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Garot v. County of San Diego

United States District Court, S.D. California

November 13, 2019

COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO; and DOES 1-20, Defendants.



         On September 13, 2019, Colleen Garot (“Plaintiff”) filed a Second Amended Complaint (the “SAC”) naming the County of San Diego (the “County” or “Defendant”) and Does 1-20 (the “Defendant Does”) as Defendants. (Doc. No. 7.) On September 27, 2019, Defendant County of San Diego filed a motion to dismiss the SAC. (Doc. No. 8.) On October 21, 2019, Plaintiff filed an opposition. (Doc. No. 9.) On October 28, 2019, Defendant filed a reply. (Doc. No. 10.) On October 29, 2019, the Court determined the motion was fit for resolution without oral argument and submitted the motion on the papers. (Doc. No. 11.)


         The following facts are taken from the allegations in Plaintiff's complaint. This lawsuit is brought on behalf of Colleen Garot by Thomas Rainey as her court appointed conservator. (Doc. No. 7 ¶ 5.) Plaintiff Garot bring claims against the County of San Diego (“the County”); Sheriff William D. Gore; and twenty Doe defendants employed by the County of San Diego.

         Plaintiff asserts five causes of action for: (1) 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Deliberate Indifference to a Substantial Risk of Harm to Health; (2) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Liability for Unconstitutional Custom, Practice, or Police; (3) Professional Negligence under California Government Code § 844.6(d); (4) Failure to Summon Medical Care under California Government Code § 845.6; and (5) negligence under California law.

         On April 13, 2018, Sheriff's deputies employed by the County were dispatched to Colleen Garot's residence. (Doc. No. 7 ¶ 10.) Upon arrival, the deputies found Plaintiff with “facial and head injuries, including a black left eye and bruising, abrasions” on her forehead. (Id. ¶ 11.) The deputies discovered that Ms. Garot had an outstanding warrant for her arrest. (Id. ¶ 10.) Deputies arrested Ms. Garot and transported her to the county jail. (Id. ¶ 12.) A picture of Ms. Garot taken at the time of her booking into the county jail shows her with a black eye and bruising on her forehead. (Id.)

         Upon arrival at the county jail Ms. Garot was given a standard medical screening. (Id. ¶ 14.) Twelve hours later, Ms. Garot was seen by another County employee, “who noted the bruising around Ms. Garot's left eye and on her forehead.” (Id. ¶ 14.)

         The next morning, April 14, 2018, at about 7:00 a.m. Ms. Garot was evaluated by another County employee and given an ice pack for her black eye. (Id. ¶ 18.) Later that day, Ms. Garot was again seen by another unnamed County employee. (Id. ¶ 19.)

         The following day, April 15, 2018, Ms. Garot was placed in a safety cell and scheduled to see a psychologist. (Id. ¶ 20.) At 5:00 p.m. that day, a psychologist saw Ms. Garot and noted that she was “low risk” and should be seen again the following day. (Id. ¶ 21.)

         The following morning, April 16, 2018, Ms. Garot was observed “walking around her cell naked” and attempting to “climb the wall.” (Id. ¶ 23.) Later that morning, around 11:20 a.m., a county employee found Ms. Garot in her cell “laying on her back with foamy like saliva coming out from her mouth.” (Id. ¶ 24.) At that point, paramedics were called, and Ms. Garot was transported to the emergency room at Sharp Memorial Hospital where she was diagnosed with a left basilar skull fracture, acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, encephalopathy after traumatic brain injury, a subdural hematoma, and seizure. (Id. ¶ 25.)


         I. Legal Standards

         A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the pleadings and allows a court to dismiss a complaint if the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1241 (9th Cir. 2011). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a pleading stating a claim for relief containing “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” The function of this pleading requirement is to “give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

         A complaint will survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss if it contains “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). “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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' ” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Accordingly, dismissal for failure to state a claim is proper where the claim “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).

         In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a district court must accept as true all facts alleged in the complaint, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the claimant. See Retail Prop. Trust v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., 768 F.3d 938, 945 (9th Cir. 2014). But, a court need not accept “legal conclusions” as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         II. ...

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