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Markus M. Hall, Monique G. v. City of Fairfield

January 11, 2012

MARKUS M. HALL, MONIQUE G. RANKIN, LINDSEY K. SANDERS,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF FAIRFIELD, NICK MCDOWELL, CHRIS GRIMM, TOM SHACKFORD, ZACK SANDOVAL, STEVE CRANE,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER RE: MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Pending are cross summary judgment motions on each Plaintiff's federal Fourth Amendment unlawful arrest claim alleged against Defendants Officer Nick McDowell, Officer Chris Grimm, Officer Tom Shackford, Officer Zack Sandoval, and Sergeant Steve Crane, (collectively "Defendant Officers"); and on each Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment unlawful arrest claim alleged against the City of Fairfield under Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978) ("Monell"). (Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment ("P MSJ"), ECF No. 48; Defendants City of Fairfield, Officers Nick McDowell, Christopher Grimm, Tom Shackford, Zachary Sandoval and Sergeant Steve Crane's Motion for Summary Judgment ("D MSJ"), ECF No. 66.)

Further, Defendants seek summary judgment on the following claims: Plaintiff Markus Hall's federal Fourth Amendment excessive force claim alleged against Defendant Officers; and each Plaintiff's claims alleged under Civil Code sections 51.7 and 52.1.

Each Defendant Officer also argues his federal qualified immunity defense shields him from exposure to liability for Plaintiff's federal false arrest claim; and that California Government Code section 821.6 shields him from exposure to liability for Plaintiffs' state false arrest and battery claims.

Further, Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the following claims in their opposition to the summary judgment motion and during the hearing on the motions: each Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim; Plaintiff Monique Rankin's federal Fourth Amendment excessive force claim; and Plaintiff Monique Rankin's state battery claim. Therefore, these claims are dismissed.

This case concerns the citizen's arrests of Plaintiffs Markus Hall, Monique Rankin and Lindsey Sanders on July 4, 2009 for violation of California Penal Code section 602.1, made by In-N-Out Restaurant Manager Marc Young under California Penal Code section 837. Section 837 allows "[a] private person [to] arrest another . . . [f]or a public offense committed or attempted in his presence." Each Plaintiff was taken into custody pursuant to this citizen's arrest by a City of Fairfield Police Department officer or officers, and was also arrested under California Penal Code section 148 due to their failure to comply with officers' directions to leave the premises.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "A fact is 'material' when, under the governing substantive law, it could affect the outcome of the case." Thrifty Oil Co. v. Bank of Am. Nat. Trust and Sav. Ass'n, 322 F.3d 1039, 1046 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). An issue of material fact is "genuine" when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. The moving party's initial burden "may be met by . . . pointing out to the district court that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528 (9th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation and citation omitted).

If the movant satisfies its initial burden, "the non-moving party must set forth, by affidavit or as otherwise provided in [Federal] Rule [of Civil Procedure] 56, specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). The "non-moving [party] cannot rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleading but must instead produce evidence that sets forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Estate of Tucker ex rel. Tucker v. Interscope Records, Inc., 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

Further, Local Rule 260(b) requires: Any party opposing a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication [must] reproduce the itemized facts in the [moving party's] Statement of Undisputed Facts and admit those facts that are undisputed and deny those that are disputed, including with each denial a citation to the particular portions of any pleading, affidavit, deposition, interrogatory answer, admission, or other document relied upon in support of that denial.

If the non-movant does not "specifically . . . [controvert duly supported] facts identified in the [movant's] statement of undisputed facts," the non-movant "is deemed to have admitted the validity of the facts contained in the [movant's] statement." Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 527 (2006).

Because a district court has no independent duty to scour the record in search of a genuine issue of triable fact, and may rely on the nonmoving party to identify with reasonable particularity the evidence that precludes summary judgment, . . . the district court . . . [is] under no obligation to undertake a cumbersome review of the record on the [nonmoving party's] behalf.

Simmons v. Navajo Cnty., Arizona, 609 F.3d 1011, 1017 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

Evidence must be "view[ed] . . . in the light most favorable to the non-moving party[,]" and "all reasonable inferences" that can be drawn from the evidence must be drawn "in favor of [the non-moving] party." Nunez v. Duncan, 591 F.3d 1217, 1222-23 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Bank of N.Y.C. v. Fremont Gen. Corp., 523 F.3d 902, 909 (9th Cir. 2008)).

II. SUMMARY OF UNCONTROVERTED FACTS

"On July 4, 2009, at approximately 12:55 a.m., Plaintiffs . . . arrived at an In-N-Out Burger restaurant located at 1364 Holiday Lane, Fairfield, California." (Plaintiffs' Statement of Undisputed Facts in Support of Motion for Summary Adjudication ("P SUF") No. 1, ECF No. 50.) "Prior to Plaintiffs arriving at the restaurant, at approximately 12:54 a.m., the manager of the restaurant, . . . MARC L. YOUNG ("Young"), had called the Fairfield Police Department to report a disturbance at the restaurant by a group of African Americans who were acting 'rowdy and throwing food around.' The call was logged by the Fairfield Police Department at '12:54:50 AM.'" (P SUF No. 2.) "At approximately 12:55 a.m., the Fairfield Police Department dispatched officers to the restaurant[, t]he . . . dispatch report described black males and black females throwing food around and refusing to leave -- 'BM's AND BF's' 'THROWING FOOD AROUND' 'REF TO LEAVE.'" (P SUF No. 3.)

"At approximately 12:59 a.m., . . . Defendants NICK McDOWELL ("McDowell"), CHRIS GRIMM ("Grimm"), TOM SHACKFORD ("Shackford"), and ZACK SANDOVAL ("Sandoval") . . . entered the restaurant." (P SUF No. 5.) "When the officers arrived, Officer McDowell spoke . . . to Young who, according to Officer McDowell, stated words to the effect that 'there was a disturbance, there was a lot of people in the restaurant.'" (P SUF No. 5.) "Young then proceeded to the table where Plaintiffs were seated and, pointing his fingers toward the counter and the door, told them that they had to 'order or leave.'" Id. "In-N-Out Manager Marc Young requested the City of Fairfield officers remove Plaintiffs from the InN-Out property." (Defendants City of Fairfield, Officers Nick McDowell, Christopher Grimm, Tom Shackford, Zachary Sandoval and Sergeant Steve Crane's Separate Statement in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the alternative, Summary Adjudication ("D SUF") No. 13, ECF No. 66-1.)

"Defendant officers approached Plaintiffs inside the In-N-Out Restaurant and requested they voluntarily leave, with that request repeated multiple times." (D SUF No. 13; P SUF No. 6.) "The officers did not explain to Plaintiffs why they were being told to leave, did not respond to Plaintiffs when they asked why they were being told to leave and, although there were a number of employees and patrons at the restaurant, the officers did not inquire of any of them if Plaintiffs had been interfering, obstructing or intimidating anyone at the restaurant." (P SUF No. 6.) "At ...


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