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Costales v. City and County of Maui

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 16, 2019

LOKELANI V. COSTALES, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY AND COUNTY OF MAUI, PARKS AND RECREATION DIVISION, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT, ECF NO. 13

          J. Michael Seabright, Chief United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the court is Defendant County of Maui, Parks and Recreation Division's (“Defendant” or the “County”) Motion to Dismiss pro se Plaintiff Lokelani V. Costales' (“Plaintiff”) Complaint. ECF No. 13. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         As alleged in the Complaint, on December 28, 2014, Plaintiff's son, Ehukai H. Dennis, died after he “struck his head” on “an unlocked, unhatched swinging . . . fence” at a County park in Makawao, Maui. Compl. at 1, ECF No. 1; see Death Certificate, Ex. 1, ECF No. 1-1 (indicating that Plaintiff's son “struck a fence post”). At the time of the crash, Plaintiff's son was six years of age and was riding a “mini-motorbike.” Compl. at 1. The Complaint alleges that the cause of the crash was a “missing gate latch.” Id. at 1, 2.

         Plaintiff asserts a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and state-law claims for wrongful death and negligence.[1] Id. at 2. Plaintiff seeks $12 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Id.

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff initiated this action by filing the Complaint on March 22, 2019. ECF No. 1. Defendant filed the instant Motion on May 14, 2019. ECF No. 13. Plaintiff filed an Opposition on June 6, 2019, and Defendant filed a Reply on June 19, 2019. ECF Nos. 17, 19. A hearing was held on July 15, 2019.

         III. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         A. Rule 12(b)(1)

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) authorizes a court to dismiss claims over which it lacks proper subject matter jurisdiction. The court may determine jurisdiction on a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) so long as “the jurisdictional issue is [not] inextricable from the merits of a case . . . .” Kingman Reef Atoll Invs., L.L.C. v. United States, 541 F.3d 1189, 1195 (9th Cir. 2008). The moving party “should prevail [on a motion to dismiss] only if the material jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and the moving party is entitled to prevail as a matter of law.” Casumpang v. Int'l Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union, Local 142, 269 F.3d 1042, 1060 (9th Cir. 2001) (citation and quotation marks omitted); Tosco Corp. v. Cmtys. for a Better Env't, 236 F.3d 495, 499 (9th Cir. 2001), abrogated on other grounds by Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77 (2010).

         B. Rule 12(b)(6)

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Dismissal is appropriate where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or if its factual allegations do not support a cognizable legal theory. Hartmann v. Cal. Dep't of Corr. & Rehab., 707 F.3d 1114, 1122 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med. Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097, 1104 (9th Cir. 2008)). The court may also “dismiss a complaint sua sponte under [Rule] 12(b)(6) . . . without notice where the claimant cannot possibly win relief.” Omar v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc., 813 F.2d 986, 991 (9th Cir. 1987); see also ...


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