United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
DEBORAH BRANES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action came before the court on June 16, 2017, for hearing of
defendant Sacramento County Jail's motion to dismiss
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Plaintiff Vincent Yee appeared on his own
behalf. Attorney Wendy Motooka appeared on behalf of
defendant Sacramento County Jail.
June 16, 2017 hearing, plaintiff stated that he had filed a
proposed fourth amended complaint (ECF No. 26) and requested
leave to proceed on the fourth amended complaint. Counsel for
the defendant Sacramento County Jail voiced no opposition to
granting plaintiff leave to amend. Accordingly, plaintiff is
granted leave to file a fourth amended complaint and the
proposed fourth amended complaint is now deemed the operative
complaint in this action. Plaintiff, however, is proceeding in
forma pauperis. (ECF No. 3.)
court must dismiss an in forma pauperis case at any time if
the allegation of poverty is found to be untrue or if it is
determined that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails
to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief against an immune defendant. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A complaint is legally frivolous
when it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989);
Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir.
1984). Under this standard, a court must dismiss a complaint
as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless
legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly
baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327; 28 U.S.C. §
state a claim on which relief may be granted, the plaintiff
must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In considering
whether a complaint states a cognizable claim, the court
accepts as true the material allegations in the complaint and
construes the allegations in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S.
69, 73 (1984); Hosp. Bldg. Co. v. Trustees of Rex
Hosp., 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976); Love v. United
States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). Pro se
pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972). However, the court need not accept as true
conclusory allegations, unreasonable inferences, or
unwarranted deductions of fact. Western Mining Council v.
Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981).
minimum requirements for a civil complaint in federal court
are as follows:
A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief . . . shall
contain (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds upon
which the court's jurisdiction depends . . ., (2) a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, and (3) a demand for judgment for the
relief the pleader seeks.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a).
liberally construed, plaintiff's fourth amended complaint
alleges that on October 21, 1998, City of Sacramento Police
Officers Kathleen Fritzche, Harold Penny, and Corey Johnson
arrested Peter Yee and transported him to the Sacramento
County Jail. (4th Am. Compl. (ECF No. 26) at 2-3.) Peter Yee
“yelled out ‘I just want to die' . . . about
50 times at the time of his arrest.” (Id.)
However, defendants Kathleen Fritzche, Harold Penny, and
Corey Johnson failed to notify staff at the Sacramento County
Jail that Peter Yee was at risk for suicide. (Id. at
3.) Peter Yee later committed suicide at the Sacramento
County Jail and plaintiff is “the only surviving
son” of Peter Yee.
prison official's ‘deliberate indifference' to
a substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate violates the
Eighth Amendment.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 828 (1994). “Although the Fourteenth
Amendment's Due Process Clause, rather than the Eighth
Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual
punishment, applies to pretrial detainees . . . we apply the
same standards in both cases.” Simmons v. Navajo
County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1017 (9th Cir. 2010)
In the Ninth Circuit, the test for deliberate indifference
consists of two parts. 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.
Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006)
heightened suicide risk can present a serious medical
need.” Simmons, 609 F.3d at 1018 (citing
Conn v. City of Reno, 591 F.3d 1081, 1095 (9th Cir.
2010)). Moreover, a plaintiff may satisfy the second
deliberate indifference prong “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.” Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096.
construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the
fourth amended complaint alleges that defendants Fritzche,
Penny, and Johnson were aware that plaintiff's father was
at a heightened risk for suicide and failed to respond to
that risk, resulting in harm to the plaintiff. Accordingly,
the undersigned finds that the fourth amended ...