Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harris v. City of Portland

United States District Court, D. Oregon

April 5, 2019

TERA HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF PORTLAND, CITY OF PORTLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          STACIE F. BECKERMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On October 31, 2018, Plaintiff Tera Harris (“Harris”) filed a complaint, alleging several federal constitutional claims against the City of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau. (ECF No. 2.) On February 3, 2019, the Court screened and dismissed Harris' complaint with leave to file an amended complaint within thirty days. (ECF No. 10.) On March 5, 2019, Harris filed an amended complaint. (ECF No. 11.) For the following reasons, the district judge should dismiss Harris' amended complaint.

         ANALYSIS

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A district court must perform a preliminary screening of an in forma pauperis action and dismiss any claims that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, are frivolous or malicious, or seek monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000) (concluding that § 1915(e)(2)(B) applies to non-prisoners); Preciado v. Salas, No. 1:13-cv-0390, 2014 WL 127710, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 14, 2014) (“The Court is required to screen complaints brought by plaintiffs proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis.”).

         To state a claim for relief, a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). When reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint filed by a self-represented litigant, the court must liberally construe the pleading and accept as true all of the factual allegations contained therein. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, “the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions, ” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Rather, stating a claim requires “the plaintiff [to] plead[] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Harris brings a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action that appears to arise out of a series of incidents beginning in 2013. (Compl. at 5.) Harris alleges that she has been subject to cruel and unusual punishment, excessive force, and false arrest by members of the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. (Compl. at 5.) Harris seeks only monetary damages. (Compl. at 5.)

         Harris' claims must be dismissed because she raised these claims, or could have raised these claims, in a prior federal action that resulted in a final judgment on the merits. As the Court previously explained, Harris brought similar claims in a prior action in the District of Oregon that resulted in a final judgment for the defendants. See Harris v. City of Portland Police Dep't, No. 3:15-cv-00853-HZ, 2016 WL 6806342, at *1 (D. Or. Nov. 16, 2016) (entering summary judgment on some of Harris' claims against members of the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff's Office); Harris v. City of Portland Police Dep't, No. 3:15-cv-00853-HZ, 2017 WL 2378357, at *1 (D. Or. June 1, 2017) (finding in favor of the defendants on all of Harris' remaining claims after a bench trial); Harris v. Keller, No. 17-255585, 2017 WL 4857589, at *1 (9th Cir. Sept. 11, 2017) (dismissing Harris' appeal for failure to prosecute).

         The only allegation that could be construed as arising out of different events than the ones previously adjudicated is Harris' claim that Officers Derrick Carmon (“Carmon”), Scott Broughton (“Broughton”), and Travis Law (“Law”) falsely arrested and imprisoned her. (Compl. at 5.) However, Harris cannot bring a Section 1983 suit directly against the City of Portland unless she alleges that Officers Carmon, Broughton, and Law were acting under an official government policy or custom. See Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs. of City of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). Furthermore, Harris cannot bring a Section 1983 action directly against the Portland Police Bureau. See Harris v. City of Portland Police Dep't, No. 3:15-cv-00853-HZ, 2016 WL 740425, at *5 (D. Or. Feb. 24, 2016) (“The Portland Police Bureau is not a separate entity from the City of Portland and is not amenable to suit. It is merely the vehicle through which the city fulfills its police functions.”) (quoting Lukens v. Portland Police Bureau, No. 3:11-cv-00827-MO, 2011 WL 5999376, at *2 (D. Or. Nov. 29, 2011)).

         Even if Harris amended her complaint to name Officers Carmon, Broughton, and Law in their individual capacity, she alleges that the false arrest occurred on the same date as the settlement conference in her prior federal case. (Compl. at 5.) That settlement conference took place on June 17, 2016. (No. 3:15-cv-00853-HZ, ECF No. 50.) Harris filed this case on October 31, 2018, and therefore any claims arising out of incidents that took place on June 17, 2016 are barred by the applicable two-year statute of limitations. See Douglas v. Noelle, 567 F.3d 1103, 1109 (9th Cir. 2009) (noting that state law governs the statute of limitations for Section 1983 suits and that “Oregon's statute of limitations for such suits is two years”) (citations omitted).

         The Court concludes that Harris has failed to plead sufficient facts to support any new claims arising out of different events than those already adjudicated in her prior federal case.

         CONCLUSION

         For the reasons stated, the Court recommends that the district judge dismiss Harris' amended complaint, and allow her to file a second amended complaint within thirty days. If Harris fails to file a second amended complaint curing the noted deficiencies ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.