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Hanson v. Blaine County

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 28, 2017

SCOTT HANSON, Plaintiff,


          B. Lynn Winmill, Chief Judge United States District Court.


         Before the Court are Defendants' Blaine County, Gene D. Ramsey, Gooding County, Shaun Gough, William Shubert, and Jesus Gonzalez's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 17) and Kevin Wayt's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 30). The matters are fully briefed. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss the state law claims against Ramsey, Gough, Shubert, and Gonzalez without leave to amend. In addition, the Court will grant Defendant Wayt's Motion to Dismiss, but with leave to amend.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” in order to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss “does not need detailed factual allegations, ” it must set forth “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. 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.” Id. at 570. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Id. 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. at 557.

         The Supreme Court identified two “working principles” that underlie Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First, the court need not accept as true, legal conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. Id. Rule 8 does not “unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at 678-79. Second, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must state a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         A dismissal without leave to amend is improper unless it is beyond doubt that the complaint “could not be saved by any amendment.” Harris v. Amgen, Inc., 573 F.3d 728, 737 (9th Cir. 2009) (issued 2 months after Iqbal).[1] The Ninth Circuit has held that “in dismissals for failure to state a claim, a district court should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.” Cook, Perkiss and Liehe, Inc. v. Northern California Collection Service, Inc., 911 F.2d 242, 247 (9th Cir. 1990). The issue is not whether plaintiff will prevail but whether he “is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims.” Diaz v. Int'l Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 13, 474 F.3d 1202, 1205 (9th Cir. 2007)(citations omitted).


         1. Factual Background

         In his Complaint, Hanson alleges Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants in these motions are all law enforcement officers in various positions and from different counties. Ramsey was the elected Sheriff of Blaine County, Idaho. Gough, Shubert, and Gonzalez were all members of Gooding County law enforcement. Gough was the sheriff; Shubert was a Corporal; Gonzalez was an Officer. Wayt was a Parole Officer for the State of Idaho.

         Wayt arrested Hanson around September 19, 2014 for an alleged parole violation. Compl. ¶ 16. At the time of his arrest, Hanson allegedly informed Wayt he had recently had surgery on his right eye and required prescription eye drops. Id. at ¶ 17. Wayt refused to allow him to take his prescription eye drops with him to the county jail. Id.

         Hanson was booked into Blaine County Jail and later transferred to Gooding County jail on September 22, 2014. He alleges that, despite informing members of the County Jails of his need for the eye drops, that the Defendants deprived him of his eye drops for at least six days. Id. at ¶ 18-22. Hanson experienced retinal detachment in his right eye requiring two surgical procedures to repair it. As a result, he has suffered permanent vision lost in his right eye. Id. at ¶ 24.


         1. Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 17) - Bond Requirement

         Ramsey, Gough, Shubert, and Gonzalez[1] seek to dismiss the state law claims for failure to post bond under Idaho Code § 6-610. Section 6-610 requires that “[b]efore any civil action may be filed against any law enforcement officer or service of civil process on any law enforcement officer, ” plaintiffs must post a bond prior to or simultaneously with the filing of the complaint. I.C. § 6-610(2). Although not a jurisdictional requirement, posting bond is ...

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