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Beverly v. County of Los Angeles

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 21, 2014

CYNTHIA BEVERLY, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES; DEPUTY DAVID CAMPS, in his individual and official capacity; DEPUTY THOMAS KIM, in his individual and official capacity; DOES DEFENDANTS 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [33]

OTIS D. WRIGHT, II, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is the culmination of a complicated love triangle. Plaintiff Cynthia Beverly was arrested in Palmdale, California, on February 29, 2012. In her complaint, Beverly alleges that Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies and high-ranking city officials conspired and retaliated against her so as to intimidate her from speaking out against the Sheriff's Department's "harass[ment] and mistreat[ment of] minorities in the Antelope Valley." (SUF ¶ 53.) On October 25, 2013, Defendants moved for Summary Judgment on the grounds that Beverly failed to produce anything more than speculative and unsubstantiated accusations. (ECF No. 33.) Despite having three months to do so, Beverly failed to oppose the Motion. After carefully considering the evidence adduced from Defendants' Motion, the Court finds that Beverly has failed to establish any viable claims against Defendants and consequently GRANTS Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 33.)

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On February 29, 2012, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies Thomas Kim and David Camps responded to Melissa Griffin's residence after Griffin reported that Beverly was stalking her. (SUF ¶ 6.) Once there, the Deputies took a report from Griffin indicating that Beverly was obsessed with Griffin's boyfriend, Clarence "Lorenzo" Richardson, and that Beverly had been appearing at or near Griffin's home and following her around for the previous several weeks. (SUF ¶ 7.)

Griffin reported that Beverly's stalking had culminated in two altercations that day at Griffin's home. (SUF ¶ 8.) The first incident involved Beverly, Beverly's adult daughter, and a third woman appearing at Griffin's home demanding to see Lorenzo and threatening to "beat" Griffin and her daughter. (SUF ¶ 9.) The second incident involved Beverly's son appearing at Griffin's home while Beverly yelled threats from the street that she would bring other family members to fight with Griffin and her family. (SUF ¶ 10.) Griffin and her daughter reported to Deputies Kim and Camps that they feared for their safety. (SUF ¶ 11.)

Investigating Griffin's report, the Deputies called Beverly and left her a message containing the substance of Griffin's allegations and asking her to return their call. (SUF ¶ 14.) At 9:30 p.m. that night, Beverly appeared at the Palmdale Sheriff's Station in response to the message. (SUF ¶ 17.) The Deputies met with Beverly and discussed the day's incidents. (SUF ¶ 18.) During their discussion, Beverly acknowledged that she went to Griffin's home with her adult daughter and a third woman and that threats were made against Griffin. (SUF ¶ 19.) Beverly showed the Deputies text messages from Beverly to Griffin admitting she had "disrespected" Griffin's home when she had been there that day. (SUF ¶¶ 20-21.) The Deputies then informed Beverly that they were arresting her for felony stalking under California Penal Code section 646.9(a). (SUF ¶ 25.)

Beverly then told the Deputies for the first time about her involvement with activist groups in the community and her personal connections with some of the Sheriff's Department's lieutenants and captains. (SUF ¶ 25.)

During booking, Beverly told the Deputies that she was diabetic and arrangements were made to have Deputy Britiana Hulse transfer Beverly to Palmdale Regional Medical Center for a medical booking clearance. (SUF ¶¶ 27-28.) By midnight that night-within two hours of her arrest and within two and a half hours since she arrived at the station-a physician and nurse saw Beverly. (SUF ¶¶ 33-34.) During the time Beverly was being transported and evaluated, she received water upon request from Deputy Hulse and from the medical staff. (SUF ¶¶ 35-36.) Deputy Hulse heard Beverly discuss her diabetes with the medical staff and the physician. (SUF ¶ 37.) After Beverly was medically cleared to be booked, Deputy Hulse transported Beverly back to Palmdale Station. (SUF ¶ 39.)

The next evening, March 1, 2012, Sheriff's Deputies transported Beverly to the Lynwood Station infirmary for diabetes treatment by a registered nurse. (SUF ¶ 40.) Other than dry mouth, Beverly denied having any symptoms of acute distress, including polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia, and blurred vision. ( Id. ) But upon testing, a nurse found that Beverly's blood glucose was high at 419 mg/dl and administered 15 units of regular insulin to bring Beverly's blood sugar down. (SUF ¶ 41.) Beverly normally takes 10 units of Humulin 70/30 twice a day. (SUF ¶ 40.) Beverly's blood glucose was monitored for the next several hours until it normalized at 3:30 a.m. the next morning. (SUF ¶ 42.) After refusing further medical treatment, Beverly was released from the infirmary. ( Id. )

Beverly was arraigned and released on her own recognizance the next morning, March 2, 2012. (SUF ¶ 44.) On March 5, 2012, Beverly appeared at the Palmdale Station where Lieutenant Ken Wright took her statement complaining about her arrest. (SUF ¶¶ 45-46.) In her interview, Beverly complained that she did not receive water for two and a half hours and that the Deputy who transported her (Hulse) did not tell the medical staff at Palmdale Regional Medical Center about her diabetes-though she concedes that the medical staff did know this information and discussed it with her. (SUF ¶¶ 47-48.) In concluding the interview, Beverly added that at the levels her blood glucose reached she could have gone into a diabetic coma. (SUF ¶ 49.)

Though arrested for felony stalking under California Penal Code section 646.9, Beverly was ultimately only charged with misdemeanor stalking. On August 13, 2012, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge dismissed her case. (SUF ¶¶ 51-52.)

Beverly then filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that her arrest was without probable cause, in retaliation for her involvement in First Amendment activities, and the result of a conspiracy among high-ranking city officials and members of the Sheriff's Department. (SUF ¶ 55.) These activities included her involvement as a "prominent spokesperson on behalf of the Community Action League and the Section 8 lawsuit, " which involved complaints against the Sheriff's Department for its alleged harassment and mistreatment of minorities. (SUF ¶ 53.) She further alleges that this conspiracy was designed to prevent her from engaging in future First Amendment activities. (Compl. ¶ 99.) Finally, she alleges that she was not provided with medical care during her incarceration. ( Id. ¶¶ 105-10.)

On November 25, 2013, the Court held a hearing on Defendants' Motion. (ECF No. 48.) Beverly failed to appear. The Court therefore continued the matter to December 16, 2013. On that date, Beverly appeared and requested another 30 days to respond to the Motion. The Court granted Beverly's request, allowing her until January 13, 2014, to oppose. (ECF No. 49.) As of the date of this Order, the Court has received no opposition or other response from Beverly. The Court therefore proceeds to consider the merits of the pending motion.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment should be granted if there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party bears the initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and identify specific facts through admissible evidence that show a genuine issue for trial. Id. ; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Conclusory or speculative testimony in affidavits and moving papers is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat summary judgment. Thornhill's Publ'g Co. v. GTE Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 738 (9th Cir. 1979).

A genuine issue of material fact must be more than a scintilla of evidence or evidence that is merely colorable or not significantly probative. Addisu v. Fred Meyer, 198 F.3d 1130, 1134 (9th Cir. 2000). A disputed fact is "material" where the resolution of that fact might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1968). An issue is "genuine" if the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. Where the moving and nonmoving parties' versions of events differ, courts are required to view the facts and draw reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007).

IV. DISCUSSION

Bringing claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Beverly argues that the County and Deputies conspired to violate her constitutional rights and then seized her, falsely imprisoned her, and maliciously prosecuted her. Beverly further contends that these actions were in retaliation for her speaking out against harassment and mistreatment of minorities by the Sherriff's Department, and that this conspiracy was designed to prevent her from engaging in further First Amendment activities. Beverly also contends that Defendants' actions are part of an official policy of the County to unlawfully arrest citizens without probable cause. Finally, Beverly contends that the Deputies ...


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