United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO DISMISS WITH LEAVE TO
AMEND, Re: Dkt. Nos. 44, 52
PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Melynda Logan, Jane Mwangi, and Savitha Quadros's (the
“CFMG Nurses”) motion to dismiss came on for
hearing before this court on July 17, 2019. Dkt. 44.
Defendants Gregory J. Ahern, Carol Burton, Bobbie Cook, Kim
Curtis, Hayley Holland, Nicholas Lagorio, and Joshua
Pape's (the “Alameda Defendants”) motion to
strike came on for hearing before this court on the same
date. Dkt. 52. Plaintiffs appeared through their counsel,
Jamie Goldstein. The CFMG Nurses appeared through their
counsel, Peter Bertling. The Alameda Defendants appeared
through their counsel, Denise Billops-Slone. Having read the
papers filed by the parties and carefully considered their
arguments and the relevant legal authority, and good cause
appearing, the court hereby rules as follows, for the reasons
stated at the hearing and for the following reasons.
lawsuit is brought by the survivors of Logan Masterson
(“Masterson” or the “decedent”), who
committed suicide while an inmate at the Santa Rita Jail
(“SRJ”). See Compl., Dkt. 1 ¶
Tiffany Masterson (in her personal capacity, and as executor
of decedent's estate), and her minor children, Bentley,
Bella, Hailey, and Chloe Masterson (through their respective
guardians ad litem), bring claims against the County of
Alameda (the “County”); Sheriff Gregory J. Ahern;
Deputy Nicholas Lagorio; Sergeant Joshua Pape; Carol Burton,
Interim Director of the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care
Services Agency (“BHCS”); Social Worker Kim
Curtis; Therapist Hayley Holland; Therapist Bobbie Cook
(Curtis, Holland, and Cook are the “BHCS
Providers”); the California Forensic Medical Group
(“CFMG”) and three of its nurses, Savitha
Quadros, Jane Mwangi, and Melynda Logan (Quadros, Mwangi, and
Logan are the “CFMG Nurses”); and Doe defendants
employed by the County of Alameda and CFMG.
assert eight causes of action: (1) 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
Failure to Provide Medical Care in Violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment (alleged against all defendants); (2) 42
U.S.C. § 1983, Failure to Protect from Harm in Violation
of the Fourteenth Amendment (alleged against all defendants);
(3) 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Deprivation of Substantive Due
Process in Violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments
(alleged against all defendants); (4) medical malpractice
under California law (alleged against the County, Burton,
BHCS Providers, CFMG, CFMG Nurses, and Doe defendants); (5)
failure to furnish medical care under California law (alleged
against all defendants); (6) negligent supervision under
California law (alleged against the County, Ahern, CFMG, and
Doe defendants); (7) wrongful death under Cal. Code Civ.
Proc. § 377.60 (alleged against all defendants); and (8)
negligence under California law (alleged against all
County of Alameda contracts with CFMG to provide medical and
mental health services for SRJ's inmates. Compl. ¶
27. “At all relevant times” during his detention,
CFMG was responsible for the “health services”
provided to Masterson. Id. Quadros, Mwangi, and
Logan were registered nurses and CFMG employees during
decedent's detention. Id. ¶¶ 28-30.
prisoner is newly booked into SRJ, as a general matter the
first step of the intake process involves “custody or
medical staff completing a brief” health screening by
conducting a “cursory interview” with the
prisoner. Id. ¶ 69. After the initial
screening, newly booked prisoners are typically interviewed
by medical staff. Id. “Mental health staff
from BHCS play no role in this process.” Id.
had “policies and practices of locking prisoners in
isolation, including prisoners with psychiatric
disabilities[.]” Id. ¶ 43. As a result,
prisoners with psychiatric disabilities lacked
“meaningful access” to SRJ programs and services.
Id. ¶ 52. Defendants also allegedly failed to
provide mentally disabled prisoners with “adequate
mental health care.” Id. ¶ 64. Mental
health care was “provided by or through Defendant
Alameda County.” Id. ¶ 65. Defendants
controlled prisoners' access to psychotropic medication,
therapy, and suicide intervention. Id. ¶ 66.
They failed to adequately train custody, mental health, and
medical care staff on “how to provide appropriate and
timely mental health care.” Id. ¶ 67. As
a result, “custody and health care staff” as a
general matter failed to provide appropriate mental health
screening (id. ¶ 68), adequately identify,
track, and respond to prisoners at risk for suicide
(id. ¶¶ 75-77), properly administer
psychotropic medications (id. ¶ 67), and house
prisoners with serious mental illness in the least
restrictive setting (id.).
was arrested and brought to SRJ on April 4, 2018.
Id. ¶¶ 1, 87. He was initially placed in a
safety cell on suicide watch. Id. ¶ 88. Suicide
watch was discontinued, and on the morning of April 6, 2018,
he was rehoused in Administrative Segregation in Housing Unit
02, which contained a bunk bed and “hanging
points.” Id. ¶ 89. There, he asked for
mental health assistance, but no one responded. Id.
April 8, 2018, at about 2:45 PM, custody officers observed
decedent engage in “strange”
behavior-“flooding his cell by clogging the toilet
and/or sink” and “partially cover[ing] the window
into his cell” with toilet paper. Id.
¶¶ 1, 92. Instead of contacting mental health staff
or otherwise intervening, they ordered the water to be turned
off in his cell. Id. At 3:20 PM, Logorio performed
Masterson's last welfare check before his suicide, which
was “cursory and superficial” because Logorio had
only an obstructed view inside the cell. Id. ¶
93. Over an hour passed without a subsequent welfare check,
and at 4:29 PM, Masterson was found dead in his cell.
Id. ¶¶ 1, 94.
CFMG Nurses now bring a motion to dismiss claims one, two,
and three asserted against them. The Alameda Defendants bring
a motion to strike the portions of the complaint claiming
punitive damages against them.