Cotton et al v. City of Eureka, California et al

Filing 217

ORDER RE FAILURE TO TRAIN CLAIM. Signed by Judge ARMSTRONG on 9/12/11. (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/12/2011)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 OAKLAND DIVISION 6 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 CLAIM Plaintiffs, 9 10 Case No: C 08-04386 SBA vs. 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., 14 Defendants. 15 16 The Court ordered supplemental briefing regarding whether Plaintiffs’ expert Roger 17 Clark timely disclosed any opinion regarding the adequacy of the City’s training program 18 as it relates to seeking medical care for arrestees who have been subjected to the use of 19 force. 9/8/11 Order at 8, Dkt. 212. In their supplemental briefing, Plaintiffs contend that 20 Mr. Clark made the requisite disclosure in his Expert Report, wherein he stated that, “Mr. 21 Cotton was not medically cleared for booking as required by POST and EPD … policy and 22 procedure.” Clark Report ¶ 3 (emphasis added), Dkt. 118-1. Yet, at the pretrial conference 23 held on September 6, 2011, Plaintiffs stated that their failure to train claim is based on the 24 City’s lack of any training or policy regarding obtaining medical care for arrestees who had 25 been subjected to the application of force by City police officers. Nowhere in his report did 26 Mr. Clark opine that the Decedent died as a result a lack of any policy or training. Nor is 27 such an opinion disclosed in the deposition excerpts cited by Plaintiffs. See Clark Depo. at 28 13:22-14:6, 119:2-121:3, Dkt. 118-8. Because no such opinion was disclosed, Mr. Clark 1 will not be allowed to offer any opinion testimony in support of Plaintiff’s failure to train 2 claim with respect to the lack of training or policies. 3 Nonetheless, the Court is persuaded that Plaintiffs may present their failure to train 4 claim at trial without relying on Mr. Clark’s expert testimony. According to the Plaintiffs, 5 the Defendant officers have acknowledged that, at the time of the incident, they did not 6 have any training on obtaining medical attention for a person who had been subjected to the 7 use of force. “A plaintiff [ ] might succeed in proving a failure-to-train claim without 8 showing a pattern of constitutional violations where ‘a violation of federal rights may be a 9 highly predictable consequence of a failure to equip law enforcement officers with specific 10 tools to handle recurring situations.’” See Long v. Cnty. of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 11 1185 (9th Cir. 2006)) (quoting Bd. of Cnty. Comm’rs v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 409 (1997)). 12 Based on this testimony, a trier of fact could conclude that the City’s failure to train was the 13 “moving force [behind] the constitutional violation.” City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 14 U.S. 378, 389 (1989). 15 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: September 12, 2011 ______________________________ SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG United States District Judge 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -2-

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