The opinion of the court was delivered by: DANA SABRAW, District Judge
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION
[Doc. No. 40]
This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion for
summary judgment or, in the alternative, summary adjudication.
Plaintiff has filed an opposition to the motion and Defendants
have filed a reply. Plaintiff has also filed a supplemental
The matter came on for hearing on September
30, 2005. Jim Miller, Jr., Esq. appeared on behalf of Plaintiff,
and Mitchell Dean, Esq. and Shiva Elihu, Esq. appeared on behalf
of Defendants. For the reasons set out below, the Court grants in
part and denies in part Defendants' motion.
Plaintiff filed her original complaint in this case on
September 22, 2004, in San Diego County Superior Court. Defendant
City of La Mesa removed the case to this Court on October 7,
2004. Upon the City's request to file a motion to dismiss, the Court held a
telephonic status conference on November 2, 2004. At the
conference the parties agreed to the filing of a First Amended
Complaint, in which Plaintiff would identify two of the Doe
Defendants referenced in the Complaint.
Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint on November 12,
2004, and identified Officers Brown and Becker as Defendants. She
alleges Defendants Brown and Becker violated her constitutional
rights to be free from unreasonable seizure, unreasonable search
and excessive force. In addition, she alleges Defendant City of
La Mesa is liable pursuant to Monell v. New York City Dep't of
Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691-693 (1978). She also asserts
state law claims for negligence, battery, false arrest and for
violation of California Civil Code Section 52.1 against the
Individual Defendants and the City.
The incident giving rise to this case occurred at Plaintiff's
residence at 4261 Lowell Avenue, #7, in La Mesa, California, on
April 24, 2004. At that time, Plaintiff lived in the residence
with her two adult children, Shire and Selina Cain. (Defs.'
Separate Statement of Undisputed Facts in Supp. of Mot. for Summ.
J., Fact No. 3.) At approximately midnight on that date,
Plaintiff called the police complaining that her daughter had
shut off her electricity. (Id. at No. 7.) Selina explained the
electricity was shut off to quiet Plaintiff because she was being
loud and preventing others from sleeping. (Id. at No. 12.)
Defendant Becker and Officer Lawton of the La Mesa Police
Department responded to the call. (Id. at No. 8.) Becker
reported Plaintiff was intoxicated. (Id.) He could smell
alcohol on Plaintiff's breath, observed that her gait was
unsteady, her eyes were red and she was uncooperative. (Id. at
Nos. 9-10.) Plaintiff admitted she had been drinking prior to the
incident. (Id. at No. 11.) Defendant Becker and Officer Lawton
eventually left the scene without making an arrest because they
believed the situation was resolved. (Id. at No. 13.) After the
Officers left the scene, Plaintiff called the police again, this
time to report a petty theft of her television by her daughter.
(Id. at No. 15.) Defendant Becker and Officer Lawton returned
to Plaintiff's residence. (Id. at No. 14.) After speaking to
the parties involved, and believing the situation was settled,
they again left the scene. (Id. at No. 16.) At approximately 3:30 a.m., Plaintiff's son, Shire Cain, called
the police due to Plaintiff's loud and disruptive behavior.
(Id. at No. 18.) Defendant Brown was the first to arrive at the
scene, followed by Defendant Becker and other officers. (Id. at
Nos. 20-21.) Defendant Brown was aware that La Mesa Police had
been summoned to Plaintiff's residence approximately 11 times
since August 2002, and at least five times since March 2004.
(Decl. of Vince Brown in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J. ("Brown
Decl.") at ¶ 4.) Upon arrival, Defendant Brown spoke with Shire
Cain outside of the residence, and Mr. Cain informed Defendant
Brown his mother had been drinking all day. (Id. at No. 21-22.)
Plaintiff then exited the residence waiving what she believed
were eviction papers at the Officers. (Id. at No. 23.)
Plaintiff's speech was slurred, her eyes were red, her gait was
unsteady, and she appeared drunk. (Id. at No. 24.)
As Defendant Brown began to walk toward Plaintiff, she turned
away from him and started heading back toward her residence.
(Id. at No. 25.) After Plaintiff had reentered her residence,
Defendant Brown grabbed Plaintiff's right arm and pulled her out
of the house. (Id. at No. 26.) At the same time, Defendant
Brown slammed Plaintiff into a wall and applied a Wrist Flex Hold
(or wrist compliance hold),*fn2 fracturing Plaintiff's right
humerus. (Id. at Nos. 27, 31; Pl.'s Separate Statement of Facts
Disputing Defs.' Separate Statement of Undisputed Facts at p. 2.)
Defendant Becker assisted Defendant Brown by grabbing Plaintiff's
left arm. (Defs.' Supp. Separate Statement of Undisputed Facts in
Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J., Fact Nos. 52, 55.)
Plaintiff was eventually arrested for violation of California
Penal Code Section 647(f).*fn3 (Id. at No. 35.) After
Plaintiff was transported from the scene, Shire Cain gave the
officers consent to enter the residence, which they did. (Id.
at Nos. 36-37.) III.
Defendants move for summary judgment on each of Plaintiff's
claims. They argue the Individual Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity from Plaintiff's Section 1983 claims,
Plaintiff has failed to identify a policy, custom or practice to
support her Monell claim, and all Defendants are entitled to
judgment on Plaintiffs' state law claims. Plaintiff disputes all
of these arguments.
Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine issue as
to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving
party has the initial burden of demonstrating that summary
judgment is proper. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144,
157 (1970). The moving party must identify the pleadings,
depositions, affidavits, or other evidence that it "believes
demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "A material
issue of fact is one that affects the outcome of the litigation
and requires a trial to resolve the parties' differing versions
of the truth." S.E.C. v. Seaboard Corp., 677 F.2d 1301, 1306
(9th Cir. 1982).
The burden then shifts to the opposing party to show that
summary judgment is not appropriate. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324.
The opposing party's evidence is to be believed, and all
justifiable inferences are to be drawn in its favor. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, to avoid
summary judgment, the opposing party cannot rest solely on
conclusory allegations. Berg v. Kincheloe, 794 F.2d 457, 459
(9th Cir. 1986). Instead, it must designate specific facts
showing there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. See also Butler
v. San Diego District Attorney's Office, 370 F.3d 956, 958
(9th Cir. 2004) (stating if defendant produces enough
evidence to require plaintiff to go beyond pleadings, plaintiff
must counter by producing evidence of his own). More than a
"metaphysical doubt" is required to establish a genuine issue of
material fact." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)
The Individual Defendants argue they are entitled to qualified
immunity from Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim. Qualified immunity
shields government officials performing discretionary functions from liability for civil damages unless their conduct
violates clearly established statutory or constitutional rights
of which a ...