Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gonzalez v. City of Fresno

July 22, 2009

CAIN GONZALEZ PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF FRESNO, CHIEF JERRY DYER, COUNTY OF MADERA, SHERIFF JOHN ANDERSON AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the court are two motions for summary judgment or, in the alternative, summary adjudication. One motion is brought by Defendants City of Fresno and Chief Jerry Dyer (the "Fresno defendants"), and the other motion is brought by Defendants County of Madera and Sheriff John Anderson (the "Madera defendants"). The motions are directed at the claims asserted by Plaintiff Cain Gonzalez ("Plaintiff") in the Third Amended Complaint.*fn1

Also before the court is a motion, brought collectively by all Defendants, to dismiss Plaintiff's action as a sanction for Plaintiff's failure to comply with Magistrate Judge Theresa Goldner's order of November 25, 2008 (Doc. 74).

The following background facts are taken from the parties' submissions in connection with the motions and other documents on file in this case.*fn2

II. BACKGROUND

This is a civil rights case that arises out of Plaintiff's arrest on November 8, 2005, and Plaintiff's subsequent incarceration at the Madera County Jail.

A. Plaintiff's Arrest

At 5:00 a.m. on November 8, 2005, Fresno Police officers were dispatched to 5235 E. Wildflower in response to a 911 domestic disturbance call. (Doc. 88 at 1-2.)*fn3 When the officers arrived, they found a car backed into the driveway of the residence and partially in the street. The officers saw two occupants in the car (later identified as Plaintiff and his brother, Mark Gonzalez). (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff and Mark exited the car, became confrontational and demanded that the officers leave. Plaintiff and Mark refused to identify themselves to the officers who were attempting to investigate the reported disturbance. (Id.) Ultimately, Plaintiff and Mark were arrested for obstructing and delaying the officers in the performance of their duties. The officers purportedly found several baggies of contraband on Plaintiff and Mark when they were searched subsequent to their arrest. (Id.) After their arrest, Plaintiff and Mark were booked into the Fresno County Jail.

According to Plaintiff's complaint, after he was handcuffed at the residence, "Defendant Officer Doe 1" accused Plaintiff of possessing drugs. (TAC ¶ 16.)*fn4 Plaintiff alleges that "Defendant officer Doe 1 perceived that Plaintiff . . . was gay and said: 'I know where you faggots keep your shit.'" (Id.) Then officer Doe 1 "thrust one or more digits of his hand (either a finger, thumb, or both) up the anus of Plaintiff searching for drugs." (Id. at ¶ 17.) This act allegedly "ruptured the lining of Plaintiff's rectum causing Plaintiff excruciating plain." (Id.)

A few weeks later, on November 25, 2005, Plaintiff was transported from the Fresno County Jail to the Madera County Jail due to an outstanding Madera County warrant.

B. Plaintiff's Incarceration At Madera County Jail

As alleged, "Plaintiff, a gay man, had been in protective custody [while] in the Fresno County [J]ail." (TAC ¶ 34.) After being transferred to the Madera County Jail, Plaintiff claims that authorities initially placed him in protective custody. (Id.) Allegedly, however, "four days later, Plaintiff was summarily placed in the open prison population and was immediately assaulted by gang members, who slashed his ear and broke his eardrum." (Id. at ¶ 35.)

C. Plaintiff's Claims In The Third Amended Complaint

While the complaint is not a model of clarity, Plaintiff alleges various claims under 42 U.S.C § 1983 that stem from his arrest and his subsequent incarceration at the Madera County Jail. As a practical matter, the claims that stem from Plaintiff's arrest (and the associated digital search of his anal cavity) involve the two Fresno defendants, i.e., the City of Fresno and Jerry Dyer, Chief of the Fresno Police Department. The claims that stem from Plaintiff's incarceration at the Madera County Jail (and the associated altercation) involve the Madera defendants, i.e., the County of Madera and John Anderson, Sheriff of the Madera County Sheriff's Department. Both Dyer and Anderson are sued in their individual and official capacities. (TAC at ¶¶6, 10.)

Plaintiff's first § 1983 claim is for an alleged equal protection violation under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff asserts that "individual Defendants excepting Defendant ANDERSON" "targeted men who were gay, their family and friends, and Hispanics who were minding their own business and falsely charged them with drug offenses and assault[ed] them under color of law." (Id. at ¶ 42.) Plaintiff is a purported victim of this targeting. Plaintiff's second § 1983 claim is for a Fourth Amendment violation.*fn5 Plaintiff claims that "individual Defendants with the exception of Defendant ANDERSON" violated his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. (Id. at ¶ 43.) Plaintiff claims he was arrested without probable cause. (Id. at ¶ 44.) Plaintiff believes that "he was arrested because Fresno police have a policy and practice of assaulting gay Hispanic men." (Id. at ¶ 26.)

Plaintiff's third § 1983 claim is entitled "Custom and Policy." Plaintiff asserts that Chief Dyer and Sheriff Anderson "established, maintained, encouraged, allowed, and/or ratified a custom, practice or policy of providing inadequate training, supervision, instruction, oversight, and discipline to Fresno police officers, thereby failing to adequately discourage constitutional violations and tacitly agreeing to violate Plaintiff's constitutional rights." (Id. at ¶ 47.)

D. The Motions For Summary Judgment/Summary Adjudication

As for the Fresno defendants, with respect to the official capacity claim against Chief Dyer, defendants argue that it should be dismissed because it is redundant of the claim against the City of Fresno, a named defendant. With respect to Dyer's individual liability, defendants move for summary adjudication on the ground that Dyer lacked the requisite involvement in the asserted constitutional violations to be held individually liable under § 1983. As to the City, defendants move for summary judgment on the ground the Plaintiff lacks sufficient Monell evidence to hold the City liable under § 1983.

As for the Madera defendants, with respect to the official capacity claim against Anderson, defendants argue that it should be dismissed because it is redundant of the claim against the County of Fresno, a named defendant. With respect to Anderson's individual liability, defendants move for summary adjudication on the ground that Anderson lacked the requisite involvement in the asserted constitutional violations to be held individually liable under § 1983. As to the County, defendants move for summary judgment on the ground that Plaintiff lacks sufficient Monell evidence to hold the County liable under § 1983.

Dyer and Anderson also claim that qualified immunity shields them from liability for damages.

III. SUMMARY JUDGMENT/ADJUDICATION STANDARD

"The standards and procedures for granting partial summary judgment, also known as summary adjudication, are the same as those for summary judgment." Mora v. Chem-Tronics, Inc., 16 F. Supp. 2d 1192, 1200 (S.D. Cal. 1998). Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The movant "always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted).

With respect to an issue as to which the non-moving party will have the burden of proof, the movant "can prevail merely by pointing out that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007). When a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, the non-movant cannot defeat the motion by resting upon the allegations or denials of its own pleading, rather the "non-moving party must set forth, by affidavit or as otherwise provided in Rule 56, 'specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Soremekun, 509 F.3d at 984. (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986)). "Conclusory, speculative testimony in affidavits and moving papers is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat summary judgment." Id.

"[S]ummary judgment will not lie if [a] dispute about a material fact is 'genuine,' that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the district court does not make credibility determinations; rather, the "evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255.

IV. DISCUSSION AND ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.