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Scott v. County of Los Angeles

United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division

September 10, 2019

ALLAN SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          DOUGLAS F. MCCORMICK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In April 2019, Allan Scott (“Plaintiff”) filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Dkt. 1 (“Complaint”). After the Court dismissed the Complaint with leave to amend, see Dkt. 5, Plaintiff filed the operative First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), see Dkt. 6. The FAC names the following defendants: (1) Los Angeles County (“the County”); (2) the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department (“LASD”); (3) Sheriff McDonnell; and (4) Deputy Scotti. See Id. at 3-4. The FAC names the County and LASD in their official capacity only and names McDonnell and Scotti in both their individual and official capacity. See id.

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must screen the FAC to determine whether it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief might be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. As discussed below, the FAC suffers from deficiencies and must be dismissed.

         II.

         SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         Although Plaintiff is currently incarcerated, his claims do not pertain to the conditions of his own confinement. See FAC at 1-2, 5. Instead, Plaintiffs allegations arise out of his fiancée's confinement at the Century Regional Detention Facility (“CRDF”) in Lynwood, California. See id. at 5-6.

         Plaintiff alleges that his fiancée, Jennifer Matthews, was pregnant with their son while in custody at CRDF in 2017. See id. at 2. When Matthews was five months pregnant, Scotti raped and sexually abused her while on duty at CRDF. See id at 2, 5. Matthews reported the events by telephone to Plaintiff, who was not in custody at the time. See id. Upon hearing the news, Plaintiff felt “shocked, hurt, angry, disoriented, and put under duress.” Id. at 5. Plaintiff complains that the abuse caused his newborn son to experience health complications, including “Pre-Mature Birth Complex” and breathing issues. Id. Plaintiffs son was born approximately six months into Matthews's pregnancy, weighed one pound at birth, and remained hospitalized in various intensive care units for six months until being released in April 2019. See id. at 6. Plaintiff “witnessed] firsthand how extreme and life-threatening [his] son's premature health issues were” and found this “emotionally heartbreaking.” Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that the sexual abuse violated his son's constitutional rights under the Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as his own constitutional rights due to the “familial emotional separation and unrest” that ensued. Id. Plaintiff also indicates that Matthews has already filed and settled a lawsuit based on the events in question. See id. at 2; see also Matthews v. Cty. of Los Angeles, No. CV 17-07908-DMG (PLA), (CD. Cal. Apr. 16, 2018), Dkt. 34.

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. See id. at 7.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Dismissal for failure to state a claim “can be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988) (as amended). The complaint is construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff and all material allegations are taken to be true. See Love v. United States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). A complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). This means that the complaint must plead “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.

         “In civil rights cases where the plaintiff appears pro se, the court must construe the pleadings liberally and must afford plaintiff the benefit of any doubt.” Karim-Panahi v. L.A. Police Dep't839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988). “A pro se litigant must be given leave to amend his or her complaint unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.” Id. Before dismissing a pro se civil rights complaint for ...


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