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Evans v. Meyer

United States District Court, District of Nevada

March 17, 2015

DARREN EVANS, Plaintiff,
v.
DUANE MEYER, an individual, WASHOE COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Nevada Defendant.

ORDER (DEF.’S MOTION TO DISMISS – DKT. NO. 9)

MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

I. SUMMARY

Before the Court is Defendants Duane Meyer (“Meyer”) and Washoe County’s Motion to Dismiss (“Motion”). (Dkt. no. 9.) For the reasons discussed below, the Motion is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

The following background facts are taken from the Complaint.

Plaintiff is a law enforcement officer employed by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (“Sheriff’s Office”). (Dkt. no. 8 at 1.) Plaintiff was born in England, has a British accent, and is retired from the English Army.

Meyer is a caption with the Sheriff’s Office; he was a sergeant in 2005 and was Plaintiff’s supervisor at that time. Plaintiff alleges that in 2005, Meyer sang “God Save the Queen” in front of Plaintiff. At an unidentified time later, while Plaintiff was instructing a trainee on how to operate the fingerprint machine, Meyer again sang “God Save the Queen” in Plaintiff’s presence. Plaintiff alleges that the trainee was “amused and the laundry crew interpreted this as an invitation to ridicule [him].” (Dkt. no. 8 at 1.) Plaintiff alleges that Meyer was discriminating against him based on his national origin.

Plaintiff subsequently reported Meyer’s conduct to his lieutenant and expressed that he felt humiliated and degraded by Meyers’s conduct.[1] After he reported Meyer’s conduct, Plaintiff received unwarranted counseling notices and was the subject of an investigation, in retaliation for his reporting.

Plaintiff asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and the First Amendment were violated. He appears to assert both claims against Washoe County as well as Meyer. Defendants seek dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6).

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A court may dismiss a plaintiff’s complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pleaded complaint must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The Rule 8 notice pleading standard requires Plaintiff to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands more than “labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “Factual allegations must be enough to rise above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. When determining the sufficiency of a claim, “[w]e accept factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the non-moving party[; however, this tenet does not apply to] . . . legal conclusions . . . cast in the form of factual allegations.” Fayer v. Vaughn, 649 F.3d 1061, 1064 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotation marks omitted).

In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering motions to dismiss. First, a district court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint; however, legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id. at 678. Second, a district court must consider whether the factual allegations in the complaint allege a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff’s complaint alleges facts that allow a court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. at 678. Where the complaint does not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has “alleged ― but not shown ― that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679 (internal quotation marks omitted). When the claims in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, the complaint must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. A complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations concerning “all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory.” Id. at 562 (quoting Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1989)).

IV. DISCUSSION

42 U.S.C. §1983 provides a mechanism for the private enforcement of substantive rights conferred by the Constitution and federal statutes. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989). Section 1983 “‘is not itself a source of substantive rights, ’ but merely provides ‘a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.’” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)). To state a claim under section 1983, a plaintiff “must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person ...


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