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Ferritto v. Cuyahoga County

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

February 16, 2018

DALLAS FERRITTO, Plaintiff,
v.
CUYAHOGA COUNTY, ET AL., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court upon Defendant Frank Bova's Motion to Dismiss (ECF DKT #28). For the following reasons, the Court grants Bova's Motion to Dismiss.

         FACTUAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Second Amended Complaint (ECF DKT #21). On March 9, 2015, Plaintiff became ill during a visit with his parents in the Cuyahoga County jail. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 12). Plaintiff's parents sought help from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department by pressing the alert button for an emergency and Corrections Officer Fletcher was dispatched to get Plaintiff. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 14, 15). Fletcher brought Plaintiff to Brendan Johnson's office where Plaintiff informed Johnson that he was not feeling well. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 16, 17). Johnson disregarded Plaintiff's symptoms and concerns regarding his health and ordered Plaintiff back to his pod. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 18, 19). Johnson then dragged Plaintiff into the hallway while Fletcher observed. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 21).

         Plaintiff persisted in his complaint regarding his medical condition and asked to be taken to the medical dispensary. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 22). In response, Johnson dragged him to the medical dispensary. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 23). Once at the medical dispensary, Plaintiff asked Johnson for his name and identification and Johnson refused to provide Plaintiff with the information. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 24, 25). As punishment for Plaintiff's inquiry, Johnson compelled Plaintiff to stand, causing Plaintiff to collapse. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 27). Johnson then pulled at Plaintiff's right arm and shoulder, causing injury, and subsequently dragged Plaintiff into the hallway where he yanked Plaintiff's right arm behind his back and pushed him up against a wall, causing further injury. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 28-30).

         Plaintiff alleges that Johnson's acts and conduct arose out of the failure of Defendants Cuyahoga County and Bova to provide adequate training to Johnson. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 43). As a result, Johnson was not made aware that the use of unreasonable force would violate the constitutional rights of persons in the Cuyahoga County jail. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 43). Plaintiff further alleges that the absence of clear governmental policy and sufficiently instructing Johnson that the use of unreasonable force would violate the constitutional rights of those in the jail resulted in Plaintiff's injuries. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 44). Plaintiff also indicates that neither Cuyahoga County nor Bova disciplined Johnson. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 45). Plaintiff alleges that failure to provide policy, education and sanctions for the use of excessive force permitted Johnson to engage in a pattern of unreasonable force involving Plaintiff, which shows Defendants implicitly authorized official misconduct and were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's rights and safety. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 46).

         Based on the foregoing allegations, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's actions and conduct using excessive force violated Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States in contravention of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF DKT #21, ¶ 46). Bova has filed a Motion to Dismiss the claims against him. (ECF DKT #28).

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         I. Legal Standard

         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 set forth in the complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). If the complaint contains sufficient factual allegations that, when accepted as true, “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” the complaint will survive the motion to dismiss. Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is facially plausible if 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. While the complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” it must contain more than “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Hensley Mfg. v. Pro-Pride, Inc., 589 F.3d 603, 609 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         II. Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claim Against Bova

         Bova has moved to dismiss all claims against him for failure to state a claim. In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that in his capacity as sheriff of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Bova failed to adequately train, provide policy, educate and sanction Johnson. As a result of Bova's failures, Plaintiff alleges that Johnson was not made aware that his use of unreasonable force violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Plaintiff now seeks to hold Bova liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

         A. Bova is Entitled to Qualified Immunity

         When government officials acting under color of state law commit violations of constitutional rights, they are generally subject to liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Peatross v. Cty. of Memphis, 818 F.3d 233, 240 (6th Cir. 2016). The doctrine of qualified immunity, however, protects government officials from liability “insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established . . . constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Id. (quoting Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982)). To determine whether a government official is entitled to qualified immunity, the court conducts a two-part analysis. The court must determine: 1) whether the officer's conduct violated Plaintiff's constitutional right and 2) whether “the right was clearly established” ...


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