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Patterson v. County of San Diego

July 21, 2010

GENE PATTERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO; STATE OF CALIFORNIA; UCSD HOSPITAL; AND ALVARADO HOSPITAL; AND DOES 1 TO 25, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irma E. Gonzalez, Chief Judge United States District Court

ORDER: (1) GRANTING DEFENDANT COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO'S MOTION TO DISMISS [Doc. No. 12]; (2) GRANTING DEFENDANT REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA'S MOTION TO DISMISS OR ALTERNATIVELY TO QUASH SERVICE [Doc. No. 13]; (3) GRANTING DEFENDANT ALVARADO HOSPITAL'S MOTION TO DISMISS [Doc. No. 4].

Defendants Alvarado Hospital and the County of San Diego have filed separate motions to dismiss Plaintiff Gene Patterson's ("Plaintiff") Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Defendant Regents of the University of California San Diego (erroneously sued and served as UCSD Hospital) has also filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, or alternatively, a motion to quash service.*fn1

These motions are suitable for disposition without oral argument pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons stated herein, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motions to dismiss.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's Complaint. On or about June 9, 2007, while Plaintiff was in the custody of Defendant County of San Diego (the "County") at the George Bailey Detention Facility, Plaintiff fell from his bunk bed onto the floor and was injured. (Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff alleges the County should have known upon reasonable investigation that the bunk bed "was a dangerous condition" and Plaintiff would be injured due its unsafe design and structure. (Compl. at 3.)

As a result of the incident, the County provided Plaintiff medical treatment at UCSD Medical Center operated by Defendant Regents of the University of California ("UCSD"), at Defendant Alvarado Hospital ("Alvarado"), and at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, operated by Defendant State of California. (Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff alleges Defendants performed medical services in a negligent manner, including leaving surgical utensils inside Plaintiff's body, and denied Plaintiff medical care. (Compl. at 3.)

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed a Complaint on October 16, 2009. (Doc. No. 1.) The Complaint is captioned, "Plaintiff's Complaint for Damages Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 1981, 1985, the Civil Rights Act of 1871; Rule 60(b)(3)." It is unclear from the Complaint what the causes of action are. Under the section for jurisdictional allegations, Plaintiff alleges the action is brought pursuant to Section 1983 and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. The body of the Complaint is a Judicial Council of California form complaint alleging three causes of action: (1) negligence; (2) premises liability; and (3) intentional tort.

On April 15, 2010, the Court set a hearing for dismissal for want of prosecution pursuant to Rule 4(m) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. No. 2.) Thereafter, on May 7, 2010, Plaintiff served the Summons and Complaint on each defendant. (Doc. Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9.)

Presently before the Court are Defendants' motions to dismiss. (Doc. No. 13.) On June 11, 2010, Plaintiff filed a late opposition to Defendants' motions.*fn2 On June 14, 2010, Defendant UCSD filed a Reply to Plaintiff's late opposition. (Doc. No. 30).*fn3

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

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) (2009). A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted in the complaint. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 731 (9th Cir. 2001). The court must accept all factual allegations pled in the complaint as true, and must construe them and draw all reasonable inferences from them in favor of the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir.1996). To avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, rather, it must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim has "facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ---, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

However, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted). A court need not accept "legal conclusions" as true. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. In spite of the deference the court is bound to pay to the plaintiff's allegations, it is not proper for the court to assume that "the [plaintiff] can prove facts that [he or she] has not alleged or that defendants have violated the . . . ...


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