Cotton et al v. City of Eureka, California et al
ORDER RE FAILURE TO TRAIN CLAIM. Signed by Judge ARMSTRONG on 9/12/11. (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/12/2011)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
7 SIEHNA M. COTTON, a minor, by and
Megan McClure, her guardian ad litem; and
8 MARTIN COTTON, SR., an individual,
ORDER RE FAILURE TO TRAIN
Case No: C 08-04386 SBA
11 CITY OF EUREKA, CALIFORNIA, a
political subdivision of the State of California,
12 COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT, CALIFORNIA,
a political subdivision of the State of
13 California, et al.,
The Court ordered supplemental briefing regarding whether Plaintiffs’ expert Roger
Clark timely disclosed any opinion regarding the adequacy of the City’s training program
as it relates to seeking medical care for arrestees who have been subjected to the use of
force. 9/8/11 Order at 8, Dkt. 212. In their supplemental briefing, Plaintiffs contend that
Mr. Clark made the requisite disclosure in his Expert Report, wherein he stated that, “Mr.
Cotton was not medically cleared for booking as required by POST and EPD … policy and
procedure.” Clark Report ¶ 3 (emphasis added), Dkt. 118-1. Yet, at the pretrial conference
held on September 6, 2011, Plaintiffs stated that their failure to train claim is based on the
City’s lack of any training or policy regarding obtaining medical care for arrestees who had
been subjected to the application of force by City police officers. Nowhere in his report did
Mr. Clark opine that the Decedent died as a result a lack of any policy or training. Nor is
such an opinion disclosed in the deposition excerpts cited by Plaintiffs. See Clark Depo. at
13:22-14:6, 119:2-121:3, Dkt. 118-8. Because no such opinion was disclosed, Mr. Clark
will not be allowed to offer any opinion testimony in support of Plaintiff’s failure to train
claim with respect to the lack of training or policies.
Nonetheless, the Court is persuaded that Plaintiffs may present their failure to train
claim at trial without relying on Mr. Clark’s expert testimony. According to the Plaintiffs,
the Defendant officers have acknowledged that, at the time of the incident, they did not
have any training on obtaining medical attention for a person who had been subjected to the
use of force. “A plaintiff [ ] might succeed in proving a failure-to-train claim without
showing a pattern of constitutional violations where ‘a violation of federal rights may be a
highly predictable consequence of a failure to equip law enforcement officers with specific
tools to handle recurring situations.’” See Long v. Cnty. of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178,
1185 (9th Cir. 2006)) (quoting Bd. of Cnty. Comm’rs v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 409 (1997)).
Based on this testimony, a trier of fact could conclude that the City’s failure to train was the
“moving force [behind] the constitutional violation.” City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489
U.S. 378, 389 (1989).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: September 12, 2011
SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG
United States District Judge
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