United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTIONS TO DISMISS (DOCS. 48, 49)
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Cyrus Ayers killed himself while in custody, the child, E.M.
and his mother, Dana Smithee, filed this lawsuit. They allege
Ayers was not provided proper medical care during his
incarceration at the California Correctional Institution in
Tehachapi and this resulted in his death. In their third
amended complaint, Plaintiffs claim that Defendant Narayan,
Chief Psychiatrist at CCI, and Defendants Seymour and
Celosse, psychologists at CCI, are liable for Ayers'
Litt-Stoner, Seymour, Nesson and Celosse previously moved the
Court to dismiss the action. Because the second amended
complaint failed to state a federal cause of action, the
Court dismissed it with leave to amend. (Doc. 47.) On August
29, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint, which
only includes the following defendants: Narayan, Seymour and
Celosse. (Doc. 45.)
September 20, 2019, Defendants Narayan, Seymour and Celosse
moved the Court to dismiss the action. (Docs. 48, 49.)
Because the third amended complaint still fails to state a
federal cause of action, the Court recommends it be
DISMISSED WITH LEAVE TO AMEND.
about February 2, 2018, Ayers died while in custody. (Doc. 45
at 3.) According to Plaintiffs, Ayers was incarcerated within
the California Corrections system around May 2015. (Doc. 45
at 4.) The Plaintiffs claim that during the entirety of his
incarceration at multiple prisons within the State of
California, Ayers was receiving mental health care. (Doc. 45
at 4.) They allege that around July 2016, Ayers expressed
suicidal ideations, was determined to be a moderate risk of
suicide, and was thereafter placed on a suicide watch. (Doc.
45 at 4.) According to Plaintiffs, in or about July 2017,
while an inmate at Kern Valley State Prison, Ayers overdosed
on prescription medications, which required him to be
hospitalized. (Doc. 45 at 4.)
Plaintiffs claim that Ayers' medical records, presumably
generated while he was housed at KVSP, showed that during
2017, Ayers reported having made multiple suicide attempts
and that efforts were made to help him to stop thinking about
killing himself. (Doc. 45 at 4.) They allege that Ayers'
medical records document risk factors, including a family
history of suicide, self-injurious behavior, assaultive
behavior and suicide attempts. (Doc. 45 at 4.)
to Plaintiffs, around November 2017, Ayers was transferred
from Kern Valley State Prison to CCI. (Doc. 45 at 4.)
Plaintiffs claim that in November 2017, upon being
transferred to CCI, Celosse conducted a suicide risk and
self-harm evaluation, in which she noted that Ayers reported
he wished to be dead, had an intensity ideation score of
“10, ” and “had collected pills in
preparation for suicide.” (Doc. 45 at 5.) They allege that
Celosse reviewed Ayers' previous medical records and
noted that Ayers' condition had significantly worsened
over the previous few months and Ayers had a history of
self-harm and suicide. (Doc. 45 at 5.) Plaintiffs also claim
that in December 2017, Celosse noted that Ayers had
“unremitting symptoms of a serious mental
disorder” and had initiated self-injurious behavior.
(Doc. 45 at 6.) Plaintiffs contend that Celosse chose not to
place Ayers on suicide watch, chose not to recommend Ayers
for suicide watch and chose not to recommend any medical care
to attempt to prevent his eventual suicide. (Doc. 45 at 5-6.)
to Plaintiffs, around December 7, 2017, Ayers told Narayan
that since transferring to CCI, he was not doing as well, and
Ayers told Narayan that he wished he had a higher level of
care, including group therapy and one-on-one sessions with a
clinician. (Doc. 45 at 5.) Plaintiffs claim that Narayan
reviewed Ayers' previous medical records and noted
Ayers' positive history of self-harm and suicide. (Doc.
45 at 5.) Plaintiffs contend that Narayan chose not to place
Ayers on suicide watch, chose not to recommend him for
suicide watch and chose not to recommend any medical care to
attempt to prevent his eventual suicide. (Doc. 45 at 5.)
However, Narayan prescribed “dangerous”
medications for Ayers over the course of approximately two
months and that Narayan did not see Ayers during that time.
(Doc. 45 at 6.)
allege that Seymour reviewed Ayers' previous medical
records and knew he was suicidal, and during a period of
approximately six weeks before his death, on more than four
occasions, Ayers asked Seymour that he be permitted to see
his clinician regarding his mental health, but Seymour denied
these requests. (Doc. 45 at 6.) Plaintiffs claim that Seymour
chose not to place Ayers on a suicide watch, chose not to
recommend him for suicide watch and chose not to recommend
any medical care to attempt to prevent his eventual suicide.
(Doc. 45 at 6.)
contend that around January 8, 2018, CCI staff noted
Ayers' history of “cheeking” medications,
apparently in an attempt to prepare himself to overdose, and
that this record was known by each of the Defendants, though
they fail to indicate when the defendants came to know this.
(Doc. 45 at 6.)
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) “tests the legal
sufficiency of a claim.” Navarro v. Block, 250
F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6)
is appropriate when “the complaint lacks a cognizable
legal theory or sufficient facts to support a cognizable
legal theory.” Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med.
Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097, 1104 (9th Cir. 2008). On a motion
filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “review is limited to
the complaint alone.” Cervantes v. City of San
Diego, 5 F.3d 1273, 1274 (9th Cir. 1993).
of a complaint must be accepted as true when the Court
considers a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees, 425
U.S. 738, 740 (1976). The Supreme Court explained,
“[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The Supreme Court explained:
A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged. 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. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely
consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short
of the line between possibility and plausibility of
‘entitlement to relief.'
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal citations,
quotation marks omitted).
must construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in favor of the plaintiff.
Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969).
“The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately
prevail, but whether the claimant is entitled to offer
evidence to support the claims. Indeed, it may appear on the
face of the pleadings that a recovery is very remote and
unlikely but that is not the test.” Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). However, the Court
“will dismiss any claim that, even when construed in
the light most favorable to plaintiff, fails to plead
sufficiently all required elements of a cause of
action.” Student Loan Marketing Assoc. v.
Hanes, 181 F.R.D. 629, 634 (S.D. Cal. 1998). Leave to
amend should not be granted if “it is clear that the
complaint could not be saved by any amendment.”
Livid Holdings Ltd. v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc.,
416 F.3d 940, 946 (9th Cir. 2005).
Discussion and Analysis
First Claim for Relief: ...