United States District Court, E.D. California
For Jermaine Padilla, Plaintiff: Lori Rifkin, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rifkin Law Office, Oakland, CA.
For Jeffrey Beard, Michael Stainer, Connie Gipson, Dave Davies, Ernest Wagner, Dr., M. Godina, R. Pruneda, R. Martinez, J. Acevedo, C. Garcia, E. Silva, M. Drew, Defendants: Diana Esquivel, LEAD ATTORNEY, Attorney General's Office of the State of California, Sacramento, CA.
Kimberly J. Mueller, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
This matter is before the court on defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff Jermaine Padilla's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defs.' Mot. ECF 15. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Also before the court is defendants' objection to evidence. Reply & Objection to Evidence (" Reply") ECF 18. The court heard argument on October 10, 2014. Lori Rifkin appeared for plaintiff and Diana Esquivel, Deputy Attorney General, appeared for defendants. For the following reasons, defendants' motion is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part.
A. Procedural Background
On May 6, 2014, plaintiff Jermaine Padilla filed a complaint against defendants Jeffrey Beard, Michael Stainer, Connie Gipson, Dave Davey,  Ernest Wagner, M.D., M. Godina, M. Drew, R. Pruneda, R. Martinez, J. Acevedo, C. Garcia, E. Silva and Does 1-10 (" Defendants"), all of whom are current and former California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (" CDCR") officials, supervisors, correctional officers, or mental health staff at California State Prison Corcoran (" CSP-Corcoran"). Plaintiff alleges seven causes of action: (1) excessive force; (2) failure to provide adequate medical and mental health treatment; (3) failure to protect from harm; (4) violation of due process; (5) discrimination on basis of disability; and (6) professional negligence/medical malpractice. Compl. ECF No. 1. The claims arise under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (" ADA"), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794a (" RA"), and California state law governing negligence.
On June 30, 2014, defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss. ECF No. 15. Plaintiffs filed an opposition on July 28, 2014. Opp'n ECF No. 17. Defendants filed a reply on August 4, 2014, which was accompanied by an objection to evidence. Reply & Objection ECF No. 18.
B. Factual Allegations
Plaintiff's complaint contains the following allegations. Jermaine Padilla was sentenced to ten months of incarceration in state prison in early 2012. Compl. ¶ 24 ECF No. 1. After serving approximately four-and-a-half months of his sentence, on or about May 3, 2012, he was transferred to CSP-Corcoran. Id. Padilla was placed in an Administrative Segregation Unit designated for prisoners with mental disorders or who are mentally ill. Id. ¶ 25. Padilla was in treatment and on medication in the initial weeks of his incarceration at CSP-Corcoran. Id. ¶ ¶ 28-35. Notes from mental health professionals in the first two weeks of June 2012 indicate Padilla was experiencing paranoia, and appeared psychotic, delusional, and illogical. Id. ¶ 30. On June 20, 2012, the treatment team decided to place Padilla under observation for a month. Id. ¶ 33. Health records show Padilla had been refusing medication for at least three weeks. Id. On July 1, 2012, Padilla was transferred to the Mental Health Crisis Bed unit (" MHCB") because of suicidal ideation and continued mental health issues. Id. ¶ 35. The MHCB provides temporary inpatient mental health services. Id. ¶ 37. CDCR policies governing the MHCB place a ten-day maximum limit on the length of stay before patients should be referred to inpatient treatment and hospitalization. Id. ¶ 33. Padilla spent approximately 45 days in the MHCB. Id. ¶ 114.
While in the MHCB, Padilla met with defendant Dr. Wagner, a psychiatrist. Id. ¶ 39. Treatment notes throughout July indicate Padilla was " likely psychotic" " grossly disheveled, " " refusing to meet with clinical staff, " " refusing meals, " " heard yelling" and reflected " diagnoses of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression." Id. ¶ ¶ 44, 47. At one point, Padilla was found sitting naked in his cell in his own urine. Id. ¶ 45. Documentation from this time shows Padilla was considered for involuntary medication, though no steps were taken to initiate such treatment. Id. ¶ 46.
On approximately July 18, 2012, defendant Dr. Wagner ordered Padilla discharged from the MHCB. Id. ¶ 50. That discharge order was rescinded by another unknown individual. Id. ¶ 52.
Padilla's mental health continued to deteriorate. Id. ¶ 53. Treatment notes on July 21, 2012 indicate Padilla was " observed to be psychotic and gravely disabled" and " had smeared feces, peanut butter and food remains upon a dried puddle of urine, and was lying naked on the cell floor. Id. Treatment notes on July 23, 2012 state that Padilla's cell " was disgustingly dirty, and the mattress was smeared with filth." Id. ¶ 55. Padilla had occasional outbursts, and told staff he was hearing voices. Id. ¶ ¶ 54, 55. On July 24, Padilla " smeared himself with feces and flooded the cell." Id. ¶ 56. That day, defendant Dr. Wagner ordered that staff forcibly extract Padilla from his cell and administer emergency involuntary medication. Id. ¶ 56.
CDCR supervising officers assembled an extraction team consisting of defendants Godina, Drew, Pruneda, Martinez, Acevedo, Garcia, and Does 1-3. Id. ¶ 59. This extraction was video recorded. Id. ¶ 60. The team, dressed in gas masks and white plastic bio-hazard suits and armed with handcuffs, leg irons, batons, a body shield, and canisters of oleoresin capsicum (" pepper spray") approached Padilla's cell. They made their presence known and warned him that if he did not submit to voluntary restraints, he would be " forcibly extracted and disciplined." Id. ¶ 66. The officers then sprayed Padilla with pepper spray for approximately eleven seconds. Id. ¶ 68. Officers continued to use pepper spray six separate times even as they ordered Padilla to " cuff up." Id. ¶ ¶ 71-78. Padilla appeared confused and frightened, and defendant Doe 1 recorded in the incident report of this extraction that Padilla " was clearly not capable of submitting to handcuffs due to his mental state." Id. ¶ 77.
Eventually, the officers entered the cell and used the body shield to pin Padilla to the floor. Id. ¶ 80. Padilla was restrained and held down by the officers, and the team dragged him naked along the floor and placed him in arm and leg restraints. Id. ¶ ¶ 83-85. They wheeled Padilla naked on a gurney into an empty room. Id. ¶ 85. They then transferred him to the restraint bed and locked him in 5-point restraints, as instructed by defendant Dr. Wagner. Id. ¶ 86. Padilla can be heard in the video pleading and asking for help or someone to listen. Id. ¶ 89. Defendant Dr. Wagner was present and observed the entire incident. Id. ¶ 96. No one responded to Padilla's pleas, or addressed him while he was in the restraints, with the exception of one officer telling him to " relax." Id. ¶ ¶ 89-94.
Padilla was kept in the restraints for a continuous 72 hours. Id. ¶ 99. He was not decontaminated, nor was he allowed to stand up and use the bathroom, so he was forced to urinate on himself, the bed, and the floor. Id. ¶ 101. Padilla repeatedly requested to have the restraints removed. Id. ¶ 102. According to treatment notes, defendant Dr. Wagner ordered the continuation of the restraints because Padilla " refused to take responsibility for the incident." Id. ¶ 104. After 72 hours, another psychiatrist ordered Padilla's release from the restraints. Id. ¶ 107. A video of this incident was viewed by CDCR officials, as required by CDCR policy, but no corrective action or investigation was initiated. Id. ¶ 110.
After the restraints were removed, Padilla continued to be housed in the MHCB. Id. ¶ 118. On or about August 14, 2012, Padilla was re-housed in the Administrative Segregation Unit. Id. Over the next few months, defendants moved Padilla back and forth between the Administrative Segregation Unit and the MHCB. His mental health continued to deteriorate, and on October 3, 2012, Padilla was referred to an inpatient hospital. Id. ¶ 124. He was transferred to the hospital a month later, on November 7, 2012. Id. There, Padilla's mental health stabilized. Id. ¶ 125.
In connection with the July 24, 2012 extraction, Padilla was charged with a rule violation for " obstructing a peace officer in the performance of his duties in the use of force." Id. ¶ 127. As part of the hearing process, a CDCR clinician completed a mental health assessment and found, in relevant part, that Padilla " didn't seem to understand consequences of not complying with a custody officer." Id. ¶ 128. Despite this assessment, Padilla was found guilty and assessed 90 days loss of credit and 30 days loss of privileges, including loss of dayroom, TV/radio, visits, family visits, special purchase, telephone, and quarterly package. Id. ¶ 129. Throughout Padilla's 2012 incarceration, he was repeatedly charged and found guilty of rule violations related to his behavior, which extended his time of incarceration. Id. ¶ 130. He was released on February 14, 2013. Id. ¶ 8.
As a result of the preceding incidents, Padilla experienced and continues to experience severe physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering, and these actions exacerbated his mental illness. Id. ¶ ¶ 132-133. He seeks declaratory relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, reasonable cost of the suit and attorney's fees and any further relief the court may deem just, proper, and appropriate. Id. at 31.
II. OBJECTION TO EVIDENCE
Plaintiff has submitted with his opposition a declaration from his attorney. Plaintiff requests the court consider the declaration in its determination of plaintiff's compliance with the California Tort Claims Act. Defendants object and move to strike the declaration as improper extrinsic evidence. See ECF No. 17-1. A court may consider certain materials -- documents attached to the complaint, documents incorporated by reference in the complaint, or matters of judicial notice -- without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. See Van Buskirk v. CNN, 284 F.3d 977, 980 (9th Cir. 2002). In its discretion, the court denies the motion to strike and considers the declaration for the limited purpose of determining whether granting plaintiff leave to amend to plead the facts in the declaration would be futile.
III. LEGAL STANDARD FOR MOTION TO DISMISS
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a complaint for " failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." A court may dismiss " based on the lack of cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
Although a complaint need contain only " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), to survive a motion to dismiss this short and plain statement " must contain sufficient factual matter . . . to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A complaint must include something more than " an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation" or " 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action . . . .'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Determining whether a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is a " context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. Ultimately, the inquiry focuses on the interplay between the factual allegations of the complaint and the dispositive issues of law in the action. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984).
In making this context-specific evaluation, this court " must presume all factual allegations of the complaint to be true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Usher v. City of Los Angeles, 828 F.2d 556, 561 (9th Cir. 1987). This rule does not apply to " a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation, " Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106 S.Ct. 2932, 92 L.Ed.2d 209 (1986), quoted in Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, nor to " allegations that contradict matters properly subject to judicial notice, " or to material attached to or incorporated by reference into the complaint. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001). A court's consideration of documents either attached to a complaint or incorporated by reference, ...