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Jaramillo v. Crain

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 26, 2019

RODNEY JARAMILLO, personally and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Joseph Jaramillo, deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPUTY CHRISTIAN CRAIN, in his individual capacity, DEPUTY NICHOLAS CARDINAL, in his individual capacity, and SHERRY BACA, in her individual capacity, Defendants.

          RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Kathleen M Tafoya United States Magistrate Judge

         This case comes before the court on “Defendant Sherry Baca's Motion to Dismiss” (Doc. No. 26 [Baca's Mot.], filed May 11, 2018). Plaintiff filed his response on June 20, 2018 (Doc. No. 39 [Resp. Baca's Mot.]), and Defendant Baca filed her reply on June 29, 2018 (Doc. No. 41 [Baca's Reply]).

         Also before the court is the “Motion to Dismiss” filed by Defendants Crain and Cardinal (Doc. No. 29 [Crain's Mot.], filed May 14, 2018). Plaintiff filed his response on June 20, 2018 (Doc. No. 40 [Resp. Crain's Mot.]), and Defendants Crain and Cardinal filed their reply on July 3, 2018 (Doc. No. 42 [Crain's Reply]).

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         Plaintiff filed this case on February 27, 2018, asserting claims against Deputies Christian Crain and Nicholas Cardinal and EMT Sherry Baca. (Doc. No. 1 [Compl.].) Plaintiff sues the defendants personally and as personal representative of the Estate of Joseph Jaramillo, who was an inmate housed at the Pueblo County Detention Facility. (Id. at 1.)

         Plaintiff alleges on February 23, 2016, Defendant Crain yelled at Joseph Jaramillo (“Mr. Jaramillo”) to return to his bunk from the shower area in his dorm. (Id., ¶ 10, 11.) Plaintiff states Mr. Jaramillo flipped off Deputy Crain and proceeded to undress for his shower. (Id., ¶ 11.) Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Jaramillo stepped into the shower, and Deputy Crain again yelled at him to return to his bunk. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges Defendant Crain “enlisted the help of Deputy Cardinal to take Mr. Jaramillo out” and the two defendants “stormed the shower area.” (Id., ¶ 13.) Plaintiff alleges Defendants Crain and Cardinal “grabbed Mr. Jaramillo aggressively and both took him to the ceramic floor” where Mr. Jaramillo's “head impacted the floor and the concrete area.” (Id.) Plaintiff contends Defendants Crain and Cardinal continued to assault Mr. Jaramillo even after he lost consciousness. (Id.) Plaintiff claims “Defendants Crain and Cardinal continued to assault the compliant Mr. Jaramillo with physical force.” (Id.) Mr. Jaramillo allegedly requested assistance from medical four hours later with complaints of “unrelenting head pain.” (Id., ¶ 15.) Plaintiff states a treating nurse ignored Mr. Jaramillo's “swelling head injury” and gave him ibuprofen. (Id.)

         Plaintiff states twelve hours later, Defendant Baca responded to Mr. Jaramillo's continued complaints of “extraordinary head pain.” (Id., ¶ 16.) Plaintiff alleges Ms. Baca “did a cursory and generally indifferent assessment” that revealed Mr. Jaramillo could not place his chin to his chest. (Id.) Plaintiff claims the inability to put one's chin to his chest is “medical emergency, indicative of swelling and possible bleeding inside the brain” and that Defendant Baca ignored those signs by giving Mr. Jaramillo more ibuprofen and then leaving. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants Baca and Crain subsequently observed Mr. Jaramillo screaming for help at 4:45 a.m. on February 24, 2016, and elected to do nothing. (Id., ¶ 17.) Mr. Jaramillo allegedly collapsed in his cell ten minutes later. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges ten minutes after Mr. Jaramillo collapsed, Defendant Baca entered the cell to check Mr. Jaramillo's blood sugar. (Id.) Plaintiff states Mr. Jaramillo was unconscious, suffering respiratory failure, and unresponsive. (Id.) Mr. Jaramillo never regained consciousness and later died on February 29, 2016, when he was removed from life support. (Id., ¶ 18.) Plaintiff states Mr. Jaramillo died of a subdural hematoma and associated extensive, untreated brain bleeding and swelling. (Id.)

         Plaintiff filed this survival action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983[1] asserting one claim for excessive force under the Eighth Amendment against Defendants Crain and Cardinal and one claim for failure to provide medical care and treatment under the Eighth Amendment against Defendants Crain and Baca. (Id. at 7-10.) All defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (See Baca's Mot.; Crain's Mot.)

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a defendant may move to dismiss a claim for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “The court's function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is not to weigh potential evidence that the parties might present at trial, but to assess whether the plaintiff's complaint alone is legally sufficient to state a claim for which relief may be granted.” Dubbs v. Head Start, Inc., 336 F.3d 1194, 1201 (10th Cir. 2003) (quotation marks omitted).

         “A court reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint presumes all of plaintiff's factual allegations are true and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th Cir. 1991). “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) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Plausibility, in the context of a motion to dismiss, means that the plaintiff pleaded facts which allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. The Iqbal evaluation requires two prongs of analysis. First, the court identifies “the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth, ” that is, those allegations which are legal conclusion, bare assertions, or merely conclusory. Id. at 679-81. Second, the Court considers the factual allegations “to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.” Id. at 681. If the allegations state a plausible claim for relief, such claim survives the motion to dismiss. Id. at 679.

         Notwithstanding, the court need not accept conclusory allegations without supporting factual averments. S. Disposal, Inc., v. Texas Waste, 161 F.3d 1259, 1262 (10th Cir. 1998). “[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Moreover, “[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does the complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Id. (citation omitted). “Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it ‘stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.'” Id. (citation omitted).

         In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, courts may consider not only the complaint itself, but also attached exhibits and documents incorporated into the complaint by reference. Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). “[T]he district court may consider documents referred to in the complaint if the documents are central to the ...


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