Matthew v. Yellowstone County et al
ORDER adopting Findings and Recommendations 21 in full. All claims raised in the complaint 1 are DISMISSED. Defendants Iron, Singh, Aramark, Caruso, Jessee, Shirley, Langford, Grosslock, Washington, Vanessa, Yellowstone County, Yellowstone Count y Sheriff, Riverstone Health, the U.S. Marshal Service, and all Does Defendants are DISMISSED. The claims raised in Counts I, IV, and V the amended complaint 15 are DISMISSED. Signed by Judge Susan P. Watters on 4/5/2017. Mailed to Matthew. (TAG)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONT ANA
APR - 5 2017
Clef1<., U.s O; .
District Of rJ,lnct Court
DAVID JAMES MATTHEW,
YELLOWSTONE COUNTY, et al,
Plaintiff David James Matthew brought a complaint against various
government entities and agents alleging constitutional violations arising from his
confinement at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility. On May 13, 2016,
United States Magistrate Judge Ostby screened Matthew's complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A, and found that the complaint failed to state a claim.
(Doc. 10). This Court adopted Judge Ostby's finding in full. (Doc. 14).
On July 5, 2016, Matthew filed an amended complaint. (Doc. 15). United
States Magistrate Judge Cavan screened Matthew's amended complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A. Judge Cavan recommends all claims in the original
complaint be dismissed, counts I, IV, and V of the amended complaint be
dismissed, and numerous defendants be dismissed. (Doc. 21). Matthew objects to
the dismissal of Yellowstone County, the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office, the
United States Marshal Service, and Riverstone Health. (Doc. 28).
Statement of the case
Matthew does not object to the Statement of the Case contained in Judge
Cavan's Findings and Recommendations. Judge Cavan's Statement of the Case is
therefore adopted in full.
Standard of review
A district court reviews de novo any part of a Magistrate Judge's Findings
and Recommendations to which there has been proper objections. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(l); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3).
Motion to Dismiss
A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is governed by Fed. R. Civ.
P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face."' Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial
plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Judge Cavan found Yellowstone County, the Yellowstone County Sheriffs
Office, and Riverstone Health ("Yellowstone County Defendants") should be
dismissed because Matthew failed to allege any facts that impose liability on the
entities. (Doc. 21 at 8-9). Judge Cavan found the Marshal Service should be
dismissed because it has sovereign immunity as an agency of the United States.
(Doc. 21 at 7). Matthew argues the Yellowstone County Defendants and the
Marshal Service are not immune from suit and should not be dismissed. The Court
agrees with Judge Cavan.
The Yellowstone County Defendants
A municipal entity has no respondeat superior liability under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Monell v. Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). Instead,§
1983 imposes liability on municipal entities where official policy or custom causes
a constitutional tort. Monell, 436 U.S. at 690. The rule in Monell applies with
equal force to private corporations providing medical services under contract with
the State. See Howell v. Evans, 922 F.2d 712, 724 (11th Cir. 1991).
Here, Matthew misconstrues Judge Cavan's finding. Judge Cavan did not
suggest the Yellowstone County Defendants were immune from suit. Instead,
Judge Cavan found Matthew's amended complaint alleged facts that imposed
liability on the Yellowstone County Defendants under a theory ofrespondeat
supenor. But because Monell bars imposition ofliability on municipal entities
based on respondeat superior in § 1983 actions, Judge Cavan found the amended
complaint failed to state a claim for relief against the Yellowstone County
Defendants. (Doc. 21 at 8-10). The Court agrees with Judge Cavan that the
complaint fails to meet the Monell standard.
The Marshal Service
In the absence of an express waiver, sovereign immunity precludes suits
against the United States and its agencies. See United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S.
535, 538 (1980). "[N]o cause of action for damages for constitutional violationswhether called a Bivens action or not-is to be implied against government
agencies." Taylor v. FDIC, 132 F.3d 753, 768 (D.C. Cir. 1997); see FDIC v.
Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 484-486 (1994). It is precisely because government agencies
are immune from suit that Bivens actions, which impose liability on officers, even
exist. Meyer, 510 U.S. at 485.
Here, Matthew argues several cases hold the Marshal Service is not immune
from suit. (Doc. 28 at 3-6). Matthew is simply incorrect. Mitchell and Meyer
make clear that Bivens actions may be maintained against individual federal
officers, but not federal agencies. The Court agrees with Judge Cavan that the
amended complaint fails to state a claim against the Marshal Service because the
Marshal Service is immune from suit.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
I. Judge Cavan's Findings and Recommendations (Doc. 21) are ADOPTED
2. All claims raised in Matthew's original complaint (Doc. 1) are
3. Defendants Iron, Singh, Aramark, Caruso, Jessee, Shirley, Langford,
Grosslock, Washington, Vanessa, Yellowstone County, Yellowstone County
Sheriff, Riverstone Health, the U.S. Marshal Service, and all Does Defendants are
4. The claims raised in Counts I, IV, and V of Matthew's amended
complaint (Doc. 15) are DISMISSED.
United States District Judge
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