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Edd v. County of Placer

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 16, 2015

TONY C. EDD, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF PLACER, Placer County Sheriff's Department Sheriff EDWARD BONNER; Placer County Department Corrections Commander DON HUTCHINSON; Placer County Sheriff's Department Sheriff Officer KEN SKOGEN; PLACER COUNTY AUBURN JAIL; AND DOES 1-50, inclusive, Defendants.


JOHN A. MENDEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Tony C. Edd ("Plaintiff") sued Placer County for his allegedly unlawful arrest for driving under the influence and the officers' failure to accommodate his medical needs during his arrest and overnight confinement in jail. Defendants move to dismiss on the basis that the complaint shows probable cause for the arrest and that they were not required to provide any further accommodation for Plaintiff's medical needs. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion.[1]


Plaintiff is a 55-year-old man who suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury ("TBI"), bursitis, arthritis, and "multiple bulging vertebral discs." Compl. ¶ 17. These conditions cause "dizziness, unsteady gait, and lack of coordination" as well as difficulty "mov[ing], sit[ting], and l[ying] down." Id.

On September 16, 2013, Placer County Sheriff's Department Officer Ken Skogen ("Defendant Skogen") received a report of a road rage incident involving a U-Haul Plaintiff had been driving. Compl. ¶¶ 23, 29. Defendant Skogen located Plaintiff and the U-Haul, asked Plaintiff several questions about whether he had been drinking, and conducted multiple field sobriety tests. Compl. ¶¶ 28, 30-32. Plaintiff was unable to complete at least one of the tests, because he did not tilt his head back. See Compl. ¶ 32. Plaintiff clarified to Skogen that the reported "road rage" was simply an "amusing" incident in which he "grabbed a short bamboo tiki torch... and played the air guitar and a [sic] little dance in front of [another] vehicle." Compl. ¶ 29. He also explained that he could not tilt his head back because of his disability. Compl. ¶ 32. Defendant Skogen then arrested Plaintiff for driving under the influence. Id.

Upon arrest, Skogen placed Plaintiff in his police car, where he remained for over thirty minutes, before driving him to Placer County Auburn Jail ("the jail"). Compl. ¶ 33. While in the car, Plaintiff claims he experienced "severe pain" due to his "disabilities, the handcuffs and his body position[.]" Id . He alleges that he informed Skogen of these problems, but Defendant Skogen "laughed" and told Plaintiff that there was "plenty of room." Id.

Once at the jail, Plaintiff claims he spent twelve hours in a "very cold" cell and was "forced [] to sit or lie on a concret [sic] floor or narrow metal beach [sic]." Compl. ¶ 36. Plaintiff further alleges he was later placed in an "extremely cold cell for over an hour, " which caused him to "shiver[] uncontrollably." Id . Defendants then released Plaintiff. Compl. ¶ 37.

Plaintiff sued the County of Placer, Placer County Sherriff's Department Officers Skogen and Edward Bonner, Placer County Sherriff's Department Corrections Commander Don Hutchinson, and the jail (collectively, "Defendants"). The complaint (Doc. #3) states eleven causes of action as follows: (1) excessive force, (2) false arrest, (3) "Civil Rights Violation, " (4) Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") violations, (5) assault and battery, (6) false imprisonment, (7) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (8) negligent training, hiring, disciple, and retention, (9) "Unconstitutional Policy, " (10) "Unconstitutional Practices/De Facto Policy, " and (11) deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Defendants moved to dismiss (Doc. #7) and Plaintiff filed an "opposition" stating only that "all defects raised in Defendants' Motion maybe [sic] cured by amendment" (Doc. #9). Plaintiff concurrently filed a "first amended complaint" (Doc. #8). The Court struck the amended complaint as untimely (Doc. #14).

The Court now addresses the merits of Defendants' motion as to the original complaint. The Court disregards the claims that Plaintiff evidenced his intent to abandon (i.e., he omitted them entirely from his untimely amended complaint). These abandoned claims are the first, fifth, and eleventh causes of action and all claims against the jail. The Court also disregards Defendants' reply, because it addresses the merits of the stricken amended complaint.


A. ADA Violations (Fourth Cause of Action)

"Courts have recognized at least two types of Title II claims applicable to arrests: (1) wrongful arrest, where police wrongly arrest someone with a disability because they misperceive the effects of that disability as criminal activity; and (2) reasonable accommodation, where, although police properly investigate and arrest a person with a disability for a crime unrelated to that disability, they fail to reasonably accommodate the person's disability in the course of investigation or arrest[.]" Sheehan v. City & Cnty. of San Francisco, 743 F.3d 1211, 1232 (9th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 135 S.Ct. 702 (Nov. 25, 2014).

Plaintiff here alleges that Defendants failed to accommodate his disability under both these theories at the following times:

1) When Defendant Skogen arrested Plaintiff because Skogen misperceived his TBI and bulging disc symptoms as impairment, Compl. ¶ 19;
2) While Plaintiff was in Defendant Skogen's police car for thirty minutes at the scene of arrest and during the drive to the station, Compl. ¶¶ 33-34; and
3) At the police station when Defendants left Plaintiff in two cold and ...

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