d 1016, 1018 (9th Cir. 1999). All factual allegations set forth in the complaint "are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to [p]laintiffs." Epstein v. Washington Energy Co., 83 F.3d 1136, 1140 (9th Cir. 1999). Conclusory allegations of law, however, are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss. Id.

B. Notice Pleading Standard

Our review of the district court's orders dismissing plaintiffs' federal claims with prejudice is governed by the federal system of notice pleading under Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Rule 8(a)(2) states that a "pleading which sets forth a claim for relief . . . shall contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). The Supreme Court has stated that"the Rule mean[s] what it sa[ys]." Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence and Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993). As the Court explained:

[Under] the liberal system of "notice pleading" set up by the Federal Rules[,] Rule 8(a)(2) . . . do[es] not require a claimant to set out in detail the facts upon which he bases his claim. To the contrary, all the Rules require is "a short and plain statement of the claim" that will give the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
8860 practice notes
  • Gifford v. Kampa, No. 2:17-CV-2421-TLN-DMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 25, 2021
    ...in question, and upon which the complaint necessarily relies, but which are not attached to the complaint, see Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001); and (3) documents and materials of which the court may take judicial notice, see Barron v. Reich, 13 F.3d 1370, 1377 ......
  • United Energy Trading, LLC v. Pac. Gas & Elec. Co., Case No. 15-cv-02383-RS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • November 20, 2015
    ...The court may, in addition, take into account material that is properly the subject of judicial notice. Lee v. City of Los Angeles , 250 F.3d 668, 688–89 (9th Cir.2001). Judicial notice may be taken of a fact not subject to reasonable dispute because it either is generally known within the ......
  • Central Delta Water v. Fish and Wildlife, No. 1:09-CV-00861 OWW DLB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • September 8, 2009
    .... . ." Second, under Fed. R.Evid. 201, a court may take judicial notice of "matters of public record." Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688-89 (9th Cir.2001) (internal citations Plaintiffs respond that extrinsic evidence is admissible here because the Water Agency Defendants' motio......
  • Zaiza v. Clark, 1:19-cv-01476-DAD-GSA-PC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • February 18, 2021
    ...a protected class,'" (citing see Thornton v. City of St. Helens, 425 F.3d 1158, 1166 (9th Cir. 2005) (quoting Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 686 (9th Cir. 2001)), or that similarly situated individuals were intentionally treated differently without a rational relationship to a le......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8843 cases
  • Gifford v. Kampa, No. 2:17-CV-2421-TLN-DMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 25, 2021
    ...in question, and upon which the complaint necessarily relies, but which are not attached to the complaint, see Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001); and (3) documents and materials of which the court may take judicial notice, see Barron v. Reich, 13 F.3d 1370, 1377 ......
  • United Energy Trading, LLC v. Pac. Gas & Elec. Co., Case No. 15-cv-02383-RS
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • November 20, 2015
    ...The court may, in addition, take into account material that is properly the subject of judicial notice. Lee v. City of Los Angeles , 250 F.3d 668, 688–89 (9th Cir.2001). Judicial notice may be taken of a fact not subject to reasonable dispute because it either is generally known within the ......
  • Central Delta Water v. Fish and Wildlife, No. 1:09-CV-00861 OWW DLB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • September 8, 2009
    .... . ." Second, under Fed. R.Evid. 201, a court may take judicial notice of "matters of public record." Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688-89 (9th Cir.2001) (internal citations Plaintiffs respond that extrinsic evidence is admissible here because the Water Agency Defendants' motio......
  • Zaiza v. Clark, 1:19-cv-01476-DAD-GSA-PC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • February 18, 2021
    ...a protected class,'" (citing see Thornton v. City of St. Helens, 425 F.3d 1158, 1166 (9th Cir. 2005) (quoting Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 686 (9th Cir. 2001)), or that similarly situated individuals were intentionally treated differently without a rational relationship to a le......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT