Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

William James v. County of Sacramento et al

June 11, 2012

WILLIAM JAMES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff is a former pretrial detainee proceeding pro se with a civil rights action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the court on a motion to dismiss brought on behalf of defendants County of Sacramento, John McGinness, Eric Maness, Mark Filer, Ernesto Necoechea, and Michael Sotak. Plaintiff has filed an opposition to the motion, and defendants have filed a reply.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is proceeding on his original complaint against defendants County of Sacramento, John McGinness, Eric Maness, Mark Filer, Nurse Ernesto Necoechea, and Dr. Michael Sotak. Therein, he alleges that on or about March 3, 2008, he was a pretrial detainee at the Sacramento County Mail Jail. According to plaintiff, county jail officials were aware that he suffered from a seizure disorder. Plaintiff alleges that he submitted a Miscellaneous Medical Needs form to jail staff and indicated that he needed to be housed on a lower tier and assigned to a lower bunk to avoid the risk of falling down stairs or from an upper bunk. However, on March 7, 2008, county jail officials assigned plaintiff to a cell on the second tier of the fourth floor of the jail. Plaintiff informed the officers escorting him to his assigned cell about his seizure disorder and showed them the Miscellaneous Medical Needs form, but they nevertheless instructed him to go to his cell. Plaintiff then showed the Miscellaneous Medical Needs form to the officers in the control tower, and they too instructed him to return to his cell. (Compl. at 3.)

On or about March 19, 2008, while transferring from his cell to another location, plaintiff had a seizure while at the top of the stairs that led from the second tier to the first tier of the floor. Plaintiff fell down the stairs and suffered serious injuries and pain as a result of the fall. Plaintiff was transported to Sutter Medical Center by ambulance in a semi-conscious state and remained in the intensive care unit for three days. While at Sutter, plaintiff was diagnosed with an intercerebral hemorrhage and severe sciatic-like pain. On March 21, 2008, plaintiff was released from Sutter Medical Center and transported back to the main jail. He was then transported to a medical cell in a wheelchair. Defendant Filer told plaintiff to get out of the wheelchair and lie on the mattress on the floor of his cell. Plaintiff told the defendant that he needed the wheelchair and that he was in too much pain to get out of the wheelchair. Defendant Filer consulted with defendants Nurse Necoechea and Dr. Sotak who, without examining plaintiff, opined that he did not need a wheelchair. Defendant Filer then asked defendant Kendrick to assist him in distracting plaintiff while defendant Filer tipped the wheelchair and dumped plaintiff onto the floor. Neither defendant Filer nor defendant Kendrick attempted to assist or lift plaintiff out of the wheelchair. Defendants Filer, Kendrick, Nurse Necoechea, and Dr. Sotak then left plaintiff on the floor and laughed at his complaints of pain. Plaintiff alleges that he suffered severe pain in his legs and back after this incident. Finally, on April 17, 2009, after conducting a medical evaluation, a jail physician signed a Miscellaneous Medical Needs form for plaintiff reiterating that plaintiff needed a lower bunk on a lower tier and also needed a wheelchair. (Compl. at 3-4.)

Plaintiff asserts the following claims in his complaint: (1) the defendants, not including the County of Sacramento, violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights when they were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs; (2) defendants Filer, Kendrick, Nurse Necoechea, and Dr. Sotak violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights when they used excessive force against him; (3) the defendants violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the Rehabilitation Act ("RA") when they failed to accommodate his seizure disorder by housing him in an inappropriate cell and by depriving him of a wheelchair; (4) - (5) defendants County of Sacramento, McGinness, and Maness violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights when they failed to supervise and adequately train jail staff and maintained policies that were the moving force behind the violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights; (6) defendants Nurse Necoechea, Dr. Sotak, Filer, and Kendrick violated California Government Code § 845.6; (7) defendants, not including the County of Sacramento, violated California Government Code § 820; (8) defendants violated California Government Code §§ 11135-11139; and (9) defendants McGinness and Maness were negligent in their supervision, training, hiring and retention. In terms of relief, plaintiff requests monetary damages. (Compl. at 5-13.)

DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

I. Defendants' Motion

Defense counsel has filed the pending motion to dismiss based on the following grounds: (1) plaintiff's fourth and fifth Monell claims against defendants McGinness, Maness, Filer, Nurse Necoechea, and Dr. Sotak in their official capacity should be dismissed as redundant because plaintiff names the County of Sacramento as a defendant in these claims for relief; (2) plaintiff's second claim against defendants Nurse Necoechea and Dr. Sotak should be dismissed because he has not alleged that they used force against him; (3) plaintiff's third claim against defendants Filer, McGinness, Maness, Nurse Necoechea, and Dr. Sotak should be dismissed as there is no individual liability under the ADA and RA; and (4) plaintiff's state law claims should be dismissed as barred by the statute of limitations. (Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss at 1 & 5-8.)

II. Plaintiff's Opposition

In a brief opposition to defendants' motion to dismiss, plaintiff reiterates many of the allegations of his complaint. In this regard, plaintiff directs the court to review the claims defendants seek to dismiss. Plaintiff also contends that a claims administrator who works on behalf of the county agreed that plaintiff could submit a reasonable offer to settle his state law claims. In plaintiff's view, this purported agreement voided any previous rejection of his state law claims and presumably advanced the start date of the statute of limitations on his claims to a later date. (Pl.'s Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss at 1-4 & Attachs.)

III. Defendants' Reply

In reply, defense counsel argues that plaintiff does not oppose defendants' argument that the court should dismiss his fourth and fifth claims against defendants McGinness, Maness, Filer, Nurse Necoechea, and Dr. Sotak in their official capacity as redundant. In addition, defense counsel argues that plaintiff does not oppose defendants' argument that the court should dismiss his second claim against defendants Nurse Necoechea and Dr. Sotak because he does not allege that these defendants used force against him. In fact, plaintiff reiterates in his opposition that these defendants allegedly violated his constitutional rights because they failed to "properly medically examine him." Next, defense counsel notes that plaintiff's opposition merely restates his ADA and RA allegations, but since plaintiff cannot state a claim against the defendants in their individual capacity they should be dismissed. Finally, defense counsel repeats that plaintiff's state law claims are untimely and notes that insofar as plaintiff argues that the defendants should be equitably estopped from asserting a statute of limitations defense, plaintiff has failed to prove the requirements for estoppel. (Defs.' Reply at 1-2.)

ANALYSIS

I. Motion Pursuant to Rule ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.