United States District Court, S.D. California
SHANE CAVANAUGH, an individual and as personal representative of the Estate of RICHARD BOULANGER; the Estate of RICHARD BOULANGER, Plaintiffs,
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, a municipal Corporation; Sherriff BILL GORE individually and in his official capacity as Sherriff for the County of San Diego; and DOES 1 to 50, Inclusive, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND [DOC.
ROGER T. BENITEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Shane Cavanaugh
and the Estate of Richard Boulanger (collectively
"Plaintiffs") Motion to Remand to the Superior
Court of the State of California, County of San Diego, from
which it was removed. Defendants oppose the motion, and the
issues are fully briefed.
February 8, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a six-count
complaint against defendants County of San Diego and
Sheriff William Gore (collectively "Defendants")
of the Fourteenth Amendment, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, (2) Deliberate Indifference to
Decedents Medical Needs, (3) Wrongful Death,
(4) Loss oj Familial Relationship, (5) Survival
Action and (6) Monell Claims in the Superior Court
oj California, County of San Diego. (Doc. No.
Defendants were served with the summons and Complaint on
February 27, 2018. On October 26, 2018, Defendants received a
copy of the proposed First Amended Complaint
("FAC") that the Plaintiffs intended to file in the
Superior Court adding defendants Brett Germain, Kevin Kamoss,
Stanley Dixon, Michael Pacheco, and Joseph Reyes.
(Id.) None of the new defendants have been served
with the FAC. Id.
to the FAC, on or before February 12, 2016, Richard Boulanger
(hereinafter "DECEDENT") was arrested and placed in
the custody of Defendants. (Doc. 1 ¶ 13.) At the time of
his arrest Decedent was a known opiate user who was suffering
from symptoms of withdrawal. Id. On February 12,
2016, Decedent's cellmate awoke to find Decedent hanging
by his neck from the upper bunk via a homemade noose
fabricated from a bedsheet. Id. ¶ 14.
pressed the intercom button 4-10 times to obtain medical
assistance for Decedent. Id. ¶ 15. After
receiving no response, cellmate started pounding on the cell
door to get Defendants' attention. Despite cellmates
frantic efforts, approximately 20 minutes elapsed before help
arrived. Id. ¶ 16. Upon observing
Decedent's condition, Defendants ordered him transported
to the UCSD Medical Center where he passed away on February
14, 2016, due to multisystem failure. Id. ¶ 17.
allege that Sheriffs deputies are required to respond to
inmates emergency requests, as well as perform "well
checks" to assess each inmate's well-being
throughout their shift. Id. ¶ 18. In this case,
Plaintiffs claim video surveillance from February 12, 2016,
proves that deputies failed to timely respond to cellmates
intercom alerts, and also did not complete the required
"well check" of Decedent's cell prior to his
suicide attempt that evening. Id. ¶ 19.
Plaintiffs argue that the deputies' failure to perform
the required "well check," or respond timely to
cellmates intercom alert caused a significant delay in
discovering Decedent's suicide attempt and is ultimately
the proximate cause of decedent's death.
filed his Complaint in the Superior Court, County of San
Diego on February 8, 2018. On October 26, 2018,
Defendants' counsel received notice via email of
Plaintiff s intent to file a FAC adding five new Defendants
to replace DOES 1 through 5 and asserting "allegations
of violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983" against each of
the new Defendants. (Doc. No. 1 at 2.) Defendants removed the
case ten days later on November 8, 2018. (Doc. No. 1.) As of
the time of removal, none of the new Defendants had been
served with the FAC. Plaintiff seeks to remand the action
back to state court alleging the motion is untimely and the
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the suit. (Doc.
No. 6.) The matter is now pending before this Court.
federal court is one of limited jurisdiction. Gould v.
Mutual Life Ins. Co. v.N.Y., 790 F.2d 769, 774 (9th Cir.
1986). As such, it cannot reach the merits of any dispute
until it confirms its own subject matter jurisdiction.
Steel Co, v. Citizens for a Better Environ., 523
U.S. 83, 93-94 (1998). The Ninth Circuit "strictly
construe[s] the removal statute against removal
jurisdiction," and "[f]ederal jurisdiction must be
rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in
the first instance." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980
F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).
burden of proving any jurisdictional fact rests upon the
party seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the federal
courts. At any time during the proceedings, a district court
may sua sponte remand a case to state court if the
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case. 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c); Smith v. Mylan Inc., 761 F.3d
1042, 1044 (9th Cir. 2014). In circumstances where a
defendant's removal of the action is objectively
unreasonable, the Court may award attorney's fees under
§ 1447(c). Martin v, Franklin Capital
Corp., 546 U.S. 132, 140-41 (2005).