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Drouin v. Skallet

United States District Court, N.D. California

June 15, 2017

TONI DROUIN, Plaintiff,
v.
MARIA SKALLET, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS FOURTH AMENDED COMPLAINT RE: DKT. NO. 94

          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 April 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed a fourth amended complaint against the County and individual Defendants Deputy Christina Rodriguez, Nurse Maria Skallet, Nurse Brenda Baldwin, Nurse Joung Soon Park, and Nurse Librada Bacalzo. (Fourth Amended Compl. ("FAC"), Dkt. No. 91.) Against these individual Defendants, Plaintiff also alleged violations of her Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. (FAC ¶ 24.)

         On April 27, 2017, the parties filed a stipulated dismissal of Defendants Park and Baldwin. (Dkt. No. 95.) Defendants Rodriguez and Bacalzo now move to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint against them. (Defs.' Mot., Dkt. No. 94.) Upon consideration of the parties' filings, as well as the arguments presented at the June 1, 2017 motion hearing, and for the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff is partially paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury. (FAC ¶ 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.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Rodriguez was present in Plaintiff's jail "pod" at the time Plaintiff fell, "which was accompanied by a loud popping sound when Plaintiff's femur bone fractured; the popping sound was loud enough to have been heard and was heard by everyone in the pod, including D[efendant] Rodriguez." (Id. ¶ 14.) Afterwards, Defendant Rodriguez ignored "Plaintiff's multiple pleas for medical care for her injury on March 15, 16, and 17, 2015." (Id.)

         On the day of her injury, Plaintiff was examined by Nurse Park, who determined that there were no signs of fracture to Plaintiff's leg. (Id. ¶ 15.) On March 17, 2015, Plaintiff was examined by Nurse Baldwin, who likewise did not find a fracture but instead diagnosed Plaintiff as having a "knee injury." (Id. ¶ 16.)

         Some days after Plaintiff's injury, Plaintiff was prescribed more powerful pain medication and became violently ill, nauseous, and was vomiting frequently. (Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff informed Defendant Bacalzo that she "had suffered a severe leg injury, had been prescribed medication that was making her sick, was experiencing extreme nausea and frequent vomiting, and that she was therefore requesting a modified diet to combat these symptoms . . . ." (Id.) Defendant Bacalzo failed to provide the modified diet, instead replying 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 a third amended complaint on November 17, 2016, in which Plaintiff for the first time named the individual defendants. (Dkt. No. 54.) On February 8, 2017, the individual defendants moved to dismiss the third amended complaint against them. (Dkt. No. 62.) On April 4, 2017, the Court denied the motion as to Defendant ...


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