United States District Court, N.D. California
DESHAUN ROBERTS, by and through his Guardian ad Litem, Jasmine Robinson, Plaintiff,
CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO, ALEX JAYSON, and DOES 1-25, Defendants.
ORDER RE MOTION TO DISMISS AND MOTION TO APPOINT
GUARDIAN AD LITEM
WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action for civil rights violation; battery; Bane Act
violation; negligent hiring, supervision, and retention; and
negligence, defendant Sheriff of the City of San Francisco
moves to dismiss all claims of negligence. Plaintiff inmate
moves to appoint his aunt as guardian ad litem. For
the following reasons, both motions are
April 18, 2019, defendant Sheriff's Deputy Alex Jayson
physically attacked plaintiff inmate Deshaun Roberts in San
Francisco County Jail #5. Roberts allegedly left his cell in
the afternoon and Deputy Jayson ordered him to return.
Roberts alleges that he felt he was being wrongly instructed
to go back to his cell, so he asked for a grievance form and
walked towards a table instead. Deputy Jayson allegedly began
pushing Roberts to his cell which caused Roberts to slip off
the staircase railings. Deputy Jayson then allegedly punched
Roberts in the face and body before issuing multiple knee
strikes to his stomach as he lay on the ground. Roberts
alleges that he did not resist being detained during this
entire period. Deputy Jayson alleges that he needed to gain
Roberts' compliance through physical control because
Roberts verbally and physically resisted orders (Dkt. Nos. 1
at 3-4; 18 at 3).
2019, Roberts' timely claim under Section 910 of the
California Government Code against the City and County of San
Francisco was rejected. In August 2019, Roberts filed this
complaint claiming violation of fourth amendment rights;
battery; Bane Act violation; negligent hiring, supervision,
and retention; and negligence against defendants City of San
Francisco, Sheriff Vicki Hennessey, Sheriffs Deputy Alex
Jayson, and DOES 1-25 (Dkt. No. 1 at 1, 4). Defendants move
to dismiss all claims of negligence against defendant Sheriff
Vicki Hennessey. In October 2019, Roberts filed a motion to
appoint guardian ad litem. This order follows full
briefing and oral argument.
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 (2009). A claim is facially
plausible when there are sufficient factual allegations to
draw a reasonable inference that defendants are liable for
the misconduct alleged. Dismissal is only proper if there is
either a “lack of 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. 1990).
Plaintiff fails to allege negligent hiring,
supervision And retention against Sheriff
Supreme Court of California has held that individual
employees cannot be liable to third parties for negligent
hiring, supervision, and retention in the absence of a
“special relationship.” C.A. v. William S.
Hart Union High Sch. Dist., 53 Cal.4th 861, 869 (2012).
The situation here is quite different from the circumstances
in which California courts have found the existence of a
“special relationship.” In C.A. v. William S.
Hart Union High School District, the Supreme Court of
California held that school administrators could be
individually liable for their negligence in the hiring,
supervision, and retention of a school employee who sexually
harassed and abused a student. The court grounded its holding
in the “special relationship” between
administrators and their students, which the court analogized
to that between parents and their children. Id. At
fourth claim for relief, Roberts alleges that Sheriff
Hennessey is liable for the negligent hiring, supervision,
and retention of Deputy Jayson. In the opposition, Roberts
contends that Sheriff Hennessey had a “special
relationship” with him because he was an inmate at a
San Francisco County jail that operates under Sheriff
Hennessy control (Dkt. No. 11 at 4). He argues that the
“comprehensive control over inmates/detainees exercised
by San Francisco County jail personnel and Sheriff Hennessey
in particular” created a duty to protect him from harm.
Roberts contends that this duty included exercising care in
the selection, retention, training, and supervision of
employees like the school personnel in William S.
Hart (ibid.). This order disagrees.
likens his relationship with Sheriff Hennessey to the
prisoner and jailer in Giraldo v. Department of
Corrections & Rehabilitation (Dkt. No. 11 at 6).
That case was different, however, because it involved a
sheriff's deputy's duty to prevent a foreseeable
altercation among inmates. Giraldo v. Dep't of Corr.
& Rehab., 168 Cal.App.4th 231, 245 (2008). The
relevant relationship for this order is between Sheriff
Hennessey and Roberts, not Roberts and Deputy Jayson. Neither
our court of appeals nor the Supreme Court of California
recognize a “special relationship” between a
sheriff and jail inmate. So too here. Roberts does not make
any factual allegations showing that Sheriff Hennessey is
liable for negligent hiring, supervision or retention.
Because his allegations are conclusory and do not establish a
“special relationship” between himself and
Sheriff Hennessey, the motion to dismiss this claim is
Granted with prejudice.
Roberts fails to state a claim of Negligence Against Sheriff
fifth claim for relief, Roberts broadly alleges negligence
against all defendants. Roberts never identifies Sheriff
Hennessey's conduct, so apparently attempts to hold her
vicariously liable for Deputy Jayson's alleged conduct.
In the opposition, Roberts clarifies his argument that
Sheriff Hennessey is liable for negligence under Section
844.6(d) of the California Government Code. This is not the
proper form. Furthermore, our court of appeals and the
Supreme Court of California do not recognize the Code to
extend to holding a sheriff vicariously liable for injury ...