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Bell v. City of Boise

United States District Court, D. Idaho

July 16, 2014

JANET F. BELL, BRIAN S. CARSON, ROBERT MARTIN, LAWRENCE LEE SMITH, ROBERT ANDERSON, PAMELA S. HAWKES, JAMES M. GODFREY, and BASIL E. HUMPHREY, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF BOISE; BOISE POLICE DEPARTMENT;and MICHAEL MASTERSON, in his official capacity as Chief of Police, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE AND DISMISS PORTIONS OF THE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

RONALD E. BUSH, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Strike and Dismiss Portions of Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint (Dkt. 156). The Court has carefully reviewed the record, considered oral arguments, and now enters the following Order granting, in part, and denying, in part, Defendants' Motion.

BACKGROUND

The Plaintiffs are individuals who either are, or were, homeless in Boise. They allege that Defendants (Boise City and its Police Department) have criminalized homelessness in the manner in which they enforce certain Boise City ordinances.[1] The factual and procedural background of this case has been described at length in earlier decisions and it need not be repeated in full here for purposes of the present motion, except as necessary in the "Discussion" section below.

Relevant here, Defendants ask the Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' First Claim for Relief, made pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and to strike from the Second Amended Complaint all allegations related to Defendants' enforcement of Boise City Code § 13-03-05(E), referred to as the "Park After Dark" ordinance.[2] For the reasons explained below, the Court, in large part, grants Defendants' Motion, and will require Plaintiffs to remove one claim and several allegations from their Second Amended Complaint.[3]

DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiffs' § 1983 Claim

Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' § 1983 claim is barred by Heck v. Humphrey , 512 U.S. 477 (1994), and, therefore, should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).[4]

1. Standards of Law

Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, " may be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or on the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. See Navarro v. Block , 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001); Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't , 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). At issue here is whether Plaintiffs have a legal basis for their § 1983 Claim.

2. Discussion

In Heck , the United States Supreme Court held that:

[I]n order to recover damages for [an] allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a... plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such ...

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