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Hanna v. County of Fresno

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 8, 2014

DOMINIC HANNA, by and through his guardian ad litem, KATHY HENDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF FRESNO, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 29)

LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Dominic Hanna, by and through his guardian ad litem, Kathy Henderson ("Plaintiff"), brings this case due to Defendants' alleged violation of his constitutional rights. Doc. 21, Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"), at 1. Currently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the SAC in its entirety under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on the ground it fails to state a claim for relief against Defendants. For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion.

II. BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff was at all relevant times a pre-trial detainee at the Fresno County Adult Detention Facility ("the jail") in Fresno, California. SAC ¶ 4. Plaintiff brings this case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983") on the ground the County of Fresno ("the County") and various county employees involved in his detention violated his constitutional rights. Id. ¶ 2. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' violation of his constitutional rights "were a direct and legal cause of the permanent mental and physical injuries which result in Plaintiff's physical and mental incapacity." Id. ¶ 4.

Plaintiff was booked into the jail around 9:30P.M. on February 6, 2012. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff was noted to suffer from a bipolar disorder. Id. A release of information was signed and faxed to the pharmacy at Target in Hanford, regarding the medications, Lamictal, [P]laintiff... had been prescribed, and had brought with him to the Jail." Id. Plaintiff alleges that "[a] suicide and mental health assessment was completed by intake staff without qualifications or licensure to do so." Id.

The next day, Plaintiff was observed "pounding the back of his head against his cell bars, " which allegedly caused "a hematoma the size of a tennis ball on the back of his head." Later that day,

Plaintiff Hanna had been heard to say that he did not want to go to trial because he wanted to "end it." Custody staff also saw plaintiff Hanna remove something that looked like socks from his mouth or throat as if he had been trying to gag or choke himself. Custody staff had also seen plaintiff write a letter he chewed up leaving a portion of the letter with the word "final" on it.

Id. ¶ 31. Plaintiff's mental health status was assessed; he was determined to be a danger to himself and was placed into a suicide cell for his safety. Id. ¶ 32.

At approximately 3:30A.M. on February 8, 2012, Defendant Tricia Nekola "determined that [P]laintiff... no longer met suicide cell criteria and recommended that he be removed." Id. ¶ 33. At approximately 10:42P.M., Plaintiff was seen by a jail staff member to obtain a medical records release and the staff member assessed plaintiff's mental health status as not a danger to self at this time.'" Id.

Around 2:30 P.M. on February 9, 2012, Plaintiff attempted to commit suicide by stuffing two socks down his throat and ramming his head into the cell wall. Id. ¶ 34. Medical personnel did not arrive for two to three minutes. Id. CPR was administered on Plaintiff and he was transported to the emergency room. Id.

As a result of his suicide attempt, Plaintiff suffered severe, life-long injuries. Id. ¶ 35. Plaintiff alleges he never received his Lamictal "or any other similar medication" from the time he was booked until his attempted suicide. Id. ¶ 26. P

Plaintiff names the County, seven individuals, and Does 1-through 50, inclusive, as Defendants. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Sheriff Margaret Mims ("Mims") "is ultimately responsible for the health care and safety of prisoners in the jail." Id. ¶ 7. Defendant "Edward Moreno, Director of the Department of Public Health, is responsible for the provision of health care services including mental health care to all prisoners in the jail." Id. ¶ 9. Defendant "Pratap Narayen, the Medical Director of the Division of Correctional Health in the Fresno County Department of Public Health, was at all times responsible for the delivery of health care services to all prisoners in the Jail, including mental health care." Id. 10. Defendant "Karen Nunez, Nursing Services Manager of the Division of Correctional Health in the Fresno County Department of Public Health, is and... was responsible for supervising the operation and administration of health care services in the Jail, including mental health care." Id. ¶ 11. Defendant "Rick Hill, the Captain of Detention in the Jail, is and... herein was responsible for custody operations, prisoner classification, correctional officer training, security emergency response, and prisoner grievances." Id. ¶ 12. Defendant "Marilynn Weldon, Captain of Inmate Programs and Contracts, is and... was responsible for oversight of the contract with the Department of Public Health for the delivery of health care in the Jail." Id. ¶ 13. Defendant "Tricia Nekola, was... a Licensed Vocational Nurse II, at the Jail." Id. ¶ 14. Plaintiff sues all individually named Defendants in their official and individual capacity.

The Doe Defendants "include Jail Psychiatric Services staff, from February 6, 2012 through February 9, 2012, Fresno County employees, employees of Fresno County Department of Public Health, administrators and other personnel." Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiffs allege Doe Defendant 21, the main jail Lieutenant, is the individual "who approved the removal of ...


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