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Bennie Ray Brown v. Officer Jess Beagley

August 6, 2012

BENNIE RAY BROWN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER JESS BEAGLEY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Doc. 58)

Jess Beagley and Justin Enns, officers of the Bakersfield Police Department ("Defendants") seek summary judgment and dismissal of the action. Plaintiff Bennie Ray Brown ("Plaintiff") did not file a timely opposition, but appeared at the hearing on August 6, 2012. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is DENIED.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff initiated this action on August 13, 2010 by filing his complaint for civil rights violations on August 13, 2010. (Doc. 1). Because Plaintiff requested permission to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court screened his complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b) and 1915(e)(2). The Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend (Doc. 5), and Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on December 6, 2010. (Doc. 6). Reviewing Plaintiff's amended complaint for cognizable claims, the Court found Plaintiff failed to allege facts sufficient to support his claims of constitutional violations by the Defendants. (Doc. 7). Accordingly, Plaintiff's amended complaint was also 2 dismissed with leave to amend on January 18, 2011. Id. 3

On April 18, 2011, Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 11). Plaintiff 4 alleged Defendants lacked probable cause to search his motel room or for his subsequent arrest. Id. 5

The Court found Plaintiff stated cognizable claims for violations of the Fourth Amendment, and 6 determined service of the Second Amended Complaint was appropriate. (Doc. 12). 7

II. STANDARDS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

The "purpose of summary judgment is to pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order 9 to see whether there is a genuine need for trial." Matsuhita Elec. Indus. Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation omitted). Summary judgment is appropriate when there is "no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). Summary judgment should be entered, "after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

A party seeking summary judgment bears the "initial responsibility" of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. An issue of fact is genuine only if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable fact finder to find for the non-moving party, while a fact is material if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Wool v. Tandem Computers, Inc., 818 F.2d 1422, 1436 (9th Cir. 1987). The party seeking summary judgment demonstrates it is appropriate by "informing the district court of the basis of its motion, and identifying those portions of ‗the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)).

If the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to present specific facts that show there is a genuine issue of a material fact. Fed R. Civ. P. 56(e); Matsuhita, 475 U.S. at 586. An opposing party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Id. at 587. The party is required to tender evidence 2 specific facts in the form of affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support of its 3 contention that a factual dispute exits. Id. at 586 n.11; Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In addition, the opposing 4 party is not required to establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor; it is sufficient that 5 "the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing 6 versions of the truth at trial." T.W. Electrical Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Assoc., 809 F.2d 7 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). However, "failure of proof concerning an essential element of the 8 nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. 9

Significantly, even if the motion is unopposed, a court cannot grant summary judgment solely because no opposition has been filed. Cristobal v. Siegel, 26 F.3d 1488, 1494-95 & n.4 (9th Cir. 1994). The court must apply standards consistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 to determine whether the moving party has demonstrated that there is no genuine issue of material fact and judgment is appropriate as a matter of law. Henry v. Gill Indus., Inc., 983 F.2d 943, 950 (9th Cir. 1993). In resolving a motion for summary judgment, the Court examines the evidence provided by the parties, including pleadings depositions, answer to interrogatories, and admissions on file. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

III. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

On March 15, 2010, the Defendants were dispatched to the Western Inn given a report of a disturbance in which the participants had kjnives and guns. The dispatcher reported,

WESTERN INN. RP CALLING FROM NON WORKING [C]ELL PHONE, 16-20 MALE AND FEMALE BLK AND HISP. WYATT. 2RP SAYS INVOLVING, 233 AND 235, SUBJS W/GUNS AND KNIVES. CAN HEAR A LD 415 OVER THE PHONE . . . SUBJS ARE STILL IN A VERBAL TO THE FRONT OF THE RPS ROOM 236 . . . . 110 233 AND 235 211 ARE THE NUMBERS INVOLVED . . ALSO 225 AND 221 . . . RP SAYS SUBJS ARE FIGHTING . . CAN NO DESCRIBED ANYTHING ANYONE IS WEARING . . . SAYS THE SUBJS W/THE GUNS ARE ...


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