United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS
STATE OF HAWATI, NOLAN ESPINDA, AND ERIC TANAKA'S MOTION
TO DISMISS THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT FILED ON OCTOBER 19,
A. OTAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action arises out of the alleged sexual abuse of inmates at
the Women's Community Correctional Center
("WCCC") by its employees. Plaintiffs assert
federal Constitutional and Hawai'i state law claims
against the State of Hawai'i (the "State"),
Nolan Espinda, Eric Tanaka, Chavon Freitas, Taofi Magalei,
Jr., Brent Baumann, Gauta Vaa, James Sinatra, John Does 1-25,
Jane Does 1-25, and Doe Entities 1-25. The State, Nolan
Espinda, and Eric Tanaka (collectively,
"Defendants") move to dismiss the Third Amended
Complaint filed on October 19, 2018 as to all claims against
reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the Motion in part
and DENIES it in part. Counts I-IV are DISMISSED WITH
PREJUDICE as to the State, Espinda in his official capacity,
and Tanaka in his official capacity. The Motion is DENIED
with respect to Counts I-IV as to Tanaka in his individual
capacity and Counts V-XII as to all Defendants.
Leinette Kainoa Reyes; Dana K.A. Baba; Darnell K. Maluyo
Artemio Panlasigui, individually and as personal
representative of the estate of Dawnielle C. Panlasigui,
deceased, and as next friend to A.P., a minor; Tiana M. Soto;
Maelene Cruz; Monica J. Alves Peralto; Shawna L. Tallman;
Reyna M. Banks; and Victoria Suanoa-Piper (collectively,
"Plaintiffs") allege that while incarcerated, they
were regularly sexually abused by four Adult Correctional
Officers ("ACOs") and one civilian employee. Doc.
No. 51 at 3-4. Plaintiffs allege that these assaults often
occurred in the WCCC Control Stations. Id. at
¶¶ 34-90. The Third Amended Complaint
("TAC") alleges multiple occasions when WCC
employees touched Plaintiffs inappropriately, forcibly gave
and received oral sex, digitally penetrated Plaintiffs, and
engaged in vaginal sex with the promise of privileges.
Id. Plaintiffs allege that as a result of the fear
and anxiety caused by these sexual assaults, Plaintiff
Dawnielle Pawnlasigui committed suicide. Id. at
¶¶ 58-59. Due to the prevalence of the assaults and
the similar circumstances surrounding them, Plaintiffs allege
that the State, Espinda (as Director of the Department of
Public Safety) and Tanaka (as warden of WCCC) failed to
supervise their employees and condoned a culture, pattern,
and policy of sexual abuse. Id. at ¶¶
initiated this action on March 30, 2017. Doc. No. 1. On July
26, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Complaint,
Doc. No. 24, which was dismissed by stipulation on November
15, 2017, Doc. No. 44. The TAC was filed on October 19, 2018
and is the subject of this Motion. Doc. No. 51. The TAC
asserts the following claims: (1) violations of § 1983
(Counts I, II, III, and IV); (2) seduction (Count V); (3)
negligence (Count VI); (4) negligent hiring, training, and
supervision (Count VII); (5) assault and battery (Count
VIII); (6) intentional infliction of emotional distress
(Count IX); (7) negligent infliction of emotional distress
(Count X); (8) false imprisonment (Count XI); and (9)
wrongful death (Count XII). Id. Plaintiffs pray for
general, special, and punitive damages; reimbursement of
costs and expenses; pre- and post-judgment interest;
injunctive and declaratory relief as separately plead; and
any additional relief deemed appropriate. Id. at 37.
November 8, 2018, the State, Espinda, and Tanaka filed the
instant Motion to Dismiss the Third Amended Complaint Filed
on October 19, 2018. Doc. No. 57. Plaintiffs filed an
opposition, Doc. No. 66, and Defendants responded with a
reply, Doc. No. 67.
Motion is brought pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure ("FRCP") 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). A Rule
12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction may attack either the allegations of the
complaint or the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in
fact. Thornhill Publ'g Co. v. Gen. Tel. & Elecs.
Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 733 (9th Cir.1979) (internal
citations omitted). When the motion to dismiss finds fault
with the allegations of the complaint, the court accepts all
factual allegations as true and construes them in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party. Fed'n of
African Am. Contractors v. City of Oakland, 96 F.3d
1204, 1207 (9th Cir.1996). If the motion attacks a
jurisdictional issue separable from the merits of the case,
the judge may consider the evidence presented with respect to
jurisdiction and rule on that issue, resolving factual
disputes and considering matters outside the complaint when
necessary. Thornhill, 594 F.2d at 733.
Rule of Civil Procedure ("FRCP") 12(b)(6)
authorizes dismissal of a complaint that fails "to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). When reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss,
'"the court accepts the facts alleged in the
complaint as true,' and '[d]ismissal can be based on
the 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. 1988))
(alteration in original). However, conclusory allegations of
law, unwarranted deductions of fact, and unreasonable
inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss.
Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988
(9th Cir. 2001); Nat'l Ass'n for the Advancement
of Psychoanalysis v. Cal. Bd. of Psychology, 228 F.3d
1043, 1049 (9th Cir. 2000).
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, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). Facial plausibility exists "when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Although a court must
accept all allegations contained in the complaint as true,
this obligation does not extend to legal conclusions.
Id. As such, "[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). "[W]here the
well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged-but it has not 'show[n]'- 'that the
pleader is entitled to relief" Id. at 679
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)) (some alterations in original).
If dismissal is ordered, Plaintiffs should be granted leave
to amend unless it is clear that amendment would be futile.
Swartz v. KPMG LLP, 476 F.3d 756, 760 (9th Cir.
seek dismissal of Counts I-XII as asserted against them. With
respect to Counts I-IV against the State, Espinda in his
official capacity, and Tanaka in his official capacity,
Defendants argue that (1) claims against Espinda and Tanaka
duplicate the claims made against the State and (2)
Plaintiffs' federal claims against the State are barred
by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Regarding Counts I-IV
against Tanaka in his individual capacity, Defendants contend
that the allegations do not support individual liability
under § 1983. In addition, Defendants argue
Plaintiffs' claim for declaratory relief must be
dismissed. Finally, Defendants argue that Counts V-XIII must
be dismissed against them for lack of jurisdiction.
Section 1983 Claims (Counts I-IV)
allege that by failing to prevent the repeated sexual
assaults at WCCC, Espinda and Tanaka violated Plaintiffs'
Constitutional rights while acting ...