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Edgerly v. City and County of San Francisco

March 19, 2010

ERRIS EDGERLY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO; DAVID GOFF; JOHN CONEFREY; FREDERICK SCHIFF, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.
ERRIS EDGERLY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO; DAVID GOFF; JOHN CONEFREY; FREDERICK SCHIFF, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California William H. Alsup, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-03-02169-WHA.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paez, Circuit Judge

FOR PUBLICATION

Argued and Submitted November 13, 2006

Opinion Filed July 17, 2007

Opinion and Submission Vacated May 22, 2008

Resubmitted March 12, 2010 -- San Francisco, California

Before: William C. Canby, Jr., John T. Noonan, and Richard A. Paez, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

San Francisco Police Department Officers David Goff and John Conefrey ("Officers") arrested Erris Edgerly for trespassing within the gated area of the Martin Luther King/Marcus Garvey Housing Cooperative ("Cooperative"). The Officers transported Edgerly to the local police station, where they searched him for contraband. The search did not reveal any contraband and Sergeant Frederick Schiff, the police supervisor on duty at the time, authorized the Officers to issue Edgerly a citation for trespass and release him. Edgerly was not prosecuted for trespass or any other offense. Edgerly then filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against the Officers, Schiff, and the City and County of San Francisco ("City"), alleging that the Officers unlawfully arrested and searched him in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and that Schiff and the City were liable for the Officers' unconstitutional actions. He also asserted various state tort claims against the Officers, Schiff, and the City.

In ruling on the parties' motions for summary judgment,*fn1 the district court dismissed Edgerly's § 1983 claims against the City and all claims against Schiff, but found that there were genuine issues of material fact with regard to Edgerly's constitutional and state law claims against the Officers and state law claims against the City, and therefore allowed those claims to proceed to trial.

Following the presentation of all evidence, the district court granted the defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a) and dismissed Edgerly's remaining claims. The court also awarded attorneys' fees to Schiff under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and imposed sanctions against Edgerly and his attorney, Gregory Haynes, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b). We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We reverse in part, affirm in part, and remand for further proceedings.

On Edgerly's § 1983 arrest claim, we hold that the Officers had probable cause to arrest Edgerly for trespass in violation of California Penal Code section 602.8. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment to the City, and of judgment as a matter of law to the Officers, on the Fourth Amendment arrest claim. However, because a custodial arrest was not authorized under state law, we reverse the district court's grant of judgment as a matter of law to the Officers and the City on Edgerly's state law false arrest claim, and remand for further proceedings.

On Edgerly's search claims, we hold that, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Edgerly, a reasonable jury could find that the Officers subjected him to an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment and California Penal Code section 4030(f). We also hold that the Officers are not entitled to qualified immunity for the search as alleged. Consequently, we reverse and remand for further proceedings on Edgerly's § 1983 unlawful search claim against the Officers and state law search claims against the Officers and the City. We affirm the grant of summary judgment to the City on Edgerly's related Monell*fn2 search claim, however, because Edgerly has not provided sufficient evidence that the Officers were acting pursuant to a City policy of conducting strip searches without reasonable suspicion.

Finally, as to Edgerly's other claims, we reverse the Rule 50(a) ruling dismissing his additional state law claims against the Officers and the City. We affirm, however, (1) the grant of summary judgment to Schiff, (2) the award of attorneys' fees to Schiff under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, and (3) the imposition of sanctions against Edgerly and his counsel.

I. Background

In reviewing the district court's summary judgment ruling, we consider only the evidence submitted in connection with the parties' motions, which consisted primarily of their pre-trial depositions. Conversely, in reviewing the district court's Rule 50(a) ruling, we consider only the evidence presented at trial. However, other than one discrepancy in Edgerly's testimony that is not relevant to our disposition,*fn3 there were no significant differences between the parties' depositions and trial testimony. Therefore, we do not expressly distinguish between the two in our description of the facts.

The material evidence regarding Edgerly's arrest is not in dispute. On August 29, 2000, while on daytime patrol, Officers Goff and Conefrey drove by the Cooperative and observed Edgerly standing inside the fence that surrounds the property, next to a playground area. "No trespassing" signs were posted at the Cooperative's gated entrances. The Officers continued on their patrol and returned about five minutes later to find Edgerly standing at the same location. According to the Officers, they knew that Edgerly did not live at the Cooperative and that he had previously been arrested for a drug offense at a nearby street corner.*fn4

The Officers stopped their car, approached Edgerly, and asked him "what he was doing." According to the Officers, Edgerly responded that he was "just chilling," which meant "just hanging out for no reason."*fn5 Having "determin[ed] that he had no specific reason to be [at the Cooperative]," the Officers arrested Edgerly for trespassing in violation of California Penal Code section 602(l). The Officers testified that Edgerly was trespassing because he was loitering on the property and the Cooperative's management had requested that officers enforce the "no trespassing" signs.

After the arrest, the Officers conducted a pat-down search of Edgerly and transported him to the Park Police Station, where they performed an additional search. There is conflicting evidence regarding the station search. Edgerly testified that Officer Goff asked him to remove his shoes and socks, pull his pants down to his ankles, and bend over and cough. He also testified that Goff looked inside his boxer shorts before telling him that he could get dressed. The Officers, however, testified that Goff conducted only a routine clothing search. In any event, the search did not reveal any contraband. Sergeant Schiff was the supervisor on duty at the police station at the time, but he was not aware of the arrest or search until after they were completed, at which time he authorized the Officers to cite and release Edgerly. Edgerly was never prosecuted for any offense.

Edgerly filed an action against the Officers, Schiff, and the City in the Superior Court of California, seeking damages under § 1983 for violations of his Fourth Amendment rights. Edgerly also alleged state law claims for negligence, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest, and unlawful search. The City properly removed the case to federal court. After the parties completed discovery, the district court granted summary judgment to the City on Edgerly's § 1983 Monell claims and to Schiff on all claims against him. The court found, however, that there were genuine issues of material fact with regard to Edgerly's § 1983 and state law claims against the Officers and state law claims against the City, and therefore denied summary judgment on those claims.

At trial, at the close of all the evidence, the district court granted the Officers and City's motion for judgment as a matter of law "for the reasons stated on the record and memorandum submitted by [the Officers and City]."*fn6 The court ruled that, as a matter of law, the Officers had probable cause to arrest Edgerly, if not under section 602(l), then under another state trespassing or loitering statute. As the court explained at the Rule 50 hearing:

On this record and these circumstances no jury could find otherwise than these officers had probable cause to believe a crime of some sort had been committed. That's true even if it wasn't 602(l). It didn't have to be 602(l). In addition, I want to say that counsel should have brought to my attention California Penal Code 602.8. . . . But I want to say that I'm not limiting my analysis to 602.8. I am adopting each and every other provision that the City Attorney's Office has suggested . . . .*fn7

The court also held that the Officers' search of Edgerly at the police station was not a strip search and was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. In the alternative, the court held that, under federal and state law, the Officers were entitled to immunity from all of Edgerly's claims.

After entry of judgment, the district court granted Schiff's motion for attorneys' fees, because Edgerly failed to dismiss Schiff after discovery revealed that the claims against him lacked merit. The court also granted Schiff's motion for sanctions against Edgerly and his attorney, finding that they filed two frivolous motions for reconsideration of the court's summary judgment ruling.

II. Discussion

A. Officers Goff and ...


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