URENIA vs PUBLIC STORAGE, BANK OF AMERICA | 1st & 4th Amendment, Sherman Act, UCL claims survive MTD in Federal Court

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URENIA vs PUBLIC STORAGE, BANK OF AMERICA | 1st & 4th Amendment, Sherman Act, UCL claims survive MTD in Federal Court

URENIA vs PUBLIC STORAGE, BANK OF AMERICA | 1st & 4th Amendment, Sherman Act, UCL claims survive MTD in Federal Court

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

VICTORIA URENIA, an
individual; SOLEDAD CORONA,
an individual,
Plaintiffs,

v.

PUBLIC STORAGE, a real
estate investment trust;
CITY OF LOS ANGELES, a
governmental entity; BANK OF
AMERICA, N.A.; MICHAEL ANZ,
Defendants.
___________________________

EXCERPTS:

First Amendment claims, from page 8:
“The Court finds that Plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts
to support their allegation that their First Amendment rights were
violated. Plaintiffs allege that LAPD and Bank of America
essentially worked together to effect foreclosures on those
individuals who were active participants in the OFF movement. LAPD,
at the request of Bank of America, was present at various protests
and demanded identification of those present. Then, Bank of America
allegedly used that information to selectively evict those
homeowners who participated in the protests. This alleged scheme,
jointly performed by LAPD and Bank of America, would certainly
chill a person of ordinary firmness from continuing to protest. If
presence at an OFF protest meant that individuals would be required
to show identification to LAPD and that, if they did so, they would
later be singled out for immediate lock-out by Bank of America, it
is reasonable to assume that most people would be chilled from
protesting for fear of losing their homes. The fact that multiple
individuals were locked out within a short period of time after
such protests further supports the conclusion that the lock-outs
were intended to quell further protests against Bank of America and
the foreclosure process. Further, by using LAPD both to collect
identifying information and to assist in the lock-out of
Plaintiffs, Bank of America relied on the authority of state actors
to accomplish the lock-out. Where police officers do more than
merely “stand by” in case of trouble, but instead affirmatively
participate in assisting private actors in effectuating an eviction
or repossession of property, the private actors may be said to be
acting under color of law. See Howerton v. Gabica, 708 F.2d 380,
383-84 (9th Cir. 1983)” [emphasis added]
.
Fourth Amendment claims, from page 10:
“As to the second argument, the Court previously determined
that substantial officer involvement in the lock-out process was
sufficient to support a finding of joint action between LAPD and
Bank of America. Although the underlying facts pertaining to the
current Plaintiffs are slightly different, this conclusion remains
the same. Where police officers do more than merely “stand by” in
case of trouble, but instead affirmatively participate in assisting
private actors in effectuating an eviction or repossession of
property, the private actors may be said to be acting under color
of law. Howerton v. Gabica, 708 F.2d 380, 383-84 (9th Cir. 1983)
(“This case involves more than a single incident of police consent
to ‘stand by’ in case of trouble. Police were on the scene at each
step of the eviction… The actions of [the officer] created an
appearance that the police sanctioned the eviction.” ); see also
Harris v. City of Roseburg, 664 F.2d 1121, 1127 (9th Cir. 1981)
(“[T]here may be a deprivation within the meaning of § 1983 …
when the officer assists in effectuating a repossession over the
objection of the debtor.”).
.
“Here, Plaintiffs’ alleged facts indicate that the LAPD
officers did more than merely “stand by” when Bank of America
locked Plaintiffs out of the Property, evicted Plaintiffs from the
Property, and took possession of Plaintiffs’ personal belongings.
However, the alleged facts do not demonstrate that Public Storage
or Michael Anz performed any acts jointly with LAPD officers, such
that any acts performed by Public Storage were not performed “under
color of law.” Therefore, the Court DENIES the Motion as to
Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment claim against Bank of America and
GRANTS the Motion with leave to amend as to Plaintiffs’ claim
against Public Storage.” [emphasis added]
.
Sherman Act claims, from page 14:
“The Court finds that Plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts
to support a plausible claim that they suffered an antitrust
injury. Because of the alleged collusion, which resulted in Public
Storage being able to offer very low introductory prices and then
locking foreclosed homeowners into higher prices for subsequent
months, harms the welfare of these “forced” consumers of self
storage services, Plaintiffs may be successful in pursuing their
antitrust claims. Therefore, the Court DENIES the Motion as to
Plaintiffs’ Sherman Act claims.” [emphasis added]
.
UCL claims, from page 16:
“Accepting Plaintiffs’ allegations
as true, Plaintiffs’ belongings were removed from their home and
essentially held captive by Public Storage for what Plaintiffs dub
a “ransom.” Even if Bank of America had a right to possession of
the Property and a right to remove personal property from the
Property, the arrangement by which Plaintiffs allege that they were
required to either pay a high rental fee or potentially lose their
belongings forever can be characterized as oppressive and
substantially injurious to the owners of such property. Therefore,
the Court DENIES the Motion as to Plaintiffs’ UCL claim.”
[emphasis added]


[…]

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