United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER
LYNN WINMILL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendants Ralph Powell, Lee Edgley,
Brady Barnes, Paul Gilbert, Paul Olsen, Marcus Graham, and
Tom Sellers' Motion to Dismiss the Defendants State of
Idaho and Idaho State Police (Dkt. 11). For the reasons that
follow, the Court will grant Defendants' motion.
Rocco Chacon brings a federal civil rights action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and related state law tort
claims. Dkt. 4 at 11-12. Mr. Chacon alleges that
Defendants deprived him of rights under the Fourth Amendment
to the United States Constitution, and both negligently and
intentionally inflicted emotional distress through their
actions. Id. The Complaint alleges that Defendants
Olsen, Edgley, Gilbert, Barnes, Sellers, and Graham used
excessive force in firing upon Mr. Chacon as part of a
traffic stop on March 27, 2017. Dkt. 4 at 2. Mr. Chacon
further alleges that these Defendants' supervisors failed
to tram and discipline them, thereby ratifying their conduct.
Id. Mr. Chacon sues for consequential and punitive
damages he suffered as a result of Defendants' actions.
Chacon filed his Complaint on March 27, 2019. Dkt. 4.
Defendants filed an Answer to the Complaint on July 3, 2019.
Dkt. 10. Defendants then filed a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), which this Court will convert to a motion for
judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) as discussed in
further detail below. Plaintiff did not file a response to
Defendants' motion to dismiss. See D.
Id. Loc. R. 7. l(e)(1)("[I]f an adverse party
fails to timely file any response documents required to be
filed under this rule, such failure may be deemed to
constitute a consent to the sustaining of said pleading or
the granting of said motion or other application.").
Defendants in this case are law enforcement officers in the
state of Idaho. Dkt. 4 at 4-5. The Complaint brings claims
against each Defendant in both their individual and official
capacity. Id. at 3-4. The Defendants now move to
dismiss only those claims brought against them in their
official capacities. Dkt. 16-1 at 6-7.
12(h)(2) specifically authorizes use of a Rule 12(c) motion
to raise the defense of failure to state a claim. Aldabe
v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1093 (9th Cir. 1980).
"Because it is only after the pleadings are closed that
the motion for judgment on the pleadings is authorized"
by Rule 12(c), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has
construed Rule 12(h)(2) to allow a motion for judgment on the
pleadings raising the defense of failure to state a claim
after an answer has been filed. Aldabe, 616 F.2d at
1093. The court further held that this conclusion is
especially true when, as here, the Answer included the
defense of failure to state a claim, and the motion to
dismiss was not based upon new information for which the
Plaintiffs could claim to have been unprepared. Id.
Rule 12(c) motions alleging failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted are functionally identical to
Rule 12(b)(6) motions, and therefore the same standard of
review applicable to Rule 12(b)(6) motions applies to Rule
12(c) motions. Dworkin v. Hustler Magazine, Inc.,
867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief," in order to "give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007).
While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss "does not need detailed factual
allegations," it must set forth "more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555.
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face."
Id. at 570. A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 556. The
plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability
requirement," but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.
Id. Where a complaint pleads facts that are
"merely consistent with" a defendant's
liability, it "stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of 'entitlement to
relief" Id. at 557.
Supreme Court identified two "working principles"
that underlie Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First, the court need not accept as
true, legal conclusions that are couched as factual
allegations. Id. Rule 8 does not "unlock the
doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more
than conclusions." Id. at 678-79. Second, to
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must state a
plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679.
"Determining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim for relief will... be a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense." Id
too much in the complaint may also be fatal to a plaintiff
Dismissal may be appropriate when the plaintiff has included
sufficient allegations disclosing some absolute defense or
bar to recovery. See Weisbuch v. County of LA., 119
F.3d 778, 783, n. 1 (9th Cir. 1997) (stating that "[i]f
the pleadings establish facts compelling a decision one way,
that is as good as if depositions and other . . . evidence on
summary judgment establishes the identical facts").
dismissal without leave to amend is improper unless it is
beyond doubt that the complaint "could not be saved by
any amendment." Harris v. Amgen, Inc., 573 F.3d
728, 737 (9th Cir. 2009) (issued 2 months after
Iqbal). The Ninth Circuit has held that "in
dismissals for failure to state a claim, a 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." Cook, Perkiss and Liehe, Inc. v. Northern
California Collection Service, Inc.,911 F.2d 242, 247
(9th Cir. 1990). The issue is not whether plaintiff will
prevail but whether he "is entitled to ...