Wilhite v. City of Bakersfield, 1:11-CV-1692 AWI JLT

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
PartiesJACLYN CORNELIA WILHITE, Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF BAKERSFIELD, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date30 January 2012
Docket Number1:11-CV-1692 AWI JLT

CITY OF BAKERSFIELD, et al., Defendants.

1:11-CV-1692 AWI JLT


Dated: January 30, 2012


(Doc. Nos. 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 24, 28, 29, 42)

This case stems from the arrest of Plaintiff Jaclyn Wilhite ("Wilhite") by Defendant City of Bakersfield ("the City") police officers and from civil proceedings initiated by Wilhite. Wilhite is proceeding pro se and originally filed suit in the Kern County Superior Court on October 19, 2010. The operative complaint is the Third Amended Complaint ("TAC"). The TAC includes sixteen causes of action, including three claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and identifies twelve defendants, although it does not appear that all of the defendants have been served. Defendants removed this case on October 11, 2011, and filed four separate motions to dismiss.1 Wilhite filed untimely oppositions and other motions, but was prohibited from being heard at oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230. Defendants filed replies at the direction of the Court. After considering the filings of the parties, the motions to dismiss will be granted in part.

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From the TAC, on November 1, 2009, Wilhite was attacked in her home by her roommate, Theresa Pori, with a 4 ½ foot stick for 10 minutes. Wilhite called for emergency help, and members of the Bakersfield Police Department arrived several minutes later. The officers met Wilhite outside of her home. Two of the officers, Defendant Johns and Defendant Pair, approached Wilhite and abruptly arrested her for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, even though Wilhite was the victim of the assault and had not committed the crime. The officers failed to collect evidence, failed to competently investigate the situation, and failed to provide medical treatment to Wilhite. Johns and Pair made false and defamatory reports against Wilhite, including misrepresentations regarding the presence of witnesses and the need for medical treatment.

On November 2, 2009, Wilhite was booked after being brought to the jail on false charges. Four officers/deputies at the jail took Wilhite's personal information, and Wilhite was escorted "upstairs" to receive new clothing. Wilhite received no medical treatment for two days, and no one, including defendant Deputy Singa, took photographs of Wilhite's injuries. After three days, Wilhite was never arraigned, and charges against Pori for battery were dropped. The failure to investigate and collect and preserve evidence prevented Wilhite from pursuing criminal charges against Pori. Further, while at the jail on November 2, 2009, defendant Deputy Maxwell physically abused Wilhite by intentionally and repeatedly using excessive pressure on Wilhite's fractured and bruised thumb, which caused her to scream several times. Wilhite was released from the jail late in the evening of November 4, 2009.

On November 5, 2009, Wilhite went to the Kern Medical Center via taxi cab to be treated examined, and photographed. The Medical Center had no camera and did not take photographs. A doctor interviewed Wilhite and offered to have her left hand x-rayed to determine if her thumb was fractured. Wilhite refused the x-ray and left after waiting 6 ½ hours with a prescription for pain medication.

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Between November 16, 2009, and January 18, 2010, Wilhite attempted to file charges against Pori. However, the Kern County District Attorney's Office and Assistant District Attorney Valeta Wilde belittled Wilhite and refused to investigate the matter or file charges.

On January 21, 2010, the City of Bakersfield ("the City") and one of its employees promised Wilhite that she would receive a duplicate copy of the emergency call made by Wilhite. However, despite this promise, a fraudulent copy was produced in that Wilhite's request for an ambulance was deleted from the produced recording.

On November 13, 2009, Wilhite filed a civil case against Pori in the Kern County Superior Court. However, defendant Judge Brumfield and an unknown bailiff denied Wilhite fair and just hearings on multiple occasions through their management and control of the courtroom. On December 17, 2009, Judge Brumfield improperly dissolved a restraining order against Pori. On February 16, 2010, an unknown bailiff improperly prevented Wilhite from entering the courtroom. On March 4, 2010, Judge Brumfield ruled against Wilhite and falsely reported that the defendants in the civil matter had submitted evidence that had not in fact been submitted. Further, Judge Brumfield would not listen to the emergency recordings, held that photographs of Wilhite's wounds did not meet the necessary burden of proof, and permitted perjured testimony. Judgment was entered against Wilhite on March 10, 2010.

On March 4, 2010, Wilhite attempted to file another request for a restraining order against Pori, but on March 5, 2010, Judge Brumfield refused to allow the matter to proceed. On June 1, 2010, Wilhite filed another request for a restraining order against Pori, but Judge Brumfield again refused to allow the matter to proceed.

In October 2010, Wilhite filed this lawsuit in the Kern County Superior Court. The County represents that, prior to removal, the Superior Court allowed Wilhite to amend her complaint and name Deputy Maxwell as Doe 5, Deputy Singa as Doe 6, and Valeta Wilde as Doe 8. Further, the City's attorney has represented that Wilhite recently served Terrye Steiner, an employee of the Bakersfield Police Department Communications Center, with the complaint and named Steiner as Doe 11. Steiner makes no arguments regarding the propriety of her service or being named as Doe 11.

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Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a claim may be dismissed because of the plaintiff's "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Johnson v. Riverside Healthcare Sys., 534 F.3d 1116, 1121 (9th Cir. 2008); Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). In reviewing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), all allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Marceau v. Blackfeet Hous. Auth., 540 F.3d 916, 919 (9th Cir. 2008); Vignolo v. Miller, 120 F.3d 1075, 1077 (9th Cir. 1999). However, the Court is not required "to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences." In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1056-57 (9th Cir. 2008); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). To "avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009); see Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. The Ninth Circuit has distilled the following principles from Iqbal and Twombly:

First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively. Second, the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation.

Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). In deciding whether to dismiss a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court is generally limited to reviewing only the complaint, but it may take judicial notice of public records outside the pleadings, review materials which are properly submitted as part of the complaint, and review documents that are incorporated by reference in the Complaint if no party questions their authenticity. See Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068,

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1076 (9th Cir. 2005); Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688-89 (9th Cir. 2001). In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the court may not look beyond the complaint to a plaintiff's moving papers, but the court may consider facts raised in opposition papers in determining whether leave to amend should be granted. See Broam v. Bogan, 320 F.3d 1023, 1026 n.2 (9th Cir. 2003). If a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is granted, "[the] district court should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts." Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). In other words, leave to amend need not be granted where amendment would be futile. Gompper v. VISX, Inc., 298 F.3d 893, 898 (9th Cir. 2002).


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