United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO
DISMISS SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT RE: DKT. NO. 24
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 Court
previously dismissed Palmer's first amended complaint
with leave to amend, and the County and Sheriff Gregory Ahern
(the “Moving Defendants”), now move for dismissal
of his second amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). ECF No. 24. Palmer filed an
Opposition (ECF No. 26) and Moving Defendants filed a Reply
(ECF No. 28). The Court finds this matter suitable for
disposition without oral argument and
VACATES the January 9, 2020 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 IN
PART and DENIES IN PART 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 the County of
Alameda. Sec. Am. Compl. ¶ 9, ECF No. 22. 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.
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.
filed this lawsuit on June 24, 2019 and filed his amended
complaint on August 18, 2019 against Moving Defendants,
Bailey, and Does 1-25, alleging: (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. ECF No. 9. He sought
compensatory and punitive damages and declaratory and
injunctive relief. On September 27, 2019, Moving Defendants
moved for dismissal, arguing Palmer failed to state a
plausible Monell claim against the County, the
federal and state law claims against Sheriff Ahern were not
plausibly pleaded, the County is statutorily immune from any
state law claim, and the declaratory relief claim was not
supported by the facts alleged. ECF No. 16.
October 31, 2019, the Court granted Moving Defendants'
motion. ECF No. 21. It dismissed Palmer's 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and negligence claims without leave to amend as
to Alameda County and with leave to amend as to Sheriff
Ahern. The Court also dismissed Palmer's claim for
negligent hiring, supervision and retention with leave to
amend and dismissed his claim for declaratory and injunctive
relief without leave to amend.
filed his second amended complaint on November 4, 2019,
alleging: (1) a claim for violation of his Fourteenth
Amendment rights against Bailey and Sheriff Ahern under 42
U.S.C. § 1983; (2) a negligence claim against Bailey;
and (3) a negligent hiring, supervision, and retention claim
against the County and Sheriff Ahern. Sec. Am. Compl.
November 14, 2019, Moving Defendants filed the present motion
to dismiss, arguing Palmer fails to allege supporting facts
establishing a plausible § 1983 claim against Sheriff
Ahern individually and fails to allege facts establishing a
cognizable or plausible negligent hiring claim against the
County and Sheriff Ahern.
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