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Herbert J. Namohala v. Stuart Maeda

March 23, 2012

HERBERT J. NAMOHALA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
STUART MAEDA, RANDALL MEDEIROS, REED MAHUNA, WENDELL CARTER, HARRY KUBOJIRI, LISA P. TONG, CITY OF HILO, STATE OF HAWAII, MITSUYA MAEDA, HAWAII CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, HAWAII POLICE DEPARTMENT, OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS, JOHN/JANE DOES 1- 100, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Michael Seabright United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS STATE OF HAWAII, HAWAII CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, AND OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS' MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 27, 2011, Plaintiff Herbert J. Namohala ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint asserting that a number of Defendants violated his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by engaging in a conspiracy to wrongfully accuse and ultimately charge Plaintiff with felony second degree theft. Plaintiff asserts these claims against: Stuart Maeda; Mitsuya Maeda; the Hawaii County Police Department ("HCPD"); HCPD Officers Randall Medeiros, Reed Mahuna, and Wendell Carter; HCPD Chief Harry Kubojiri; Hawaii County;*fn1 the State of Hawaii; the Office of Consumer Protection, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (the "DCCA"); DCCA employee Lisa P. Tong; and Hawaii Child Protective Services (the "CPS") (collectively, "Defendants").

Currently before the court is the State of Hawaii, the CPS, and the DCCA's ("State Defendants")*fn2 Motion to Dismiss in which they argue, among other things, that Plaintiff's claims against them are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Plaintiff filed an Opposition on March 19, 2012. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(d), the court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing, and based on the following, the court GRANTS State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.

II. BACKGROUND

As alleged in the Complaint, on March 5, 2009, Mitsuya Maeda hired Plaintiff to clean the windows and replace window and door screens in her home for $3,900. Compl. ¶ 12. Plaintiff had nearly completed the work when Stuart Maeda, Mitsuya Maeda's son, demanded that Plaintiff stop all work and refund Mitsuya Maeda's money. Id. ¶ 13. After Plaintiff refused, Stuart Maeda threatened that he would file a lawsuit and use his government connections (Stuart Maeda works at CPS) to "make sure that his complaint would 'get out everywhere including the media.'" Id.

On June 22, 2010, Plaintiff was summoned to the Hawaii County police station, where he was interviewed by Officer Carter. Officer Carter explained that he had enough evidence from Mitsuya and Stuart Maeda to place Plaintiff under arrest for felony second degree theft. Id. ¶ 14. According to Plaintiff, there was no evidence to charge Plaintiff with a crime and Officer Carter had "every intention to arrest Plaintiff no matter what was said or what documents were provided." Id. Officers Medeiros and Mahuna were also aware of Plaintiff's arrest and "condoned it even though there was not [sic] facts to support Plaintiff being arrested." Id. Plaintiff asserts that his arrest, without any factual support, shows a conspiracy between Stuart and Mitsuya Maeda, Officers Carter, Medeiros, and Mahuna, and the HCPD to deprive Plaintiff of his constitutional rights. Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff further asserts that the County of Hawaii, the HCPD, and the State are liable because they permit and condone such conduct of their employees, and failed to train police officers to not arrest individuals on charges they know to be false. Id. ¶¶ 16-17.

As to the DCCA and Lisa Tong, the Complaint asserts that they charged "Plaintiff with not providing a written notice." Id. ¶ 18. Because this charge was untrue, the Complaint asserts that they violated his rights by "falsely accusing him of a crime and/or violation that Plaintiff never committed." Id.

Finally, the Complaint asserts that as a result of Defendants' various actions, the Tribune Herald released information regarding Plaintiff's arrest, which was "slanderous, malicious and defamatory[,] casting negative aspersions upon Plaintiff by the detectives of the [HCPD]." Id. ¶ 19.

The Complaint seeks "injunctive relief that prohibits each Defendant, their superiors and/or subordinates and/or other employees from retaliating against the Plaintiff for exercising his constitutional rights," as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

III. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

A. Rule 12(b)(6): Failure to State a Claim

Rule 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss a claim for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted[.]" "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.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, ___, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Weber v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, 521 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2008). This tenet -- that the court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in the complaint -- "is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. Accordingly, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S.at 555); see also Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011) ("[A]llegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively.").

Rather, "[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." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S.at 556). In other words, "the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation." Starr, 652 F.3d at 1216. "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S.at 555. Factual allegations that ...


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