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Rachel Lewis, et al. v. County of San Bernardino

December 14, 2011

RACHEL LEWIS, ET AL.
v.
COUNTY OF SAN BERNARDINO, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Present: Honorable VIRGINIA A. Phillips, U.S. District Judge

PRIORITY SEND

JS-6

CIVIL MINUTES -- GENERAL

Marva Dillard None Present Courtroom Deputy Court Reporter

ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR PLAINTIFFS:

ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR DEFENDANTS:

None None

PROCEEDINGS: MINUTE ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO DISMISS IN PART AND REMANDING ACTION TO THE CALIFORNIA SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF SAN BERNARDINO (IN CHAMBERS)

Before the Court are a Motion to Dismiss ("County's Motion") filed by Defendants County of San Bernardino, Deputy District Attorney Michael Ramos, *fn1 Laquisha Bland, and Deputy Thomas Dickey (collectively, "County Defendants"), and a Motion to Dismiss ("State's Motion") filed by Defendants State of California and California Highway Patrol Officer Craig Bissett (collectively, "State Defendants"). After considering the papers in support of, and opposition to, the Motions, the Court GRANTS the County's Motion in part, GRANTS the State's Motion in part, and REMANDS the action to the California Superior Court for the County of San Bernardino.

I. BACKGROUND

Allegations Between June 6, 2010, and June 22, 2010, Richard Lewis ("Decedent") was coerced by Defendant Ramos of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office to cooperate in an investigation of Decedent's family. (Not. of Removal (Doc. No. 1), Ex. A ("Compl.") ¶ 1.)*fn2

On June 21, 2010, in response to reports of erratic driving, California Highway Patrol Officer Bissett pulled over Decedent as he was driving southbound on Interstate 15. (Id. ¶ 2.) Bissett arrested Decedent for violating California Vehicle Code section 23152(a), driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or drug.

At the time of the arrest, Bissett searched Decedent's vehicle and "discovered, or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have discovered" books about committing suicide and using firearms, and containers of prescription medication for the treatment of an unspecified medical disability. (Compl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff contends these items are evidence Decedent was "committing suicide" at the time Officer Bissett pulled him over.

Bissett transported Decedent to the San Bernardino County West Valley Detention Center, where the Decedent was booked and subjected to a medical screening. (Compl. ¶ 4.) Later that evening, the County Defendants released Decedent. Twelve hours later, on June 22, 2010, Decedent fatally shot himself in the chest at his residence in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Compl. ¶ 5.)

Procedural History

On July 11, 2011, Plaintiffs Rachel Lewis and R.L.*fn3 filed their complaint against Defendants in the California Superior Court for the County of San Bernardino, asserting three claims for relief:

1. Deprivation of Plaintiffs' constitutionally-protected companionship interest under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, in violation of the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause (against Defendants ...


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