United States District Court, D. Hawaii
NALEEN N. ANDRADE, M.D., Plaintiff,
DARREN CHO, COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I, BOBBY L. MACOMBER, THELMA MACOMBER, DARRYL GRACE SR., LEONA GRACE, TRAVIS LEINONAN, and DOE DEFENDANTS 1-20, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO
Derrick K. Watson, United States District Judge
December 20, 2016, Plaintiff Naleen N. Andrade, M.D., filed a
Complaint (ECF No. 1) initiating the instant lawsuit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. In the Complaint, Andrade seeks damages
for acts that, she alleges, were committed “under color
of law, with the intent and for the purpose of depriving Dr.
Andrade of rights secured under the Constitution and laws of
the United States, including false and unsubstantiated
criminal charges being filed against Dr. Andrade . . .
.” Compl. ¶ 1. Before the Court are
separate-but-related motions to dismiss Andrade's
complaint, which were filed by Defendants Bobby L. Macomber,
Thelma Macomber, Darryl Grace Sr., Leona Grace, and Travis
Leinonan (“Private Defendants”; ECF No. 8); and
Defendants County of Hawai‘i and Kona Police Officer
Darren Cho (“County Defendants”; ECF No. 10). For
the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS IN PART both
Motions to Dismiss, and the Complaint is hereby DISMISSED
instant lawsuit arises out of a 2013 dispute over what
Andrade refers to as “the illegal attempt to remove
duly elected officers” from Kahikolu
Church.Compl. ¶¶ 30, 23-24.
Specifically, Charmayne Pule, Dolly Andrade (Plaintiff
Andrade's sister), and Donna “Maka” Falemalu
(collectively, “Principal Officers”) had been
elected as “Moderator, ” “Vice-Moderator,
” and “Secretary” during an Annual General
Membership Meeting at Kahikolu Church on or about March 24,
2013. Compl. ¶ 31. At a General Membership Meeting on
April 21, 2013, attendees purportedly elected Bobby L.
Macomber as the new “Pastor/Kahu” of Kahikolu
Church. Compl. ¶ 35. Andrade disputes the validity of
Macomber's election and subsequent actions as the
purported Kahu. Compl. ¶¶ 35-41, 44, 49.
alleges that following the April 21, 2013 General Membership
Meeting, she “heard from several sources about what had
been described to her as intimidation and bullying by Mr.
Macomber, ” including “physical
confrontations” with “a number of
[Macomber's] followers.” Compl. ¶ 67. Andrade
further complains that “Mr. Macomber and his
followers” have “caused the participation and
active involvement of, and intimidation by the Kona Police,
led by [County Defendant] Officer Cho.” Compl. ¶
66. The Complaint alleges that “Officer Cho is related
to [Kahikolu Church member] Donovan Cho, and is a close
friend of [Private Defendants] Darryl and Leona Grace, both
of whom are Mr. Macomber's followers.” Compl.
alleges that her only personal involvement with defendants in
this case occurred in November 2013 when she, together with
the entire congregation, was invited to attend a meeting at
Kahikolu Church. Compl. ¶ 68. She traveled from her
Honolulu residence to Kona to attend the November 15, 2013
meeting, only to find that the locks to the church gates had
been changed. Compl. ¶¶ 76-77. Meeting attendees
nonetheless gained entry onto church grounds by climbing a
rock wall surrounding the property:
[After discovering that] the entrance gate of the Church
grounds was locked [and] [b]ecause there were no
“Walking Paths” through the Rock Wall for access
to Kahikolu Church, the parties, including the elderly
kapuna, were forced to climb over the Hawaiian rock wall.
Once inside Kahikolu grounds, they found that the Sanctuary
and all other buildings had also been locked; so they held
the Meeting in Kahikolu's pavilion.
Compl. ¶ 77.
the meeting, uniformed police officers, including Officer
Cho, allegedly “interrogated” Dr. Andrade and
others regarding their presence on church grounds. Compl.
¶¶ 78-81. According to Andrade, Private Defendant
Darryl Grace, “with the cooperation of Mr. Macomber
and/or his followers, ” was the person who allegedly
alerted the police and asked them to
investigate. Compl. ¶ 78. Andrade was later
charged with criminal trespassing under Hawaii Revised
Statutes (“HRS”) Section 708-815(1) in connection
with this incident. Compl. ¶ 82.
alleges that while being interrogated by Officer Cho on
November 15, 2013, she “specifically informed [him]
that she and other members had been invited by the Principal
Officers to come [to] the Church for a duly called
Meeting.” She further alleges that Officer Cho already
knew about the meeting, having met a day earlier with Dolly
Andrade and been provided with documentation evidencing their
legal presence on church grounds. Compl. ¶¶ 73, 80.
to the Complaint, Officer Cho “referred his
[trespassing] investigation to the prosecutor's
office.” In the “formal incident report”
regarding the November 15, 2013 incident, Officer Cho
“made no reference”:
(i) to his November 14, 2013 meeting with the Vice Moderator
at the Kailua Police Station, or (ii) Officer Cho's
specific knowledge of the duly called Church Meeting, or
(iii) the fact he had seen and made copies on November 14,
2013 of critical documents regarding the identity and
authority of the Principal Officers, or (iv) the fact he
attempted to convince Dolly to cancel the Friday night
Compl. ¶ 81. This incomplete report,  Andrade asserts,
resulted in her being charged with criminal trespass on June
10, 2014. See Ex. B, Compl.; ECF No. 10-4); Compl.
January 5, 2015, the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit,
State of Hawaii, granted Andrade's unopposed Motion to
Dismiss the criminal trespass charges for violation of
Andrade's right to a speedy trial. See Cty.
Defs.' Reply, Ex. A, Mot. to Dismiss With Prejudice, ECF
No. 27-2; Ex. B, No Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss,
ECF No. 27-3; Ex. C, Notice of Entry and Judgment and/or
Order, ECF No. 27-4.
December 30, 2016, Andrade filed a Complaint (ECF No. 1)
alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 by both the
County Defendants (Compl. ¶¶ 97-103) and the
Private Defendants (Compl. ¶¶
grounds her claims, Andrade alleges that Officer Cho violated
her rights under the First Amendment by preventing her from
attending a meeting that was to take place at the church;
that he violated her Fourth Amendment rights by allegedly
omitting information from the incident report that he
referred for prosecution; and that he violated Andrade's
Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights by way of these
alleged violations, which also constitutes “malicious
prosecution.” See Compl. ¶¶ 98-103.
The Complaint also states that each of the Private Defendants
“willfully participat[ed] in joint action with state
officials” to deprive Andrade of these constitutional
rights, thereby also violating Section 1983. Compl.
¶¶ 105-06. Andrade claims that these violations of
her “clearly established constitutional rights”
resulted in “severe and substantial damages . . .,
includ[ing] litigation expenses [such as] attorneys'
fees, humiliation, embarrassment, inconvenience, emotional
distress, and other compensatory damages . . . .”
Compl. ¶¶ 107-08.
February 15, 2017, the Private Defendants moved to dismiss
(ECF No. 8), arguing that Andrade's Section 1983 claim
“is time-barred under Hawaii's two-year personal
injury statute of limitation, ” HRS § 657-7, that
the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, that Plaintiff
lacks standing, and that the Complaint is precluded by the
Pullman Abstention Doctrine because “[t]he present
matter arises from the same transactions and occurrences that
are currently being litigated in state court.” Mem. in
Supp. of [Private Defs.'] Mot. to Dismiss 7-9, ECF No.
8-1. The County Defendants moved to dismiss on February 16,
2017 (ECF No. 10), similarly alleging untimeliness based on
HRS § 657-7. Mem. in Supp. of [Cty. Defs.'] Mot. to
Dismiss 6, ECF No. 10-1. Additionally, the County Defendants
assert that Officer Cho is entitled to qualified immunity,
that the Complaint does not establish causation between
Officer Cho's actions and Andrade's alleged harm, and
that the Complaint fails to state a claim of municipal
liability against the County consistent with the requirements
of Monell v. New York City Department of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1977). Cty. Defs.' Mem. in
Supp. 6, 11, 13-14.
opposed both motions on March 10, 2017. Opp'n to Private
Defs., ECF No. 24; Opp'n to Cty. Defs., ECF No. 25.
Defendants filed their reply briefs on March 17, 2017.
Private Defs.' Reply, ECF No. 26; Cty. Defs.' Reply,
ECF No. 27. The parties appeared before this Court for a
hearing on April 12, 2017 (Tr. of Proceedings, ECF No. 33),
after which the Court took matters under advisement.
the Court's April 12, 2017 hearing and the date of this
Order, the County Defendants removed a separate, state court
action brought by the Principal Officers that arises out of
the same events described in Andrade's Complaint.
See Notice of Removal, Pule v. Macomber,
1:17-cv-00193-DKW-KJM (filed Apr. 27, 2017), ECF No. 1. That
action is also pending before this Court.
to Dismiss Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
(“FRCP”) Rule 12(b)(6) challenges a
complaint's compliance with the pleading requirements
provided by the Federal Rules.
Court may dismiss a complaint pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6) for
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted” when there is 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)). In other words,
plaintiffs are required to allege “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, 678 (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). “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, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). Factual allegations that only permit the Court
to infer “the mere possibility of misconduct” do
not constitute a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief as required by
FRCP Rule 8(a)(2). Id. at 677, 679 (explaining that
Rule 8 “does not require ‘detailed factual
allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned,
purposes of ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court
“accept[s] factual allegations in the complaint as true
and construe[s] the pleadings in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party.” Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire
& MarineIns. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th
Cir. 2008); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at ...