United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS RE: DKT. NO.
S. HIXSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
civil rights case brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
Plaintiff Marty Palmer alleges the County of Alameda and its
employees were deliberately indifferent to his medical
condition while incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail. The County
and its Sheriff, Gregory Ahern (the “Moving
Defendants”), move for dismissal pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(6). ECF
No. 16. Palmer filed an Opposition (ECF No. 19) and Moving
Defendants filed a Reply (ECF No. 20). The Court finds this
matter suitable for disposition without oral argument and
VACATES the November 7, 2019 hearing.
See Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Having considered the
parties' positions, relevant legal authority, and the
record in this case, the Court GRANTS Moving
Defendants' motion for the following reasons.
August 7 and August 28, 2017, Palmer was incarcerated at the
Santa Rita Jail, which is owned and operated by Defendant
County of Alameda. First Am. Compl. ¶ 9, ECF No. 9.
Palmer suffers from renal failure and was receiving dialysis
treatments three days a week from September 14, 2015,
including his time at Santa Rita. Id. ¶ 10.
While Palmer was incarcerated, Defendant Joseph Robert
Bailey, who was employed as an Alameda County Sheriff's
deputy, and other Doe Defendant Sheriff's deputies
ordered Palmer to be housed on a top bunk bed. Id.
¶ 11. Out of fear that he could fall and injure himself
as result of weakness from his dialysis treatments, Palmer
notified the Sheriff's deputies of his medical condition,
had them check his medical file and filed numerous inmate
grievances to be assigned to a lower bunk. Id.
¶ 12. The deputies denied Palmer's repeated
requests. Id. ¶ 13.
approximately August 15, 2019, Palmer accepted another
inmate's offer to give his lower bunk to him.
Id. ¶ 14. Two days later, Bailey and other
Sheriff's deputies observed Palmer using a lower bunk,
became angry and immediately moved him to another jail pod
and assigned him to another upper bunk. Id. ¶
15. On August 28, 2017, while sitting on his newly assigned
top bunk, Palmer fell and landed on his face, neck and
shoulder areas, suffering severe injuries. Id.
February 20, 2018, Palmer filed a government claim against
Alameda County pursuant to California Government Code section
910, et seq. Id. ¶ 17. The County rejected his
claim on January 3, 2019. Id. Palmer filed this
lawsuit on June 24, 2019 and filed his amended complaint on
August 18, 2019 against Moving Defendants, Bailey, and Does
1-25. He pursues: (1) a claim for violation of his Fourteenth
Amendment rights against all Defendants under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983; (2) a negligence claim against all Defendants;
and (3) a negligent hiring, supervision, and retention claim
against Sheriff Ahern. Id. ¶¶ 18-41.
Palmer seeks compensatory and punitive damages and
declaratory and injunctive relief. Id. at 7.
Defendants filed the present motion on September 27, 2019,
arguing Palmer fails to state a plausible Monell
claim against the County, the federal and state law claims
against Sheriff Ahern are not plausibly pleaded, the County
is statutorily immune from any state law claim, and the
declaratory relief claim is not supported by the facts
alleged. Mot. at 2.
complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Thus, to survive a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Plausibility does not
mean probability, but it requires “more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 687 (2009). A
complaint must therefore provide a defendant with “fair
notice” of the claims against it and the grounds for
relief. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quotations and
citation omitted); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) (A complaint must
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”). In
considering a motion to dismiss, the court accepts factual
allegations in the complaint as true and construes the
pleadings in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519
F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008).; Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). However, “the
tenet that a court must accept a complaint's allegations
as true is inapplicable to threadbare recitals of a cause of
action's elements, supported by mere conclusory
statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Rule 12(b)(6) motion is granted, the “court should
grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading
was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not
possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.”
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000)
(en banc) (citations and quotations omitted). However, a
court “may exercise its discretion to deny leave to
amend due to ‘undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive
on part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies
by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the
opposing party . . ., [and] futility of
amendment.'” Carvalho v. Equifax Info. Servs.,
LLC, 629 F.3d 876, 892-93 (9th Cir. 2010) (alterations
in original) (quoting Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178,
Fourteenth Amendment Claim
42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim, Palmer alleges
“Defendants” exhibited deliberate indifference to
his constitutional rights in that they had notice of his
medical condition and requests for a lower bunk, yet they
placed him in an upper bunk and failed to take any corrective
action to remedy those conditions. First Am. Compl. ¶
24. As a result, he suffered “extreme physical
damages.” Id. ...