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Crane v. Utah Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Utah

September 28, 2017

JANET CRANE, as Administrator of the Estate of BROCK TURNER, Plaintiff,
v.
UTAH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ALFRED BIGELOW, RICHARD GARDEN, DON TAYLOR, OFFICER COX, BRENT PLATT, SUSAN BURKE, FUTURES THROUGH CHOICES, INC., UNIVERSAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC., and JEREMY COTTLE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DISMISSING FTC AND COTTLE

          DAVID NUFFER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDG

         Plaintiff, Janet Crane, as Administrator of the Estate of Brock Turner, filed a pro se civil-rights complaint, see 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2017). The case stems from BrockTurner's suicide while in state custody.

         Defendants Futures Through Choices (FTC) and Jeremy Cottle have moved separately to be dismissed from the case. The se motions are granted, but on grounds different than those argued in the motions.[1] These grounds are raised sua sponte by the court.

         ANALYSIS

         1. Standard for Dismissal

         In evaluating the propriety of dismissing a defendant for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, all well-pleaded factual assertions are taken as true and regarded in a light most advantageous to the plaintiff. Ridge at Red Hawk L.L.C. v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir. 2007). Dismissal is appropriate when, viewing those facts as true, the plaintiff has not posed a “plausible” right to relief. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247-48 (10th Cir. 2008). “The burden is on the plaintiff to frame a ‘complaint with enough factual matter (taken as true) to suggest' that he or she is entitled to relief.” Robbins, 519 F.3d at 1247 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). When a civil rights complaint contains “bare assertions, ” involving “nothing more than a ‘formulaic recitation of the elements' of a constitutional . . . claim, ” the Court considers those assertions “conclusory and not entitled to” an assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1951 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 554-55). In other words, “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.” Red Hawk, 493 F.3d at 1177 (italics in original).

         2. There Are Few Factual Allegations as to FTC and Cottle

         The Fourth Claim for Relief in the Amended Complaint (at p. 30) lumps together several defendants, including FTC and Cottle, as Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) Defendants. Otherwise, there are few allegations directly stated against FTC and Cottle.

         In identifying FTC, the Amended Complaint states:

Defendant [FTC] is a private 501(c)(3) corporation, located in Bountiful, Utah. At all relevant times, FTC was operating under contract with DCFS, received juveniles via in-custody detention, and was acting under color of law. At all relevant times, FTC employed the staff member(s) who physically assaulted Brock while Brock was involuntarily confined at its facility in 2008.

(See Docket Entry # 39, ¶ 30.)

         Regarding Cottle, the Amended Complaint reads:

[Defendant Cottle], at all relevant times, was the CEO and Managing Director of Provo Canyon School, who failed to provide adequate mental health treatment to Brock, failed to provide reasonably safe conditions of confinement, failed to adequately train and supervise the staff, and further failed to protect Brock from being subjected to inhumane conditions as well as from being physically attacked by staff members.

(See id., at ΒΆ 16.) Other than this, Defendant Cottle is not mentioned by name in ...


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