United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS SWEDISH MEDICAL CENTER AND
GRETCHEN TOPPING'S MOTION TO DISMISS
L. ROBART United States District Judge
the court is Defendants Swedish Medical Center
(“Swedish”) and Gretchen Topping's
(collectively, “Medical Center Defendants”)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
Plaintiffs' claims against them. (MTD (Dkt. # 9); see
also Reply (Dkt. # 16).) Plaintiffs oppose Medical
Center Defendants' motion. (Resp. (Dkt. # 15).) The court
has reviewed the motion, all of the parties' submissions
related to the motion, the relevant portions of the record,
and the applicable law. Being fully advised, the court GRANTS
the motion and dismisses Plaintiffs' claims against
Medical Center Defendants. Further, the court declines to
grant Plaintiffs leave to amend their claims against Medical
Center Defendants because their claims against these
defendants fail as a matter of law.
allegations underlying this lawsuit are tragic. Plaintiffs
Robert Lynn Jackson, Jr. and Catherine Irene Jackson are the
parents of the decedent, Forest Edwin Jackson, who was
murdered on March 28, 2014. (Compl. (Dkt. # 1) ¶¶
allege that “law enforcement” knew that Toby
Sauceda was a danger to himself and others based on a July
19, 2014, newspaper article that described a February 2014,
incident. (Id. ¶ 9.) According to the article,
Mr. Sauceda “barricaded himself inside an apartment
after threatening to slit his [own] throat and overdose on
pills.” (Id.) The article also states that Mr.
Sauceda pointed “a BB-gun made to appear like a Beretta
semiautomatic pistol” at an officer. (Id.) As
a result of this incident, police charged Mr. Sauceda with
allege that on March 28, 2014, Mr. Sauceda called 911
“and reported that he had raped a woman.”
(Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiffs further allege that
police officers responded to the scene and “confirmed
that [Mr. Sauceda] had in fact raped a
woman.”(Id.) Plaintiffs allege that
instead of arresting Mr. Sauceda for rape, one of the
officers filled out an involuntary commitment form
(id. ¶ 13(a)) and the officers then
“dropped [Mr.] Sauceda off at [Swedish] and drove
away” (id. ¶ 13(b)).
allege that Medical Center Defendants failed to involuntarily
commit Mr. Sauceda for mental health treatment, and that
Medical Center Defendants' release of Mr. Sauceda from
the hospital created an immediate danger for Forest Jackson.
(Id. ¶¶ 7, 13(b), 14.) Plaintiffs allege
that Mr. Sauceda killed Forest Jackson on March 28, 2014,
“within a span of little over an hour” after Mr.
Sauceda's release from Swedish. (Id. ¶ 7.)
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiffs claim that Medical
Center Defendants violated Plaintiffs' constitutional
rights by releasing Mr. Sauceda “with deliberate
indifference to the rights of others” after Medical
Center Defendants determined that Mr. Sauceda “did not
meet any of the criteria for an involuntary hold.”
(Id. ¶¶ 7, 13(b)-14.) Plaintiffs also
assert a negligence claim, alleging that Medical Center
Defendants “violated their own internal policies,
practices, and mandates with regard to the creation” of
danger and “caused harm to Plaintiffs in such a way
that was avoidable and preventable.” (Id.
Center Defendants move to dismiss these claims. (See
Mot.; see also Reply.) Plaintiffs oppose Medical
Center Defendants' motion. (Resp.) The court now
considers Medical Center Defendants' motion.
Standard for a Motion to Dismiss
considering a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the court construes the complaint in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Livid
Holdings, Ltd. v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., 416 F.3d
940, 946 (9th Cir. 2005). The court must accept all well-pled
facts as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of
the plaintiff. Wyler Summit P'ship v. Turner Broad.
Sys., Inc., 135 F.3d 658, 661 (9th Cir. 1998). “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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)); see Telesaurus VPC, LLC v. Power, 623 F.3d
998, 1003 (9th Cir. 2010). A court may dismiss a complaint as
a matter of law if it lacks a cognizable legal theory or
states insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory.
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d
696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990); Robertson v. Dean Witter
Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir. 1984).
court need not accept as true a legal conclusion presented as
a factual allegation. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Although the pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8 does not require “detailed factual
allegations, ” it demands more than “an
accusation.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555). A pleading that offers only “labels and
conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action” will not survive a motion to dismiss
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Id.
Plaintiffs' § 1983 Claim
“To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff  must allege a violation of a right secured by
the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and 
must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under color of state law.” West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). If a plaintiff fails to
allege sufficient facts to support both elements of a §
1983 claim, dismissal under ...