Related Practices

San Francisco Partners Gregg Thornton and Danielle Lewis Obtain Judgment For City South San Francisco

While the plaintiff was staying at a motel in the City of South San Francisco, the manager of that motel locked the plaintiff out of his room and called the police in response to the way the plaintiff was behaving. South San Francisco police officers responded to the call for service. Ultimately, the officers placed the plaintiff under arrest and took him into custody. While the plaintiff was in custody, he claimed that some of his belongings were still back in the motel room, and that he was being denied access to those belongings.

Initially, the plaintiff sued the officers for violating his civil rights. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that his Fourth Amendment rights had been violated because he felt he was subjected to an unlawful arrest and excessive force. Additionally, the plaintiff contended that the denial of his access to his belongings amounted to an unlawful seizure. The City responded with a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that it failed to state a claim against the officers, upon which relief could be granted, pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6). The District Court granted the motion, but gave the plaintiff leave to amend.

The plaintiff then filed a first amended complaint. This time, the plaintiff still attempted to allege that the officers violated his civil rights. In addition, the plaintiff raised, for the first time, a Monell claim against the City. Again, the City responded with a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6). The District Court granted the motion. In its order, the District Court gave the plaintiff the option to either attempt one last time to cure the pleading defects as to the individual police officers and to try to state a valid Monell claim against the City, on the one hand, or to just proceed on a Monell claim against the City, on the other hand. The plaintiff elected to just proceed with a Monell claim against the City and filed a second amended complaint.

In response to the second amended complaint, the City filed another motion to dismiss pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6). In that motion, the City argued that, even if it were assumed that the officers did violate the plaintiff's constitutional rights, the plaintiff did not, and could not, articulate a Monell claim against the City. The District Court agreed, granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice, and entered judgment in favor of the City.


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