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Hoffman v. Murphy

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 9, 2019

BROOKS HOFFMANN, Plaintiff,
v.
SHEA MURPHY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          ROBERT C. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court are the following four motions: Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 8); Plaintiff's Motion to “Squash” Reply to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 17); Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint (ECF No. 18); and Defendant's Motion to Strike (ECF No. 19). The Court finds that the Plaintiff's Complaint is meritless and that this case should be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim, as amendment would be futile.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In July 2008, the Plaintiff, attended a water aerobics class at the Lovelock Municipal Swimming Pool. The Defendant's only unfortunate connection to the Plaintiff is that she was an attendee at that water aerobics class. There were six women and one man (the Plaintiff) in attendance, along with two young female lifeguards who conducted the class. During the class, several women and both lifeguards observed the Plaintiff allegedly masturbating in the pool. Ms. Murphy, the Defendant, as well as another participant from the class, made a report to the Pershing County Sheriff's Office.

         After conducting an investigation, the Pershing County Sheriff's Office concluded that there was probable cause and issued a trespass notice to the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff responded by suing James Rowe (then head custodian of the Lovelock Municipal Swimming Pool), Pershing County, and the Pershing County Tourism Authority for defamation, among various other causes of action. In 2013, the case was tried by a jury, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants. Ms. Murphy, the Defendant here, was subpoenaed to testify at the trial but was not called as a witness.

         Based on these events dating back to 2008, the Plaintiff has now filed a lawsuit against Ms. Murphy, the Defendant, alleging multiple causes of action. Pending before the Court is the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) mandates that a court dismiss a cause of action that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The analysis and purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is to test the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). To be sufficient, a plaintiff must plead facts pertaining to his own case making a violation plausible, not just possible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)) (“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.”). To avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations; rather, it must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Clemens v. Daimler Chrysler Corp., 534 F.3d 1017, 1022 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims. Gilligan v. Jamco Dev. Corp., 108 F.3d 246, 249 (9th Cir. 1997) (quotations omitted).

         When considering whether a complaint is sufficient to state a claim, all material allegations are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See NL Indus., Inc. v. Kaplan, 792 F.2d 896, 898 (9th Cir. 1986). However, a formulaic recitation of a cause of action with conclusory allegations is insufficient. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 677-79 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The factual allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Little analysis is needed. The Plaintiff's claims are frivolous and should be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim.

         A. Motion to Dismiss

          The Plaintiff's first cause of action premised on Title VII is frivolous and must be dismissed. Title VII prohibits discrimination based upon an individual's status as a member of a protected class, only in the employment context. Tex. Dep't. of Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 259 (1981). The Defendant is not the Plaintiff's employer nor is the Pershing County School District, which employs the Defendant. The Defendant's only connection to the Plaintiff is that she was a fellow pool participant eleven years ago and reported conduct by the Plaintiff to law enforcement. Therefore, no liability exists under Title VII, and the Plaintiff's cause of action under Title VII must be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim.

         The Plaintiff's second cause of action for “abuse of process” is frivolous and must be dismissed. While the origins of the Plaintiff's second cause of action are not entirely clear, the Plaintiff titles this claim as one for “abuse of process-(power)” and cites to 36 C.F.R. § 1275.16. However, this section is entirely irrelevant and does not provide the Plaintiff a cause of action. The section cited relates to presidential historical materials and, specifically, historical materials possessed by former President Richard Nixon. Clearly, reporting the Plaintiff masturbating during a water aerobics class at a municipal swimming pool, could not possibly implicate the regulatory section cited by the Plaintiff nor can the Plaintiff sue for abuse of ...


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