United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION OF U.S. MAGISTRATE
TIMOTHY J. CAVAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Estate of Michael Ostby by and through the court
appointed personal representatives, and Nicole Hale, Joe
Ostby, and Cassandra Ostby, individually, (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”), bring this action against
Yellowstone County for negligence and civil rights violations
after the decedent, Michael Ostby, committed suicide while
being held as a pretrial detainee at the Yellowstone County
Detention Facility (“YCDF”). (Doc. 51.)
before the Court is the County's Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings. (Doc. 56.) The motion has been referred to the
undersigned under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and is fully
briefed and ripe for the Court's review.
considered the parties' submissions, the Court
RECOMMENDS the County's Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings be GRANTED.
7, 2015, Michael Ostby (“Ostby”) was arrested and
detained at YCDF. (Doc. 51 at ¶¶ 16-17.) On July 1,
2015, Ostby died by suicide by hanging while incarcerated.
(Id. at ¶ 2.)
30, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a complaint in state court against
Yellowstone County, Billings Clinic, a former employee of
Billings Clinic, and RiverStone Health. (Doc. 1-2.) The case
was removed to this Court on September 21, 2017. (Doc. 1.)
Thereafter, the County filed cross-claims and third-party
complaints against Billings Clinic and RiverStone. (Docs. 3,
Plaintiffs settled with RiverStone, Billings Clinic and its
employee Terry Jesse, and the Court dismissed the
County's third-party complaints against RiverStone and
Billings Clinic. (Docs. 5-1 at 7, 10, 69.)
5, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint. (Doc.
51.) Plaintiffs allege the County was negligent in failing to
provide adequate medical and psychiatric care for Ostby at
YCDF. (Id.) Plaintiffs also allege the County
violated Ostby's right to adequate medical care under the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
County now moves for partial judgement on the pleadings as to
Plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim, and the
individual claims of Nicole Hale, Joe Ostby and Cassandra
Ostby. (Doc. 56.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) provides that “[a]fter
the pleadings are closed - but early enough not to delay
trial - a party may move for judgment on the
pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). A Rule 12(c) motion is
“functionally identical” to a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Cafasso, United States ex rel. v.
General Dynamics C4 Systems, Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054
n.4 (9th Cir. 2011). Thus, the same legal standard
“applies to motions brought under either rule.”
under Rule 12(b)(6) is proper only when the complaint either
(1) lacks a cognizable legal theory or (2) fails to allege
sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory.”
Zixiang Li v. Kerry, 710 F.3d 995, 999 (9th Cir.
2013) (quoting Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med.
Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097, 1104 (9th Cir. 2008)). The
Court's standard of review under Rule 12(b)(6) is
informed by Rule 8(a)(2), which requires that a pleading
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-678 (2009)
(quoting Fed. R. Civ. P 8(a)).
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Id. at 678. “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. A plausibility determination is context
specific, and courts ...