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Rodriguez v. Cal. Highway Patrol - 89 F. Supp. 2d 1131 (N.D. Cal. 2000)


Venue is proper in any district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred. 28 U.S.C.S. § 1391(b)(2) (1999). This section does not require that a majority of the events have occurred in the district where suit is filed, nor does it require that the events in that district predominate. 28 U.S.C.S. § 1391(b)(2) contemplates that there may be more than one district in which a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred, and that venue would be proper in each such district. 


Plaintiffs Curtis V. Rodriguez, two other individuals and two associations filed a complaint in federal district court against defendants California Highway Patrol ("CHP") and others alleging that CHP maintained a racially discriminating policy of targeting African-Americans and Latinos in conducting stops, detentions, interrogations and searches of motorists in violation of state and federal law. CHP filed a motion to dismiss or to strike certain portions of plaintiffs' complaint. 


Should the court grant the motion to dismiss?


Yes, in part.


The court denied CHP's motion to dismiss in part and granted it in part. Under Cal. Gov't Code § 814, governmental tort immunity did not apply to plaintiffs' claims for declaratory and injunctive relief. The court also held that at the demurrer stage, a government defendant such as CHP could not make a sufficient showing to meet its burden of proving it was entitled to statutory immunity. In the absence of heightened pleading requirements, plaintiffs alleged specific facts from which it could be concluded that CHP engaged in racial discrimination. However, the court dismissed state law claims against defendant under the sovereign immunity given the State pursuant to U.S. Const. amend. XI. The court rejected CHP's claim that venue was improper in the districts court as several events complained of occurred in a different district. Plaintiffs alleged that a substantial part of the events giving rise to the action occurred in the district in which suit was filed, and while venue would have been proper in the other district, venue also was proper in the district in which suit was filed.

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