United States District Court, S.D. California
ESTATE OF RONNIE PAUL SANDOVAL and ANA SANDOVAL, an individual, Plaintiffs,
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, a Public Entity; SAN DIEGO COUNTY JAIL, a Public Entity; and DOES 1-100, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS [DOCKET NO.
T. BENITEZ, BENITEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
before the Court are Defendants Romeo De Guzman, Maria
Llamado, and Dana Harris's motion to dismiss
Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint ("FAC").
Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' claims fail to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted under Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and are time barred under California
Government Code § 945.6. Defendants also contend that
Plaintiffs have failed to put the individual nurses on
notice. For the following reasons, the Court denies the
motion to dismiss.
February 22, 2014 Ronnie Paul Sandoval was arrested for
possession of a controlled substance and violating his
parole. (FAC ¶ 15). He was then taken into police
custody and transferred to the San Diego Central Jail. (FAC
¶¶ 16, 18). As Mr. Sandoval was being processed,
Plaintiffs allege he was observed "shaking, "
"sweating profusely, " and being
"disoriented." (FAC ¶ 16). Approximately an
hour later a prison official, Deputy Chavez, observed he
"was still sweating a lot and appeared to be very tired
and disoriented." (FAC ¶ 20). Plaintiffs allege
that it was around this time a fellow inmate also alerted
prison deputies to Mr. Sandoval's poor condition-that he
was "shaking violently and was losing pallor." (FAC
¶ 20). The prison deputies proceeded to take Mr.
Sandoval to the Medical Obervation Unit for "further
medical examination" around 4:47 p.m. (FAC ¶ 21).
being admitted to the Medical Obervaiton Unit Plaintiffs
allege that one of the defendants, nurse DeGuzman, was
explicitly informed that Mr. Sandoval was "diabetic,
sweating profusely, and disoriented." (Pls.'
Opp'n at 3). Despite possessing this information about
Mr. Sandoval's medical condition, Plaintiffs allege that
Mr. Sandoval was not given any medical attention, or even
checked on, for the next eight hours. (FAC ¶ 22).
"Literally no one entered the threshold of his door
until nearly 1:00 a.m. on February 23, 2014." (FAC
¶ 22). Plaintiffs also allege that in addition to
receiving no medical treatment for his symptoms during this
time, Mr. Sandoval was provided neither food nor water. (FAC
12:32 a.m. a deputy approached the medical cell, got no
response from Mr. Sandoval, and took no action. (FAC ¶
23). It was not until approximately 12:52 a.m. on February
23, 2014 that Mr. Sandoval was provided any medical care.
(FAC ¶ 25).
additionally allege deficiencies in the care that was
eventually provided. (FAC ¶ 25). It took Defendants ten
miniutes to call an EMT after witnessing Mr. Sandoval have a
seizure. (FAC ¶ 27). Plaintiffs allege, in addition to
waiting ten minutes, calling an EMT rather then paramedics
violated the County's "Code Blue" policy. (FAC
¶ 27). Defendants also waited thirty minutes to advise a
supervisor of Mr. Sandoval's condition and after being
ordered by the supervisor to call paramedics because EMTs
were inadequate, Defendants still refused to call paramedics.
(FAC ¶ 27). During this time Plaintiffs also allege that
Defendants got into an argument with Deputy Andrade over the
need to call paramedics. (Pls.' Opp'n at 4). Deputy
Andrade was a trained EMT and understood that given Mr.
Sandoval's unresponsive state, EMTs would be unable to
transport him. (Pls.' Opp'n at 4). Plaintiffs allege
that despite the Deputy imploring the nurses to call the
paramedics they still refused. (Pls.' Opp'n at 4).
When EMTs arrived they informed the nurses that they could
not transport Mr. Sandoval and that paramedics were needed.
(FAC ¶ 27). The paramedics did not arrive until around
1:42 a.m, which was approximately an hour after Mr.
Sandoval's seizure. (FAC ¶ 27). When paramedics were
trying to transfer Mr. Sandoval to the gurney, Mr. Sandoval
went into respiratory arrest. (FAC ¶ 27). He was
declared dead at 2:11 a.m. (FAC ¶ 27).
avoid a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a complaint need not contain
detailed factual allegations; rather, it must plead
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Court must
"construe the facts from Plaintiffs' complaint,
which we must deem to be true, in the light most favorable to
them." Marceau v. Blackfeet Hous. Authority,
540 F.3d 916, 919 (9th Cir. 2008). The Court may not dismiss
a complaint "when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Sufficiency of Allegations
assert that the Plaintiffs have failed to plead
"deliberate indifference." "Deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners
constitutes the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain, ' proscribed by the Eighth Amendment."
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976) (quoting
Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 173 (1976)). A
determination of deliberate indifference involves an
examination of two elements:
"First, the plaintiff must show a serious medical need
by demonstrating that failure to treat a prisoner's
condition could result in further significant injury or the
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain. Second, the
plaintiff must show the defendant's response to the need
was deliberately indifferent. This second prong ... is
satisfied by showing (a) a purposeful act or failure to
respond to a prisoner's pain or possible medical need and
(b) harm caused by the indifference."
Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1213 (9th Cir. 2012)
(quoting Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091 (9th Cir.
2006). "Indifference 'may appear when prison
officials deny, delay or intentionally interfere with medical
treatment'." Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096
(quoting Hutchinson v. United States, 838 F.2d 390,
392 (9th Cir. 1988)). However, "an accident, although it
may produce added anguish, is not on that basis alone to be
characterized as wanton infliction of unnecessary pain"
sufficient to demonstrate deliberate indifference.
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105. A defendant must
purposefully ignore or fail to respond to a prisoner's
early pain or possible medical need in order for deliberate
indifference to be established. McGukin v. Smith,
91A F.2d 1050, 1060 (9th Cir. 1986) (overruled on other
grounds by WMX Tech. Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 133
(9th Cir. 1997); see also Tyler v. Smith, 458
Fed.Appx. 597 (9th Cir. 2011) (finding that a prisoner who
had undergone knee surgery stated a claim against the prison
official for deliberate indifference under the Eighth
Amendment by alleging that the prison official had delayed
referral to an orthopedist despite knowing of the
prionser's knee pain).
have pleaded facts that if true, could satisfy the
"deliberate indifference" standard. In their FAC,
Plaintiffs alleged that the deputies were notified as to the
gravity of Mr. Sandoval's condition, sweating
substantially, "shaking violently and was losing
pallor." By the time Mr. Sandoval reached the Medical
Waiting Room Defendant DeGuzman was fully informed that Mr.
Sandoval was "feeling ill, sweating profusely,
disoriented and diabetic." Nevertheless, Plaintiffs
allege that Mr. Sandoval went unseen for the next eight hours
despite being transferred for medical care and showing signs
he needed medical care. It is also alleged that Defendants
Llamado and Harris ignored a deputy's direction that he
needed skilled paramedics rather than less skilled EMTs. (FAC
¶ 27). Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged Mr.
Sandoval's medical need was serious and Defendants
"den[ied], delay[ed], ...