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Estate of Jessie P. Contreras, By and v. County of Glenn; Glenn County Sheriff's Department; Larry Jones

December 1, 2010

ESTATE OF JESSIE P. CONTRERAS, BY AND THROUGH HIS SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR, LEONOR CONTRERAS AND LEONOR CONTRERAS, INDIVIDUALLY, MOTHER OF JESSIE , DECEASED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COUNTY OF GLENN; GLENN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT; LARRY JONES, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GLENN COUNTY SHERIFF; LT. TIM ASBURY; LT. REVOLINSKI; LT. WARREN; SGT. WHITE, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS COMMANDERS, SUPERVISORS AND/OR SUPERVISORS OF PERSONNEL OF GLENN COUNTY JAIL; DEE DEE NELSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GLENN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL OFFICER; E. CHAVEZ, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GLENN COUNTY CORRECTION OFFICER; GLENN MEDICAL CENTER INC., J.A.L.A., A ) MINOR DAUGHTER OF JESSIE CONTRERAS, AND DOES 1-50, DEFENDANTS.



ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT GLENN MEDICAL CENTER'S MOTION TO CONTRERAS DISMISS

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Glenn Medical Center, Inc.'s ("Defendant's") Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 28) Plaintiffs' Estate of Jessie P. Contreras, by and through his Special Administrator, Leonor Contreras, and Leonor Contreras individually, mother of Jessie P. Contreras ("Plaintiffs") First Amended Complaint ("FAC") (Doc. 6) for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. Plaintiffs oppose the motion. The matter was calendared for hearing on August 18, 2010, and ordered submitted on the briefs.*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is granted in part, and denied in part.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Decedent Jessie P. Contreras ("Decedent") was an inmate in Glenn County Jail ("the jail") at the time of his death on August 6, 2008. Decedent was admitted to the jail for misdemeanor offenses on July 30, 2008. Plaintiffs allege that Decedent indicated at the time of his intake at the jail, and thereafter, that he was mentally unstable and suicidal. Decedent was placed in a single cell with sheets and a bed, and no video camera for monitoring the cell. Plaintiffs allege that a jail officer noted in a computer log that Decedent had advised he was suicidal, yet no mental health or other health care was provided, Decedent was not placed in a safety or isolation cell, nor was he monitored on a suicide watch program. On August 4, 2008, Decedent was found in his cell, hanging from a bed sheet. He was taken to the hospital and died in the hospital on August 6, 2008. Plaintiffs bring survivor claims for civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 2 and pendent state law survivor claims. Additionally, Plaintiffs 3 ask for leave to amend the FAC to include Decedent's minor 4 daughter, J.A.L.A., as a plaintiff. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant bears responsibility for Decedent's death, because Defendant is the contracted medical care provider for the jail, and 7 is responsible for providing medical and mental health training to 8 staff at the jail. The Court has previously ruled (Docs. 30, 31) 9 on motions to dismiss by defendants County of Glenn, Glenn County Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Larry Jones, and officers Timothy Asbury, Philip Revolinsky, Richard Warren, Harold White, Dee Dee Nelson and Emmanuel Chavez. See Contreras, ex rel. Contreras v. County of Glenn, 2010 WL 2816378 (E.D. Cal. July 16, 2010); Estate of Contreras, ex rel. Contreras v. County of Glenn, 2010 WL 2816246 (E.D. Cal. July 16, 2010). Pursuant to those orders, Plaintiffs will be filing a Second Amended Complaint within twenty (20) days of the date of this Order.

II. OPINION

A. Legal Standard

Motion to Dismiss A party may move to dismiss an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure section 12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1975), overruled on other grounds by Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322 (1972). Assertions that are mere "legal 2 conclusions," however, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009), citing Bell Atl. 4 Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To survive a motion to 5 dismiss, a plaintiff needs to plead "enough facts to state a claim 6 to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 7 570. Dismissal is appropriate where the plaintiff fails to state a 8 claim supportable by a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. 9 Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

Upon granting a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court has discretion to allow leave to amend the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure section 15(a). "Dismissal with prejudice and without leave to amend is not appropriate unless it is clear . . . that the complaint could not be saved by amendment." Eminence Capital, L.L.C. v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003).

Section 1983

To prevail in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil action against state actors for the deprivation of "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, a plaintiff must show that (1) acts by the defendants (2) under color of state law (3) deprived him of federal rights, privileges or immunities and (4) caused him damage. Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred. Accordingly, the conduct complained of must have deprived the plaintiff of some right, privilege or immunity protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Thornton v. City of St. Helens, 425 F.3d 1158, Standing 3

As an initial matter, Defendant challenges Leonor Contreras' 4 standing in her individual capacity to bring the first and second 5 claims for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court addressed 6 Leonor Contreras' lack of individual standing in its previous 7 orders. See Contreras, ex rel. Contreras, 2010 WL 2816378 at *2; 8 Estate of Contreras, ex rel. Contreras, 2010 WL 2816246 at *2. For 9 the reasons stated in the Court's previous orders, Leonor Contreras in her individual capacity lacks standing to bring the first and second claims, and lacks standing to bring the survival action portions of the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth claims for relief.

B. Claims for Relief

1. Fourteenth Amendment Violation, First Claim for Relief

The first claim for relief alleges a violation of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, based on deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, health and safety, in violation of Decedent's Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights. Defendant argues that this claim should be dismissed, because the Eighth Amendment, not the Fourteenth Amendment, applies to inmates such as ...


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