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Flores v. County of Los Angeles

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

July 14, 2014

MARIA G. FLORES, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES and LEE BACA, Defendants-Appellees

Submitted, Pasadena, California March 7, 2014. [*]

Page 1155

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:12-cv-03021-R-SH. Manuel L. Real, District Judge, Presiding.

Civil Rights

The panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Los Angeles County and Sheriff Lee Baca by a plaintiff who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by an unidentified deputy sheriff at a vehicle inspection cite.

The panel held that plaintiff's allegations did not establish that the County or Baca were deliberately indifferent to the risk of sexual assault by deputies on members of the public, nor that the assault on plaintiff was a known or obvious consequence of the alleged lack of training of deputies. Further, the panel held that in view of the penal code of California, which already prohibited such assault, and which law the deputies were sworn to uphold, and in the absence of any pattern of sexual assaults by deputies, plaintiff has also failed to allege facts sufficient to state a claim, plausible on its face, that the alleged failure to train officers not to commit sexual assault constituted deliberate indifference.

Luis A. Carillo, Law Offices of Luis A. Carillo, South Pasadena, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Thomas C. Hurrell and Melinda Cantrall, Hurrell Cantrall LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before: Jay S. Bybee, Carlos T. Bea, and Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Bea.

OPINION

Page 1156

BEA, Circuit Judge:

Plaintiff Maria Flores alleges that after she received a traffic ticket, she drove to a Los Angeles County vehicle inspection site to clear the ticket. There, she alleges, she was sexually assaulted by a deputy sheriff, who is to date unidentified. She now sues the County and its sheriff Lee Baca, claiming the assault was a proximate result of their failure properly to train deputy sheriffs " to ensure that Sheriff's [d]eputies do not sexually assault women that [d]eputies come in contact with." This failure to train is alleged to be a violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights, actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The district court dismissed Flores's claims for failure to state a claim for relief, and she appeals.

Flores's allegations do not establish that the County or Baca were deliberately indifferent to the risk of sexual assault by deputies on members of the public, nor that the assault on Flores was a known or obvious consequence of the alleged lack of training of deputies. Further, in view of the penal code of California,[1] which already prohibited such assault, and which law the deputies were sworn to uphold, and in the absence of any pattern of sexual assaults by deputies, Flores has also failed to allege facts sufficient to state a claim, plausible on its ...


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