United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' THIRD MOTION TO DISMISS
(DOC. NO. 33)
case stems from a violent confrontation between Plaintiff
James Jack, Jr. (“Jack”) and a fellow detainee at
the Stanislaus County Jail. Jack is pursuing claims against
Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Pearson
(“Pearson”) for violations of the Fourteenth
Amendment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law
negligence. Currently before the Court is
Pearson's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons
that follow, the motion will be granted as to Jack's
§ 1983 claims, and the Court will decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims.
judgment is proper when it is demonstrated that there exists
no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co.,
398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970); Fortyune v. American
Multi-Cinema, Inc., 364 F.3d 1075, 1080 (9th Cir. 2004).
The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden
of informing the court of the basis for its motion and of
identifying the portions of the declarations (if any),
pleadings, and discovery that demonstrate an absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Soremekun v.
Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir.
2007). A fact is “material” if it might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law. See
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49
(1986); United States v. Kapp, 564 F.3d 1103, 1114
(9th Cir. 2009). A dispute is “genuine” as to a
material fact if there is sufficient evidence for a
reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Freecycle Sunnyvale
v. Freecycle Network, 626 F.3d 509, 514 (9th Cir. 2010).
the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at
trial, the movant must affirmatively demonstrate that no
reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the
movant. Soremekun, 509 F.3d at 984. Where the
non-moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at
trial, the movant may prevail by presenting evidence that
negates an essential element of the non-moving party's
claim or by merely pointing out that there is an absence of
evidence to support an essential element of the non-moving
party's claim. See James River Ins. Co. v. Herbert
Schenk, P.C., 523 F.3d 915, 923 (9th Cir. 2008);
Soremekun, 509 F.3d at 984. If a moving party fails
to carry its burden of production, then “the non-moving
party has no obligation to produce anything, even if the
non-moving party would have the ultimate burden of
persuasion.” Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v.
Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099, 1105-06 (9th Cir. 2000). If
the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden then
shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine
issue as to any material fact actually exists. See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Nissan Fire, 210 F.3d at 1103.
The opposing party cannot “‘rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of [its] pleading' but must
instead produce evidence that ‘sets forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'” Estate of Tucker v. Interscope
Records, 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008).
opposing party's evidence is to be believed, and all
justifiable inferences that may be drawn from the facts
placed before the court must be drawn in favor of the
opposing party. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255;
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587; Narayan v. EGL,
Inc., 616 F.3d 895, 899 (9th Cir. 2010). While a
“justifiable inference” need not be the most
likely or the most persuasive inference, a “justifiable
inference” must still be rational or reasonable.
See Narayan, 616 F.3d at 899. Summary judgment may
not be granted “where divergent ultimate inferences may
reasonably be drawn from the undisputed facts.”
Fresno Motors, LLC v. Mercedes Benz USA, LLC, 771
F.3d 1119, 1125 (9th Cir. 2015); see also Holly D. v.
Cal. Inst. of Tech., 339 F.3d 1158, 1175 (9th Cir.
2003). Inferences are not drawn out of the air, and it is the
opposing party's obligation to produce a factual
predicate from which the inference may be drawn. See
Fitzgerald v. El Dorado Cnty., 94 F.Supp.3d 1155, 1163
(E.D. Cal. 2015); Sanders v. City of Fresno, 551
F.Supp.2d 1149, 1163 (E.D. Cal. 2008). “A genuine issue
of material fact does not spring into being simply because a
litigant claims that one exists or promises to produce
admissible evidence at trial.” Del Carmen Guadalupe
v. Agosto, 299 F.3d 15, 23 (1st Cir. 2002); see
Bryant v. Adventist Health System/West, 289 F.3d 1162,
1167 (9th Cir. 2002). The parties have the obligation to
particularly identify material facts, and the court is not
required to scour the record in search of a genuine disputed
material fact. Simmons v. Navajo Cnty., 609 F.3d
1011, 1017 (9th Cir. 2010). Further, a “motion for
summary judgment may not be defeated . . . by evidence that
is ‘merely colorable' or ‘is not
significantly probative.'” Anderson, 477
U.S. at 249-50; Hardage v. CBS Broad. Inc., 427 F.3d
1177, 1183 (9th Cir. 2006). If the nonmoving party fails to
produce evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of
material fact, the moving party is entitled to summary
judgment. Nissan Fire, 210 F.3d at 1103.
March 7, 2016, Ceres Police Officers Gallegos and Vera were
dispatched to Jack's home on a call for a family
disturbance. See PUMF's 1, 2, 3. Officer Vera
arrested Jack based on an outstanding warrant. See
JUMF 1; PUMF's 1, 2. As Jack was escorted to the patrol
car, he was being “mouthy, ” yelling and cursing.
See PUMF 3. Vera transported Jack to the Stanislaus
County Downtown Men's Jail (“Jail”).
See JUMF 1; PUMF 4. During transport, Jack was
“very argumentative” and “really
aggressive” to the point where Vera felt that Jack was
probably under the influence of a some type of controlled
substance. PUMF 5.
and Vera arrived at the jail at 1:14 a.m. See JUMF
1. Vera escorted Jack through booking at the jail.
See PUMF 6. During his time with Vera, Jack was
cursing and so argumentative that Vera expected Jack to
become physically uncooperative. See id. Vera
testified that, due to Jack's argumentativeness, Jack
“was somebody that I would have expected to be under
the influence or physically confrontational.”
Id.; see also PUMF 7.
a.m., Deputy Delgadillo conducted an intake screening
interview with Jack for medical and classification purposes.
See JUMF 3. Jack's screening interview was
routine, and Jack was cooperative and answered all questions.
See id. During the screening interview, Jack denied
gang affiliations, having enemies, taking drugs (except for
Xanax), and feeling like hurting himself. See JUMF
4. Deputy Delgadillo determined that Jack did not need
medical attention. See id. After the screening
interview, Classification Deputy Mauldin determined that Jack
was new to jail custody, had no specific problems, and was
fine with general population housing. JUMF 5. The intake
screening and classification information provided no
indication that Jack would be inappropriate for housing with
other inmates. See JUMF 6. Therefore, Deputy Mauldin
assigned Jack to the Inmate Worker Quarters (the
“IWQ”), bunk No. 45. JUMF 5.
was a two-level dormitory type housing unit with 62 inmate
bunks and was an area where general population inmates could
move freely around the unit. JUMF 8. The IWQ had bunks on
both levels. JUMF 9. An office for the IWQ housing deputy was
located on the upper level within the IWQ. Id. The
housing deputy assigned to the IWQ was responsible for counts
and hourly security checks of both levels. Id. The
Jail was an indirect supervision facility, meaning that jail
staff would observe each housing area within the allotted
times for inmate count and hourly security rounds, but
otherwise guards may not be present in inmate housing areas
at all times. See JUMF 7. As of March 2016, the IWQ
had video surveillance on the lower level but no cameras on
the upper level of the IWQ. Id. These lower level
cameras were monitored inside the control room on the first
floor of the jail. See id.
Pearson was assigned to work as the IWQ housing deputy from
6:00 p.m. on March 6, 2016 to 6:00 a.m. on March 7, 2016.
See JUMF 15. Pearson had been a Stanislaus County
corrections deputy since August 2013 and had worked as the
IWQ housing deputy approximately 25 times before.
See JUMF 13; see also PUMF's 8, 9, 10.
Consistent with his prior experience, Pearson was the only
staff assigned to supervise the IWQ during his shift.
See JUMF 17. At the beginning of his shift, there
was 51 inmates housed in the IWQ, but at the end of the
shift, there were 54 inmates. See id. As the deputy
covering IWQ, Pearson was responsible for picking up from
temporary holding cells the newly booked prisoners who were
assigned to the IWQ by the classification
officer. See PUMF 11. This happened once
per shift, and the IWQ housing deputy was not called each
time a prisoner was assigned to the IWQ. See id.
3:00 a.m. on March 7, 2016, Pearson escorted Jack and eight
other newly booked inmates into the IWQ. See DUMF
18; PUMF 11. During his initial interactions with Jack,
Pearson noticed that Jack had “kind of a bad
attitude” and rolled his eyes at Pearson when Pearson
told Jack to do something. See DUMF 19; Pearson
Depo. 35:11-21. Pearson's observations of Jack's body
language led Pearson to believe that Jack was kind of
arrogant and an “a-hole.” See PUMF 12;
Pearson Depo. 66:18-67:5. However, Jack did not disobey any
order by Pearson. See DUMF 19. Pearson declares that
Jack did not appear to be combative in any way and conveyed
no signs of aggressiveness or assaultive behavior towards
Pearson or other inmates. See Pearson Dec. ¶
11; DUMF 19. Upon arrival at the IWQ, Pearson informed the
new inmates of their assigned bunks and location; Jack was
assigned bunk No. 45 on the upper level. See DUMF
22. Pearson then conducted an hourly security round and then
went into the IWQ office to log in the new arrivals and
verify the IWQ inmate count. See id. It appears
Jack's bunk was missing a mattress. See
Frederick Depo. 16:24-17:5. Jack did not notify Pearson that
he did not have a mattress, and Pearson was not otherwise
notified that Jack did not have a mattress. See PUMF
IWQ prisoner Stephen Frederick testified that Jack arrived in
the IWQ with a “really bad attitude” and was
“talking a lot of shit.” See PUMF 13;
Frederick Depo. 10:2-6. Jack was “talking shit”
in general to everybody in part because he did not have a
mattress on his bunk and the other inmates appeared to be
forcing Jack to get in to the shower. See Frederick
Depo. 10:7-14. Jack was “making a fuss” about not
having a mattress. See id. at 16:24-17:5; PUMF 13.
after Pearson went into the IWQ office and began writing down
the new receives, he heard raised voices that sounded like a
verbal argument outside his office door. See DUMF
23; PUMF 16. Pearson did not know if the voices were yelling,
see PUMF 16; Pearson Dep. 41:13-19, but he heard
nothing that sounded like a physical altercation.
See DUMF 23. Pearson heard the raised voices through
the closed office door. See PUMF 16. The office door
was solid and had no glass or mesh windows and was located
approximately 20 feet away from bunk No. 45. See
PUMF 17; Pearson Dec. ¶ 12. Pearson immediately exited
the IWQ office and saw Jack and another inmate (later
identified as inmate Jordan Davis) standing no more than 20
feet away from the IWQ office. See DUMF 24. Pearson
could not remember inmate Davis's name, he just recalled
that Davis was “bigger” than Pearson and
estimated that Davis outweighed Jack by 100
See PUMF 18. When Pearson exited the IWQ office,
Jack was already walking back toward his assigned bunk.
See DUMF 24. However, Jack and Davis quieted down
when they saw Pearson coming. See PUMF 19. Pearson
spoke with inmate Davis, Jack, and other inmates standing in
the area. See DUMF 24. The argument appeared to have
been about a mattress on the wrong bunk. See id.;
see also PUMF 22. Pearson asked inmate Davis if the
issue was squashed, and Davis indicated that it was.
See DUMF 24. Pearson asked the same of Jack, and
Jack confirmed that the issue was done. See id.
Pearson also asked several other inmates who were standing in
the area if everything was good, if the issue was over, if
everything was ok, and the other inmates confirmed that it
was. See id. However, inmate Frederick indicated
that prisoners will always tell officers that their dispute
is resolved, even if it is not, because the prisoners want
the officers to leave. See PUMF 23. Pearson did not
obtain details about the argument between Jack and Davis.
See PUMF 22. Neither Davis nor Jack looked angry and
they did not exhibit any body language that would suggest
that they would engage in a physical fight, such as balled
fists or bladed stances. See DUMF 24. Pearson
observed that there were mattresses on both Jack's and
Davis's respective bunks. See id. Pearson had no
information that Davis had ever acted aggressive or
assaultive. See DUMF 28. The inmates dispersed,
see id., but instead of going back to the IWQ
office, Pearson left the area/the IWQ. See PUMF
25; Frederick Depo. 25: 9-19. Pearson left the IWQ and went
to the control room area of the jail to help the control
deputy, as a matter of “past practice, ” but he
could not recall anything specific that he did for the 30 to
40 minutes that he spent there. See PUMF 27; see
also DUMF 26. This left the second level of the IWQ
unaccompanied and unmonitored. See PUMF 28.
Pearson left the IWQ, Jack and Davis instantly started
fighting. See PUMF 25. Jack started the fight by
swinging first at Davis. See JUMF 41. Davis then
picked up Jack, slammed him to the ground/on the floor, and
punched him in the head. See id.; PUMF 33. The whole
argument and fight between Jack and Davis lasted a couple of
minutes. PUMF 26. Jack remained on the floor
“asleep” for about five minutes. See
PUMF 34. Other inmates then took care of Jack and put him in
his bunk after the physical altercation. JUMF 42. Jack laid
on a mattress after the physical altercation. JUMF 43.
hours after Pearson's shift ended, it was discovered that
Jack needed medical assistance. See DUMF's 46 to
After being transported to the hospital, it was discovered
that Jack's skull was broken in several places and
Jack's brain had been lacerated. See DUMF 52;
PUMF 35. Physicians successfully performed surgery on Jack,
including implanting a titanium plate. See PUMF 35.
Jack's treatment at the hospital would not have been any
different if he had arrived up to eight hours earlier.
See DUMF 55. Jack has no memory of his arrest or the
events of March 7, 2016 at the Jail, he only remembers waking
up in a hospital with head pain. JUMF 2.
42 U.S.C. § 1983 - Fourteenth Amendment -- Failure To