United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
Court of Oklahoma County No. CJ-19-42)
STEPHEN P. FRIOT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
motions to dismiss are before the court. The first is brought
by the Board of County Commissioners of Oklahoma County (the
board) and Sheriff P. D. Taylor (the sheriff) in his official
capacity. Doc. no. 3. Plaintiff filed a response brief. Doc.
no. 9. Defendants filed a reply brief. Doc. no. 10. The
second motion is brought by Sheriff Taylor in his individual
capacity. Doc. no. 4. Plaintiff filed a response brief. Doc.
no. 8. Defendant filed a reply brief. Doc. no. 11. The only
other defendants are non-moving Doe defendants.
amended complaint alleges a federal claim as well as a state
law claim against all defendants. Moving defendants ask the
court to dismiss them from both of these claims under Rule
12(b)(6), Fed.R.Civ.P. As will be seen, this order grants the
motion in part, granting it to the extent that it asks the
court to dismiss the federal claim. With the federal claim
dismissed, this order declines supplemental jurisdiction over
the state law claim and remands this action, leaving the
state court to determine the sufficiency of the state law
inquiry under Rule 12(b)(6) is whether the complaint contains
enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on
its face. Ridge at Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. Schneider,
493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir., 2007), quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547
(2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must
nudge his claims across the line from conceivable to
plausible. Id. The mere metaphysical possibility
that some plaintiff could prove some set of facts in support
of the pleaded claims is insufficient; the complaint must
give the court reason to believe that this plaintiff has a
reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for these
claims. Ridge at Red Hawk, 493 F.3d at 1177. In
conducting its review, the court assumes the truth of the
plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations and views
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Id. Pleadings that are no more than legal
conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth;
while legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.662, 664 (2009). When
there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should
assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id.
The court will disregard mere “labels and
conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action” to determine if what
remains meets the standard of plausibility. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555; Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
amended complaint alleges a state law assault and battery
claim, as well as a federal claim under 42 U.S.C. §
The State Law Claim
“First Cause of Action” in the amended complaint
is a state law claim for assault and battery which appears to
be alleged against all defendants. This claim alleges that
plaintiff was assaulted while she was in the custody of the
Oklahoma County Jail as a pre-trial detainee, as a result of
which plaintiff suffered a fractured ankle.
The Federal Claim
only federal claim is a civil rights claim brought under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. This claim is alleged against the board
and the sheriff (in both of his capacities), as well as the
§ 1983 claim alleges that in violation of
plaintiff's rights under the Fourth, Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,
defendants failed to protect plaintiff from
the assault which occurred while she was in the custody of
the Oklahoma County Jail as a pretrial detainee, as a result
of which plaintiff suffered a fractured ankle. See,
doc. no. 1-4, ¶¶ 14-15, 52, 53. As evidence of
defendants' deliberate indifference to their
constitutional duty to protect plaintiff from an assault, the
amended complaint further alleges that defendants allowed
jail recordings (which presumably showed plaintiff while she
was at the jail) to be destroyed after such recordings were
requested by plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 59 (film,
videotape or recordings).
amended complaint also appears to allege a § 1983 claim
premised on failure to provide plaintiff with medical care
and treatment while she was a pre-trial detainee at the jail.
This aspect of the § 1983 claim will be dismissed
without prejudice for two reasons. First, plaintiff's
briefing expressly states that this action is not about
failure to provide medical care. Second, defendants'
motions challenge the plausibility of every aspect of
plaintiff's § 1983 claim, including the part that is
premised on a failure to provide medical care or treatment.
Plaintiff's response briefs do not defend the viability
of this aspect of her § 1983 claim, arguing, instead,
that lack of medical care is not what this action is about,
and focusing on defendants' alleged failure to protect
her from an assault. As plaintiff has not defended the
plausibility of a § 1983 claim premised on failure to
provide medical care or treatment, the court deems that
aspect of the § 1983 claim confessed,  and the court
will dismiss that aspect of the § 1983 claim, without
prejudice, under Rule 12(b)(6).
The Board's Motion to Dismiss it From the § 1983
amended complaint seeks to hold the board liable on
plaintiff's § 1983 claim as “a political
subdivision of the State of Oklahoma” which is
“responsible for the Oklahoma County Jail.”
Id. at ¶ 4. The allegation that the board is
responsible for the Oklahoma County Jail is incorrect as a
matter of law. Meade v. Grubbs, 841 F.2d 1512, 1528
(10th Cir. 1988), abrogated in part on other
grounds,  is a § 1983 case which held that
“Under Oklahoma law, the Board has no statutory duty to
hire, train, supervise or discipline the county sheriffs or
their deputies.” Id. Then, in
Meade's discussion of official capacity claims,
the court stated that “For a county to be held
responsible, it must have caused the harm through the
execution of its own policy or custom or by those whose
edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official
policy.” Id. at 1529. Under these principles,
Meade affirmed the district court's dismissal of
the board members in both their individual and official
Oklahoma Supreme Court confirmed this understanding of
Oklahoma law in Estate of Crowell v. Board of County
Commissioners of County of Cleveland, 237 P.3d 134, 142
(Okla. 2010). (Crowell's estate alleged a § 1983
claim after Crowell died of an asthma attack while in the
county jail.) Crowell states that it was the sheriff
as the final policymaker for a county jail, and not the Board
of County Commissioners of Cleveland County, who was
responsible for medical care at the jail. Id. The
Court reasoned that the board has no statutory duty to hire,
train, supervise, or discipline county sheriffs or deputies.
Accordingly, Crowell upheld summary judgment in
favor of the board. Crowell at 142, n.14, citing
Meade, 841 F.2d 1512, at n.16.
Jantzen v. Hawkins, 188 F.3d 1247, 1259
(10th Cir. 1999), the court of appeals affirmed
the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor
of the Canadian County Board of County Commissioners, noting
that “The ...