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Ferritto v. Cuyahoga County

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

October 20, 2017

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, et al., Defendants.


          CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court upon the Motion (ECF DKT #17) of Defendant Cuyahoga County to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. (The operative complaint for purposes of this opinion is the Second Amended Complaint (ECF DKT #21)). For the following reasons, the Motion is granted in part and denied in part.


         Plaintiff brings this action against Cuyahoga County; Frank Bova, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff; and Brendan Johnson, individually and in his official capacity as Corporal in the Sheriff's Office under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for constitutional violations due to excessive force, lack of training and failure to discipline.

         On February 25, 2015, Plaintiff was ordered to serve a 30-day sentence in Cuyahoga County Jail for a probation violation. During a visitation with his parents on March 9, 2015, Plaintiff experienced chest pains and shortness of breath and feared that he was having a heart attack. His parents pressed an emergency alert button. Corrections Officer Fletcher responded and brought Plaintiff to Defendant Johnson's office. Allegedly, Defendant Johnson disregarded Plaintiff's heart complaints and requests to go to the medical dispensary because he did not believe his symptoms were likely in an eighteen-year-old. Plaintiff persisted and Defendant Johnson “literally dragged him down to the medical dispensary.” While waiting for the nurse, Plaintiff asked for Defendant Johnson's name and identification. Defendant refused; and then compelled Plaintiff to stand, pulled at Plaintiff's right arm and shoulder, yanked his right arm behind his back and pushed him against the hallway wall.

         In Count I, Plaintiff alleges that the force used by Defendant Johnson, under color of law, was unreasonable, unnecessary, excessive and done with deliberate indifference to his medical condition. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Johnson's actions constituted assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress under state law. In Count II, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Cuyahoga County and Sheriff Frank Bova failed to provide adequate training and sufficient instruction so that County Jail Officers would be aware that unreasonable force would violate the constitutional rights of persons, like Plaintiff, in the County Jail. Defendants Bova and the County failed to provide policy, education and discipline; and implicitly authorized Jail employees' misconduct with deliberate indifference to the rights and safety of Plaintiff and others.

         In the Motion before the Court, Defendant Cuyahoga County argues that Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a claim against the County and the Sheriff upon which relief may be granted.


         Standard of Review

         In deciding a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). The court need not, however, accept conclusions of law as true:

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” As the Court held in [Bell Atlantic v.] Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955');">127 S.Ct. 1955 [(2007)], the pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require “detailed factual allegations, ” but it demands more than an unadorned, the-Defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. Id. at 555. A pleading that offers “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders “naked assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual enhancement.” Id. at 557.
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.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         According to the Sixth Circuit, the standard described in Twombly and Iqbal “obliges a pleader to amplify a claim with some factual allegations in those contexts where such amplification is needed to render the claim plausible.” Weisbarth v. Geauga Park Dist., 499 F.3d 538, ...

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