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Drouin v. Contra Costa County

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 3, 2017

TONI DROUIN, Plaintiff,
v.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO DISMISS RE: DKT. NO. 62

          KANDIS A. WESTMORE United States Magistrate Judge

         On August 12, 2015, Plaintiff Toni Drouin filed the instant 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit against Contra Costa County ("County") and Doe Defendants, alleging violations of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) On November 17, 2016, Plaintiff filed a third amended complaint, which for the first time also named individual Defendants Deputy Geist, Deputy Christina Rodriguez, Nurse Maria Skallet, Nurse Brenda Baldwin, Nurse Joung Soon Park, and Nurse Librada Bacalzo. (Third Amended Compl., TAC, Dkt. No. 54.) Against these individual Defendants, Plaintiff also alleged violations of her Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. (TAC ¶ 24.)

         Defendants Rodriguez, Skallet, Park, and Bacalzo now move to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint against them.[1] (Defs.' Mot., Dkt. No. 62.) The Court deems the matter suitable for disposition without hearing pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), and VACATES the hearing set for March 16, 2017. Having considered the papers filed by the parties and the relevant legal authority, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the motion to dismiss, for the reasons set forth below.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff is partially paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury. (TAC ¶ 5.) This is "readily apparent upon casual observation of [her] movements." (Id. ¶ 9.) On March 13, 2015, Plaintiff was in the County's custody, and was transferred from Martinez Jail to West County Detention Center. (Id. ¶ 8.) Although the Martinez Jail had appropriate handicapped facilities, the section of the West County Detention Center to which Plaintiff was transferred did not. (Id.)

         During her processing, Plaintiff repeatedly informed Defendant Skallet about the nature of her disability, specifically regarding her medical need for a wheelchair. (Id. ¶ 10.) Defendant Skallet allegedly failed to properly note Plaintiff's need for a wheelchair, instead making a note that Plaintiff could "only walk with crutches." (Id.) Plaintiff was given crutches, which she could not use safely, instead of a wheelchair. (Id. ¶ 11.)

         On March 15, 2015, Plaintiff fell and broke her femur bone, causing excruciating pain. (Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff alleges that she did not receive medical attention until four days later, despite her unbearable pain and repeated pleas for medical care. (Id. ¶ 13.) With respect to the individual Defendants, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Geist and Rodriguez ignored her pleas for medical care on March 15, 16, and 17. (Id. ¶ 14.) On March 15, 2015, Defendant Park "made only a cursory examination of [her] . . ., and unreasonably determined that there were 'no signs of fracture to right leg, '" before clearing Plaintiff to remain in the facility without ordering further testing or treatment. (Id. ¶ 15.) On March 17, 2015, Defendant Baldwin "unreasonably considered Plaintiff's distal femoral fracture to be nothing more than a 'knee injury, ' and denied Plaintiff the extra mattress that Plaintiff was requesting." (Id. ¶ 16.)

         Several days after her injury, Plaintiff was prescribed more powerful pain medication but became violently ill and nauseous, and was vomiting frequently. (Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Bacalzo "failed to take any action, and in response to Plaintiff's request for a modified diet responded indifferently that 'everyone gets the same food' and that Plaintiff would not receive 'special treatment.'" (Id.)

         As a result of severe infections from her injury, Plaintiff has been hospitalized repeatedly, and the affected leg may need to be amputated. (Id. ¶ 18.)

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed the instant action on August 12, 2015. On October 14, 2015, Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint. (Dkt. No. 9.) The Court granted in part and denied in part the motion, finding that Plaintiff had not alleged sufficient facts to state a viable Monell claim. (Mot. to Dismiss Ord., Dkt. No. 22.) Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on November 30, 2015, and Defendant County filed its answer on December 29, 2015. (Dkt. Nos. 23, 26.)

         Plaintiff filed the operative complaint on November 17, 2016, and Defendants Rodriguez, Skallet, Park, and Bacalzo timely moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint against them. Defendants also filed a request for judicial notice. (Request for Judicial Notice, RJN, Dkt. No. 63.) Plaintiff filed her opposition to Defendants' motion and the request for judicial notice on February 22, 2017. (Plf.'s Opp'n, Dkt. No. 67; Plf.'s Opp'n to RJN, Dkt. No. 68.) Defendants filed their replies as to the motion and request for judicial notice on March 1, 2017. (Defs.' Reply, Dkt. No. 69; Defs.' Reply re RJN, Dkt. No. 70.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Request for Judicial Notice

         A district court may take judicial notice of facts not subject to reasonable dispute that are "capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned." Fed.R.Evid. 201(b); United States v. Bernal-Obeso, 989 F.2d 331, 333 (9th Cir. 1993). A court may, therefore, take judicial notice of matters of public record. United States v. Wilson, 631 F.2d 118, 119 (9th Cir. 1980).

         B. Motion to Dismiss

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may file a motion to dismiss based on the failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the claims asserted ...


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