Quarles v. County of Contra Costa

Filing 6

ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND. Signed by Judge Susan van Keulen on 2/5/2024. (svklc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/5/2024)Any non-CM/ECF Participants have been served by First Class Mail to the addresses of record listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)

Download PDF
1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA CHRISTOPHER QUARLES, 3 Plaintiff, 4 ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND v. 5 COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA, 6 Defendant. 7 INTRODUCTION 8 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 23-cv-06636-SVK 9 Plaintiff, an inmate at the Contra Costa County Jail, filed this pro se civil rights complaint 10 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the County of Contra Costa.1 Plaintiff’s application to proceed in 11 forma pauperis is granted in a separate order. For the reasons explained below, the complaint is 12 dismissed with leave to amend. STANDARD OF REVIEW 13 14 Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek 15 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 16 § 1915A(a). The Court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion 17 of the complaint, if the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which 18 relief may be granted,” or “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such 19 relief.” Id. § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica 20 Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the 21 22 23 24 25 26 claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted). Although to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a 27 28 1 Plaintiff consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (ECF No. 3.) 1 formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations must 2 be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 3 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer “enough facts to 4 state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 1974. 5 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a 6 right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged 7 violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 8 42, 48 (1988). LEGAL CLAIMS 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 The only allegation Plaintiff makes is that he did not receive adequate medical care when he was in custody. A claim for a violation of a pretrial detainee’s right to adequate medical care arises under 13 the Fourteenth Amendment rather than the Eighth Amendment. See Gordon v. County of Orange, 14 888 F.3d 1118, 1122 & n.4 (9th Cir. 2018). The claim is evaluated under an objective deliberate 15 indifference standard. 16 17 18 19 20 21 [T]he elements of a pretrial detainee’s medical care claim against an individual defendant under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment are: (i) the defendant made an intentional decision with respect to the conditions under which the plaintiff was confined; (ii) those conditions put the plaintiff at substantial risk of suffering serious harm; (iii) the defendant did not take reasonable available measures to abate that risk, even though a reasonable official in the circumstances would have appreciated the high degree of risk involved—making the consequences of the defendant's conduct obvious; and (iv) by not taking such measures, the defendant caused the plaintiff's injuries. 22 Id. at 1125. With regard to the third element, the defendant’s conduct must be objectively 23 unreasonable – “a test that will necessarily turn[] on the facts and circumstances of each particular 24 care.” Id. (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). To state a valid claim, Plaintiff must 25 allege facts about his medical needs and the care or lack thereof he received while he was in 26 custody. He must allege sufficient facts regarding his needs and care that, if true, plausibly 27 establish each of the four elements set forth in the passage quoted above. He has not done so 28 in his complaint, but he will be given an opportunity to fix this problem in an amended complaint. 2 1 In addition, to state a valid claim against Contra Costa County, which is a municipal 2 government, Plaintiff must allege facts plausibly showing the County had a custom or policy 3 that caused the alleged constitutional violation. See City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 4 389 (1989). Plaintiff alleges no custom or policy that led to him receiving inadequate medical 5 care. He must do so in an amended complaint in order for his claim against Contra Costa County 6 to proceed. CONCLUSION United States District Court Northern District of California 7 8 For the foregoing reasons, 9 1. The complaint is DISMISSED WITH LEAVE TO AMEND. Plaintiff shall file an 10 amended complaint within twenty-eight (28) days from the date this order is filed. The 11 amended complaint must include the caption and civil case number used in this order (No. C 23- 12 6636 SVK (PR)) and the words “COURT-ORDERED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT” on the 13 first page. Because an amended complaint completely replaces the original complaint, see Ferdik 14 v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992), Plaintiff may not incorporate material from the 15 original by reference; he must include in his amended complaint all the claims he wishes to 16 pursue. Failure to amend within the designated time and in accordance with this order may result 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 in a Report and Recommendation to a district court judge recommending that the action be dismissed with prejudice. 2. It is Plaintiff's responsibility to prosecute this case. Plaintiff must keep the Court informed of any change of address by filing a separate paper with the clerk headed “Notice of Change of Address.” He also must comply with the Court's orders in a timely fashion, although he may request an extension of time provided it is accompanied by a showing of good cause and it is filed on or before the deadline he wants to extend. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). SO ORDERED. Dated: February 5, 2024 27 Susan van Keulen United States Magistrate Judge 28 3

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?