Estate of Jimmy Ray Hatfield et al v. County of Lake et al

Filing 185

ORDER by Judge Hamilton denying 168 Motion to Dismiss (pjhlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/8/2012)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 7 R.H., et al., Plaintiffs, 8 9 v. No. C 11-2396 PJH ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS COUNTY OF LAKE, et al., 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 Defendants. _______________________________/ 13 Defendant Patricia Trujillo’s1 motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ third amended complaint 14 came on for hearing on November 7, 2012 before this court. Plaintiffs appeared through 15 their counsel, Michael Green. Defendant Trujillo appeared through her counsel, Sonja 16 Dahl. Counsel for Lake County, Jaime Bodiford, also attended the hearing. Having read all 17 the papers and carefully considered the relevant legal authority, the court hereby DENIES 18 defendant’s motion for the reasons stated at the hearing, and as follows. 19 Defendant moves to dismiss plaintiffs’ first cause of action, brought under 42 U.S.C. 20 § 1983, and plaintiffs’ fifth cause of action, for wrongful death due to medical negligence. 21 As to the section 1983 claim, defendant argues that there was no special relationship 22 created between her and the decedent, and that she did not affirmatively act to place the 23 decedent in danger. Thus, in defendant’s view, there can be no constitutional violation. As 24 to the medical negligence claim, defendant argues that there was no doctor-patient (or 25 equivalent) relationship created, and thus she had no duty of care with respect to the 26 decedent. 27 28 1 The motion was also filed by then-defendant Kristy Kelly, but the parties have since stipulated to dismiss all claims against Ms. Kelly. See Dkt. 172. 1 The court finds that, based on the face of the complaint, plaintiffs have adequately 2 alleged the elements of a constitutional violation, and have also adequately alleged that 3 defendant had a duty of care with respect to the decedent. Defendant may still be able to 4 rebut those allegations, but must wait until the summary judgment stage to do so. 5 Accordingly, defendant’s motion is DENIED. 6 7 IT IS SO ORDERED. 8 Dated: November 8, 2012 9 ______________________________ PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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