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Sanfilippo v. Foster

October 21, 2010


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

SCHEDULING CONFERENCE ORDER Discovery Cut-Off: 6/30/11 Non-Dispositive Motion Filing Deadline: 7/15/11 Non-Dispositive Motion Hearing Date: 8/19/11 9:00 Ctrm. 7

Date of Scheduling Conference. October 21, 2010.

Deadline: 7/29/11 Dispositive Motion Filing Dispositive Motion Hearing Date: 8/29/11 10:00 Ctrm. 3 Settlement Conference Date: 7/12/11 10:30 Ctrm. 7 Pre-Trial Conference Date: 10/3/11 11:00 Ctrm. 3 Trial Date: 11/8/11 9:00 Ctrm. 3 (JT-4 days)

III. Summary of Pleadings

1. Plaintiff, Dennis Sanfilippo, alleges by Complaint filed May 6, 2010, a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, wherein he alleges unlawful use of force and unlawful arrest against Calaveras County Sheriff's Deputy G. Foster. Plaintiff, who asserts he had committed no crime, was beaten and arrested without probable cause by Deputy Sheriff G. Foster, who was employed by the County of Calaveras Sheriff's Department. Plaintiff further alleges that the violation of his constitutional rights by Deputy Foster were caused by the hiring, retention, lack of supervision and lack of discipline policies of the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department. In this case, during the afternoon of July 2, 2009, Plaintiff was in the process of working at his restaurant lounge in Copperopolis when Deputy G. Foster came into the premises. Plaintiff had been having an ongoing dispute with an agent of the landlord, Bernadette Abrahams, who was making claims disputing which area of the premises could be used as Plaintiff's restaurant. Plaintiff had in fact contacted the Sheriff's Department earlier the same day and the Sheriff's Department indicated it was a civil matter. When Deputy G. Foster became involved in the dispute, he was told to call his office because the matter had already been reported and the parties were told it was a civil matter. Deputy G. Foster chose not to call his office and when Plaintiff was trying to explain it was a landlord/tenant situation, Plaintiff was told to "shut up." Plaintiff was then advised by Deputy G. Foster that if he didn't remove his property from the disputed area, he would be placed under arrest. Plaintiff put his hands behind his back and told the Deputy he might as well arrest him because he would not remove the property, as it is an ongoing dispute which the Sheriff's Department had already indicated was a civil matter. Deputy G. Foster then handcuffed Plaintiff and put him up against the wall. Later, Deputy G. Foster returned to where Plaintiff was handcuffed and grabbed Plaintiff, swinging him into a wall, causing him to slam onto the floor. As a result of this treatment, Plaintiff suffered multiple fractures of his ribs. Plaintiff was transported to Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital and then to the Sheriff's Office, where he was booked. While at Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital, Plaintiff overheard a conversation between Deputy G. Foster and one of his superiors who was telling him that he should have called the Sheriff's Department since the matter had already been determined to be a civil matter. Plaintiff also seeks damages for assault and battery under California law. Defendant asserts the use of force was consented to, justified under the circumstances, or entitled to qualified immunity.

Defendants' Factual Contentions

2. Defendants Deny the Material Allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint

On July 2, 2009, Deputy Sheriff Greg Foster responded to a call from Bernadette Abramson regarding an incident of "defrauding an innkeeper" at Lake Tulloch Resort. Ms. Abramson reported to Deputy Foster that Richard Franco, a business partner of Plaintiff's, was occupying a hotel room which he had no right to occupy and Ms. Abramson wanted Mr. Franco to vacate the hotel room because she had another tenant who was arriving that day. Ms. Abramson reported that Mr. Franco had been staying in that room for two months without paying any rent and that she had attempted several times unsuccessfully to remove Mr. Franco from that room. Deputy Foster interviewed Mr. Franco who confirmed that he had not paid any rent. Mr. Franco was cooperating with Deputy Foster in vacating the room until Plaintiff interfered with Deputy Foster's performance of his duties and challenged Deputy Foster in a very belligerent and physically threatening manner. Deputy Foster warned Plaintiff not to interfere. Plaintiff continued to interfere, stomped his feet, yelled at Deputy Foster and waved his hands in an angry manner. He then dared Deputy Foster to arrest him. Plaintiff continued to interfere with Deputy Foster's performance of his duty. Because of his continued interference and his aggressive and confrontational behavior, Deputy Foster placed handcuffs on Plaintiff to detain him until the call for service was complete. After Deputy Foster placed handcuffs on Plaintiff, Plaintiff continued to resist and refused to comply with Deputy Foster's lawful directives. Deputy Foster arrested Plaintiff for violation of Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) - resisting or delaying a peace officer. No formal charges were ever filed against Plaintiff.

3. Deputy Foster employed only reasonable force to effect the detention and arrest of Plaintiff and personally believed there was legal cause and justification for all actions he took regarding Plaintiff.

4. Plaintiff contends that Defendants violated his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343 and that he was unlawfully assaulted and battered by Deputy Foster.

5. Defendant denies the material allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint. Defendant had legal cause to detain and arrest Plaintiff and employed reasonable force to do so. Defendants acted in good faith and with a reasonable belief as to the legality of the things and matters attributed to them in Plaintiff's Complaint. Defendant County of Calaveras had no officially adopted policy, practice or custom which led to the deprivation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Defendants are immune from liability pursuant to the provisions of California Government Code §§ 815, 815.2, 818, 820.2 and 820.4. Defendants' actions were reasonable and lawful pursuant to California Penal Code §§ 835, 835(a) and 836.5. Defendants are immune as provided for in California Penal Code § 847.

IV. Orders Re Amendments To Pleadings

1. The parties do not anticipate amending the pleadings at this time.

V. Factual Summary

A. Admitted Facts Which Are Deemed Proven Without Further Proceedings

1. Plaintiff, Dennis Sanfilippo, was a resident of the County of Calaveras, State of California at the time of the incident at issue.

2. Dennis Sanfilippo was the owner and operator of a restaurant and lounge at Lake Tulloch Resort, Copperopolis, California.

3. At all times, Deputy Greg Foster, was duly employed by the County of Calaveras as a Deputy Sheriff and was acting under the color of law and within the course and scope of his employment.

4. Calaveras County is a public entity duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of California

5. Plaintiff was detained and then arrested on the afternoon of July 2, 2009 by Defendant Foster.

B. Contested Facts

1. All remaining facts are disputed

VI. Legal ...

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