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Dankemeyer v. County of Calaveras

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 28, 2014

ROBERT DANKEMEYER, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF CALAVERAS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS (ECF No. 3, 14) AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

Currently before the Court are two motions to dismiss filed by Defendants pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.

I.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Robert Dankemeyer, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Calaveras on April 30, 2014. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendants Calaveras County, Lucas Mack, Tom Oldham, Greg Stark, Eric Vaughn, Dwayne Phipps, Joy Lynch, and Paul Beckham alleging violations of his rights under the Eighth Amendment and state law claims arising out of an arrest that occurred on May 11, 2012. On June 26, 2014, Defendants removed this action to the Eastern District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1441.

On July 1, 2014, Defendants Calaveras County, Lucas Mack, Tom Oldham, Dwayne Phipps, Greg Stark, and Eric Vaughn ("County Defendants") filed a motion to dismiss. On July 31, 2014, Defendant Paul Beckham filed a motion to dismiss. Plaintiff did not file a timely opposition to either motion to dismiss.

II.

COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS

The incident alleged in the complaint occurred on May 11, 2012 at the Union 76 Mini Mart located at 33 Hwy. 26 in Valley Springs, California. Plaintiff alleges that while he was being restrained by Calaveras County deputies Defendants Mack and Oldham, Defendant Beckham arrived on the scene. Plaintiff states that he was physically restrained, handcuffed and face down on the ground in the control of Defendants Mack and Oldham when Defendant Beckham applied a control hold to his legs by crossing his legs behind his back with so much pressure that it caused a severe fracture to his left leg.

Defendants Mack and Oldham transported Plaintiff to the Calaveras County Jail. Upon arriving at the jail, Plaintiff states that he told Defendants Mack, Oldham, Stark, Vaughn, Phipps, and Lynch that his leg was broken, he could not walk, and he needed immediate medical attention. Plaintiff contends that the defendants caused more damage to his leg by requiring him to walk from the patrol car into the jail and did not provide immediate medical care. Plaintiff brings his first cause of action against the County defendants for general negligence under state law; his second cause of action against Defendant Beckham and his third cause of action against the County defendants for violations of his civil rights.

III.

LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may file a motion to dismiss on the grounds that a complaint "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In assessing the sufficiency of a complaint, all well-pleaded factual allegations must be accepted as true. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678-79. However, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. at 678.

In deciding whether a complaint states a claim, the Ninth Circuit has found that two principles apply. First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth the allegations in the complaint "may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively." Starr v. Baca , 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). Second, so that it is not unfair to require the defendant to be subjected to the expenses associated with discovery and continued litigation, the factual allegations of the complaint, which are taken as true, must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief. Starr , 652 F.3d at 1216.

IV.

DISCUSSION

A. County Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

County Defendants move to dismiss the first and third cause of actions for failure to state a claim on the grounds that 1) Plaintiff's cause of action for negligence fails to state a claim for failure to allege compliance with the California State Tort Claim Act; 2) Plaintiff did not file within six months of rejection of his claim by the County; 3) Plaintiff's third cause of action is insufficient to allege a violation of the Eighth Amendment; 4) Plaintiff has failed to allege a statutory right to seek damages; 5) California Government Code section 845.6 is an immunity provision of the California Tort Claim Act and ...


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