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Richard Jaquez, Jr v. County of Sacramento et al

January 31, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge


Plaintiff Richard Jaquez Jr. ("Plaintiff") seeks redress from Sacramento County and various named Sacramento County Jail employees (collectively, "Defendants") for injuries Plaintiff sustained while detained in the Sacramento County Main Jail. Defendants Sacramento County, Eric Maness, Jamie Lewis, and AnnMarie Boylan have filed a Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6).*fn1

For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion is granted in part and denied in part.*fn2


Plaintiff was arrested for misdemeanor driving under the influence in January 2009. Sacramento officers arrested and booked him into the Sacramento County Jail, and placed him in a sobering cell since he was still under the influence of alcohol at the time of booking. During his incarceration, Plaintiff inquired about the time from one of the guards on duty. Plaintiff alleges that he instead learned that it was "time for a beating." Sacramento County Jail guards proceeded to hit, punch, and kick Plaintiff, who sustained multiple injuries, including a fractured right elbow, and a boot imprint on his face. Plaintiff subsequently went to see the jail nurse, who failed to take note of the extent of his injuries, or note on the chart the unmistakable boot print on his forehead. After being released, Plaintiff had to undergo extensive treatment for the injuries he received while incarcerated.


On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), all allegations of material fact must be accepted as true and construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). Rule 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," to "give the defendant fair notice of what the...claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations and quotations omitted). Though "a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion" need not contain "detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555 (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 2869 (1986)). A plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. (citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216 (3d ed. 2004) ("[T]he pleading must contain something more...than...a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.")).

Further, "Rule 8(a)(2)...requires a 'showing,' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirements of providing...grounds on which the claim rests."

Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 (internal citations omitted). A pleading must then contain "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. If the "plaintiffs...have not nudged their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, their complaint must be dismissed." Id.

Once the court grants a motion to dismiss, they must then decide whether to grant a plaintiff leave to amend. Rule 15(a) authorizes the court to freely grant leave to amend when there is no "undue delay, bad faith, or dilatory motive on the part of the movant." Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). In fact, leave to amend is generally only denied when it is clear that the deficiencies of the complaint cannot possibly be cured by an amended version. See DeSoto v. Yellow Freight Sys., Inc., 957 F.2d 655, 658 (9th Cir. 1992); Balistieri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990) ("A complaint should not be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.") (internal citations omitted).


Plaintiff's First, Second and Sixth Causes of Action for excessive force and battery are not contested by Defendants. The remaining causes of action are at issue, however, and are addressed in turn below.

A. Third and Fourth Causes of Action - Entity Liability

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants are maintaining a de facto policy of not reporting obvious evidence of jail employees' use of excessive force in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and precedent established under Monell v. New York City Dept. of Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658 (1978). As a direct result of the policy, and by failing to properly train jail employees, Plaintiff argues his injuries went unrecorded and ...

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