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Annan-Yartey v. Muranaka

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 3, 2017

OFFICER T. MURANAKA, et al., Defendants.


          J. Michael Seabright Chief United States District Judge


         On November 1, 2016, [1] pro se Plaintiff Napoleon T. Annan-Yartey, Sr. (“Plaintiff”) filed claims for civil rights violations against the City and County of Honolulu (the “City”); Honolulu Police Department (“HPD”);[2] HPD Officers T. Muranaka (“Muranaka”), Royce S. Ohira (“Ohira”), and Chad K. Murphy (“Murphy”) in their individual capacities; HPD Chief Louis M. Kealoha (“Kealoha”) in his official capacity; and “all police officers involved and officials” (“Doe Defendants”), ECF No. 1. On November 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed a “Second Amended Complaint” (“SAC”).[3] ECF No. 10. On December 5, 2016, the court (1) dismissed Plaintiff's claims against the City, Doe Defendants, Kealoha, and Count 11 against Murphy; (2) found that the SAC stated claims against Muranaka, Ohira, and Murphy (collectively, “Defendants”) in their individual capacities; and (3) directed service of the SAC on Defendants (the “December 5 Order”). ECF No. 12.

         Currently before the court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's SAC on the ground that Plaintiff's claims are time-barred. ECF No. 31. Based on the following, the court agrees. The Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED and the SAC is DISMISSED without leave to amend.


         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff, an African-American male, alleges that on December 11, 2013, Defendants arrested him, and searched and seized his belongings without probable cause after Plaintiff, who was carrying a bag of recently purchased food, crossed a street along with other pedestrians. SAC ¶¶ 8, 9, 21-23, 25-26. Muranaka and Ohira allegedly made racially derogatory remarks;[4] Ohira choked Plaintiff; all three officers “pulled him by his neck and then threw him on the ground, ” restrained him with handcuffs, and took his wallet; Muranaka searched Plaintiff's bag and took his federally-issued ID; and all three officers held him on the ground for a lengthy period of time until Muranaka stated that Plaintiff “came up clean;” all without telling Plaintiff why he was stopped. Id. ¶¶ 24, 26-29, 31, 33.

         Plaintiff was charged in state court with disobeying traffic signals and littering, based on affidavits of probable cause containing allegedly false statements or omissions by the three officers. Id. ¶¶ 34, 36. Plaintiff appeared in court several times related to the allegedly false charges before they were dismissed with prejudice. Id. ¶¶ 39-40. Somewhat inconsistently, the SAC also alleges that “criminal proceedings against [Plaintiff] went to trial and the court came with a (not guilty verdict) thereafter all charges were dismissed in favor of Plaintiff[], ” id. ¶ 52, and that “[a]ll 65 charges were terminated in Plaintiff's favor, ” id. ¶ 81.

         Events listed in state court public dockets provide some clarification.[5]Two criminal actions arose from citations issued on December 11, 2013: (1) Case No. 1DTI-13-159259, based on a traffic citation for crossing a street against a Don't Walk signal, in violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) § 291C-33(2); and (2) Case No. 1DCC-13-0010643, based on a criminal citation for littering, in violation of HRS § 708-829. See Hawaii State Judiciary Information Management System eCourt Kokua (“eCourt Kokua”), (last visited Mar. 24, 2017). The traffic citation was dismissed with prejudice on July 23, 2014, and the littering citation was dismissed with prejudice on July 31, 2014. See id.

         On August 3, 2014, Plaintiff was issued an unrelated citation charging him with entering a closed park in violation of Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 10-1.2(a)(12). See Id. (Case No. 1DCC-14-0006812). Following a bench trial, on October 27, 2014, Plaintiff was found not guilty. Id.

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed this action on November 1, 2016, and filed his SAC on November 21, 2016. ECF Nos. 1, 10. Against the remaining Defendants, the SAC asserts § 1983 claims for violation of rights protected by the Fourth, Fifth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution including equal protection (Count 1); unreasonable search, seizure, and arrest without probable cause (Count 2); excessive force (Count 3); malicious prosecution (Count 4); and due process (Count 5). The SAC also alleges claims for racial discrimination and conspiracy to discriminate pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, and 1985(3) (Count 11); and (2) intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress under §§ 1981, 1983, and state law (Count 12). Finally, the SAC alleges state-law claims for malicious prosecution (Count 9); and violation of rights protected by the Hawaii State Constitution including equal protection (Count 7) and unlawful search, seizure, arrest, and excessive force (Count 8).

         On February 7, 2017, Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 31. On February 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed his Opposition. ECF No. 34. Defendants filed a Reply on March 3, 2017, ECF No. 35, and on March 9, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Affidavit in Support of his Opposition, ECF No. 36.[6] A hearing was held on March 20, 2017. Pursuant to the court's request, the parties each filed a Supplemental Memorandum on March 23 and 24, 2017, respectively. ECF Nos. 38, 39.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss a claim for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted[.]” A Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper when there is either a “‘lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged.'” UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital Partners, LLC, 718 F.3d 1006, 1014 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)).

         “A statute-of-limitations defense, if ‘apparent from the face of the complaint, ' may properly be raised in a motion to dismiss.” Seven Arts Filmed Entm't Ltd. v. Content Media Corp., 733 F.3d 1251, 1254 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Conerly v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 623 F.2d 117, 119 (9th Cir. 1980)); see also Rivera v. Peri & Sons Farms, Inc., 735 F.3d 892, 902 (9th Cir. 2013) (“When an affirmative defense is obvious on the face of a complaint, however, a defendant can raise that defense in a motion to dismiss.”) (citing Cedars-Sinai Med. Ctr. v. Shalala, 177 F.3d 1126, 1128-29 (9th Cir. 1999)). That said, “a complaint cannot be dismissed unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts that would establish the timeliness of the claim.” Supermail Cargo, Inc. v. United States, 68 F.3d 1204, 1206-07 (9th Cir. 1995) (quotation marks and citations omitted).[7] In making such a determination, the court is not “required to accept as true allegations that contradict . . . matters properly subject to judicial notice[.]” Seven Arts Filmed Entm't Ltd., 733 F.3d at 1254 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Mimms v. Lewis, 2016 WL 5329625, at *5 (C.D. Cal. May 3, 2016) (“A motion to dismiss based on the running of ...

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