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Matthew v. Yellowstone County

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

April 5, 2017

DAVID JAMES MATTHEW, Plaintiff,
v.
YELLOWSTONE COUNTY, et al, Defendants.

          ORDER

          SUSAN P. WATTERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff David James Matthew brought a complaint against various government entities and agents alleging constitutional violations arising from his confinement at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility. On May 13, 2016, United States Magistrate Judge Ostby screened Matthew's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A, and found that the complaint failed to state a claim. (Doc. 10). This Court adopted Judge Ostby's finding in full. (Doc. 14).

         On July 5, 2016, Matthew filed an amended complaint. (Doc. 15). United States Magistrate Judge Cavan screened Matthew's amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A. Judge Cavan recommends all claims in the original complaint be dismissed, counts I, IV, and V of the amended complaint be dismissed, and numerous defendants be dismissed. (Doc. 21). Matthew objects to the dismissal of Yellowstone County, the Yellowstone County Sheriffs Office, the United States Marshal Service, and Riverstone Health. (Doc. 28).

         I. Statement of the case

         Matthew does not object to the Statement of the Case contained in Judge Cavan's Findings and Recommendations. Judge Cavan's Statement of the Case is therefore adopted in full.

         II. Law

         A. Standard of review

         A district court reviews de novo any part of a Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations to which there has been proper objections. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).

         B. Motion to Dismiss

         A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). 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 Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         III. Discussion

         Judge Cavan found Yellowstone County, the Yellowstone County Sheriffs Office, and Riverstone Health ("Yellowstone County Defendants") should be dismissed because Matthew failed to allege any facts that impose liability on the entities. (Doc. 21 at 8-9). Judge Cavan found the Marshal Service should be dismissed because it has sovereign immunity as an agency of the United States. (Doc. 21 at 7). Matthew argues the Yellowstone County Defendants and the Marshal Service are not immune from suit and should not be dismissed. The Court agrees with Judge Cavan.

         A. The Yellowstone County Defendants

         A municipal entity has no respondeat superior liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Monell v. Dept. of Social Services,436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). Instead, § 1983 imposes liability on municipal entities where official policy or custom causes a constitutional tort. Monell, 436 U.S. at 690. The rule in Monell applies with equal force to private corporations providing ...


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