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Mitchell v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 30, 2018

RONNIE MITCHELL, Plaintiffs,
v.
LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is defendant Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's (“LVMPD”) motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 4). Plaintiff Ronnie Mitchell filed a response (ECF No. 8), to which defendant replied (ECF No. 10).

         Also before the court is defendant Officer R. Shoemaker's motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff filed a response (ECF No. 9), to which defendant replied (ECF No. 11).

         I. Facts

         On August 13, 2015, plaintiff was arrested by Shoemaker and the LVMPD in Clark County, Nevada. (ECF No. 1). After plaintiff was taken into custody, Shoemaker stepped on plaintiff's left hand, breaking it in three places. Id.

         Shoemaker took plaintiff to University Medical Center (“UMC”). Id. Plaintiff was given medical treatment for his hand and was instructed to promptly follow up with an orthopedic surgeon. Id. Plaintiff remained in custody with LVMPD, which refused to provide for further medical treatment. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of LVMPD's delay in treatment for his hand, his injuries were worsened and required surgery to repair. Id. Plaintiff's injuries are permanent. Id.

         On August 14, 2017, plaintiff filed a complaint naming the LVMPD and Shoemaker as defendants.[1] Id.

         II. Legal Standard

         A court may dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pled complaint must provide “[a] short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands “more than labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).

         “Factual allegations must be enough to rise above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citation omitted).

         In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering motions to dismiss. First, the court must accept as true all well-pled factual allegations in the complaint; however, legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Id. at 678-79. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id. at 678.

         Second, the court must consider whether the factual allegations in the complaint allege a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff's complaint alleges facts that allow the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. at 678.

         Where the complaint does not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has “alleged-but not shown-that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). When the allegations in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, plaintiff's claim must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         The Ninth Circuit addressed post-Iqbal pleading standards in Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). The Starr court stated, in relevant part:

First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively. Second, the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation.

Id.

         III. Discussion

         LVMPD and Shoemaker filed separate motions to dismiss plaintiff's claims against them. (ECF Nos. 4, 5).

         a. Plaintiff's claims against LVMPD

         LVMPD argues that both plaintiff's first cause of action for violations under § 1983, and plaintiff's second cause of action for negligence under state law should be dismissed. (ECF No. 4).

         i. Plaintiff's § 1983 claim against LVMPD

         LVMPD argues that plaintiff's first cause of action, brought under § 1983, should be dismissed because the claim only alleges that Shoemaker “willfully, negligently and recklessly” disregarded plaintiff's safety by refusing to allow plaintiff to receive additional medical treatment for his hand resulting in additional injury. (ECF No. 4). LVMPD asserts this claim fails as to LVMPD because (1) a municipality cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a resp ...


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