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Reina Maribel Campos, Individually and Successor In Interest To Steve v. County of Los Angles; Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department; Sheriff

August 23, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge



Presently before the court is Defendants County of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, and Sheriff Lee Baca's Motion to Dismiss and to Strike Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the court grants the motion, in part, denies the motion, in part, and adopts the following order.

I. Background

Steve Cabrera ("Decedent") entered Men's Central Jail on October 2007. (SAC ¶ 41.) On January 30, 2008, Decedent attempted to commit suicide, and was diagnosed with a mental condition. (Id.) Decedent was a former gang member, and at some point was placed in protective custody apart from active gang members. (SAC ¶ 42.) Nevertheless, jail staff transferred Decedent out of protective custody and onto a floor with active gang members. (SAC ¶ 43.) Decedent was afraid he would be killed by other inmates, and requested to be transferred back to protective housing. (SAC ¶ 44.) Decedent's requests were denied. (SAC ¶ 45.)

On August 28, 2010, Decedent reported that someone had cut him on the head with a razor. (SAC ¶ 46.) Jail staff provided medical treatment for the cut. (Id.) Roughly one week later, Decedent suffered another razor wound, this time to the arm. (FAC ¶ 47.) Decedent first reported that someone else had cut him, then later reported that he had cut himself. (Id.) Decedent was then transferred to administrative segregation, where he was housed in isolation. (Id.) Decedent was not placed in mental health treatment housing or placed on suicide watch. (SAC ¶ 48.) Approximately one month later, Decedent committed suicide in jail. (SAC ¶ 49.)

Plaintiff Campos, Decedent's mother, and Plaintiff Cardenas, Decedent's wife, filed the instant suit in their individual capacities and as Decedent's successors in interest. Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint alleges three causes of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, one cause of action for general negligence, and three causes of action under state law. Defendants the County, Sheriff's Department, and Sheriff Baca now move to dismiss certain causes of action and to strike portions of the SAC.

II. Legal Standard

A complaint will survive a motion to dismiss when it contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must "accept as true all allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000). Although a complaint need not include "detailed factual allegations," it must offer "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. Conclusory allegations or allegations that are no more than a statement of a legal conclusion "are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Id. at 1950. In other words, a pleading that merely offers "labels and conclusions," a "formulaic recitation of the elements," or "naked assertions" will not be sufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Id. at 1949 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

"When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement of relief." Id. at 1950. Plaintiffs must allege "plausible grounds to infer" that their claims rise "above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief" is a "context-specific" task, "requiring the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950.

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), a court may strike from a pleading any "redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f).

III. Discussion

As an initial matter, several of the arguments raised in Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or Strike are either unopposed by Plaintiffs or abandoned in Defendants' reply. First, Plaintiffs concede that under California Government Code § 844.6(a)(2), the County and Sheriff's Department are immune from Plaintiff's Sixth Cause of Action for negligence. Accordingly, those claims are DISMISSED. Second, Defendants initially argued that Defendant Baca is immune from all three of Plaintiffs' state causes of action under California Government Code § 820.2. (Mot. at 14.). Plaintiffs responded that Section 820.2 applies only to discretionary policy decisions, and that the acts and omissions alleged do not qualify as such. (Opp. at 18-20.) Defendants' reply does not respond to Plaintiffs' argument. The court therefore deems Defendants' arguments with respect to state law immunity abandoned.

A. Standing Defendants argue that Plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the Second and Third Causes of action for violations of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 as Decedent's ...

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