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Galvan v. City of La Habra

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 8, 2014

MANUEL GALVAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF LA HABRA, A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY; OFFICER JASON SANCHEZ, AN INDIVIDUAL; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 10 INCLUSIVE Defendants.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

JESUS G. BERNAL, District Judge.

Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment originally filed by Defendants City of La Habra and Officer Jason Sanchez (collectively, "Defendants").[1] ("Motion, " Doc. No. 46.) After considering the papers timely filed in support of and in opposition to the motions, and the arguments presented at the March 31, 2013 hearing, the Court DENIES the Motion.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff Manuel Galvan ("Galvan") filed his Complaint against the Defendants on December 5, 2012. (Doc. No. 1.) On January 3, 2014, Galvan filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") stating five claims for relief: (1) deprivation of civil rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Officer Sanchez); (2) deprivation of civil rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (City of La Habra); (3) deprivation of civil rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (liability for deficiency pursuant to California Government Code § 815.2(a));[2] (4) battery by a police officer (all defendants); and (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress (all defendants).

On March 1, 2014, Defendant Officer Jason Sanchez ("Sanchez") filed the instant motion for summary judgment. Sanchez appears to seek summary judgment on all claims, but only specifically addresses the § 1983 claims and the battery claim. In support of the Motion, Sanchez filed the following documents:

• Memorandum of Points and Authorities (Doc. No. 46-1);
• Statement of Uncontroverted Facts ("SUF, " Doc. No. 46-2);
• Request for Judicial Notice ("RJN, " Doc. No. 46-3) attaching Exhibits A-C (Doc. Nos. 46-3 to 46-6);
• Declaration of Kevin M. Osterberg ("Osterberg Decl., " Doc. No. 46-7) attaching Exhibits A-E, I (Doc. Nos. 46-8 to 46-12, 46-16, 46-18);
• Manually filed versions of Osterberg Decl. Exhibits F-H, J-K (see Doc. Nos. 47, 65-69).

On March 10, 2014, Galvan filed an Opposition to the Motion. ("Opp'n, " Doc. Nos. 50, 59[3].) In support of the Opposition, Galvan filed the following documents:

• Statement of Genuine Disputes ("SGD, " Doc. No. 51), which also includes a statement of additional facts;[4]
• Declaration of Ryan D. Saba ("Saba Decl., " Doc. No. 52) attaching Exhibits A-B, I (Doc. Nos. 52-1 to 52-2, 52-9);
• Manually filed versions of Saba Decl. Exhibits C-H, J-K (see Doc. Nos. 57, 60);
• Objection to Defendants' Request for Judicial Notice ("RJN Obj., " Doc. No. 53);
• Objection to Declaration of Kevin M. Osterberg (Doc. Nos. 54, 56, 58[5]);
• Objection to the Declaration of Eric Leclercq (Doc. No. 55).

On March 17, 2014, Sanchez filed a Reply. (Doc. No. 62.) In support of the Reply, Sanchez filed the following documents:

• Evidentiary Objections ("Sanchez Evidentiary Objections, " Doc. No. 62-1)[6];
• Supplemental Request for Judicial Notice ("SRJN, " Doc. No. 62-2);
• A Notice of Errata, attaching signature pages for Exhibits D-F, as well as page 130 of Exhibit D (Doc. No. 63).

B. Brief Factual Summary

On August 25, 2011, Galvan traveled to Linda Galvan's house. (FAC, ¶ 14.) Galvan and Linda[7] were married but separated at the time, and the California Superior Court had previously issued a restraining order requiring Galvan to be at least 100 yards away from Linda at all times. (Id.) Linda called the police, and Sanchez responded to the call. (FAC, ¶¶ 15-16.) Galvan alleges that although he did not have a weapon and was in the "surrender position, " with his hands in the air, Sanchez shot him three times. (FAC, ¶¶ 16-18.)

C. Requests for Judicial Notice

Along with the Motion, Sanchez also filed a Request for Judicial Notice, as well as a Supplemental Request for Judicial Notice. In the RJN, Sanchez requests the Court to take judicial notice of:

• A Temporary Restraining Order from the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Orange, in the matter of Linda Ann Galvan v. Manuel Galvan, Case Number 11V001865, dated August 8, 2011 (RJN Exhibit A);
• A Domestic Violence Guilty Plea Form, signed by Manuel Galvan under the penalty of perjury from the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Orange, in the matter of People v. Galvan, Case Number 11NM15870, dated January 14, 2013 (RJN Exhibit B);
• Minutes of January 14, 2014, from the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Orange, in the matter of People v. Galvan, Case Number 11NM15870 (RJN Exhibit C).

In the SRJN, Sanchez requests the Court to take judicial notice of:

• The Orange County District Attorney's internal investigative report of the August 25, 2011 incident, dated June 28, 2013 (Osterberg Decl. Ex. K).

Sanchez requests that the Court take judicial notice of the documents in the RJN pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence ("FRE") 201 as those documents are court records. Pursuant to FRE 201, the Court "may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it... can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned." FRE 201(b)(2). A court may take judicial notice of matters of public record. See Reyn's Pasta Bella, LLC v. Visa USA, Inc. , 442 F.3d 741, 746 n.6 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Auth. v. City of Burbank , 136 F.3d 1360, 1364 (9th Cir. 1998)). Matters of public record include state court records. See Smith v. Duncan , 297 F.3d 809, 815 (9th Cir. 2002) (federal courts may take judicial notice of related state court documents), overruled on other grounds as recognized in Cross v. Sisto , 676 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 2012).

Galvan has filed objections to Exhibits 2 and 3 of the RJN, arguing those exhibits are inadmissible pursuant to FRE 410. (See RJN Obj. 2-3.) There is a distinction between whether the Court may take judicial notice of a fact and whether that fact is admissible, however. See, e.g., Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd. v. Merck KgaA, No. 96-1307, 2000 WL 35717873, at *1 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 27, 2000) ("Before reaching questions of admissibility, the Court must first determine whether it should take judicial notice...."); In re James , 300 B.R. 890, 896 (Bankr.W.D.Tex. 2003) ("Judicial notice, while it may cure authentication, does not cure any customary objections involved in the admissibility of evidence, such as relevance, prejudice, or hearsay."). Accordingly, the Court GRANTS judicial notice of the documents attached to the RJN, and addresses Galvan's objections to that evidence below.

With respect to the SRJN, however, the basis for judicial notice is less clear. Sanchez contends that "the facts contained in this document are not subject to reasonable dispute, and the facts contained therein are capable of accurate and ready determination by resorting to sources whose accuracy cannot be reasonably questioned." (SRJN at 2.) The Court disagrees with this assertion, to the extent Sanchez claims the Court can take judicial notice of conclusions of law or determinations of fact made by the Orange County District Attorney's Office during its internal investigation. The events of August 25, 2011, are at issue in this action and therefore the Court cannot conclude that the District Attorney's Office's conclusions are "not subject to reasonable dispute." Accordingly, the Court DENIES Sanchez's request judicial notice of this document.

D. Evidentiary Objections

"A trial court can only consider admissible evidence in ruling on a motion for summary judgment." Orr v. Bank of America, NT & SA , 285 F.3d 764, 773 (9th Cir. 2002); see Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 56(e). At the summary judgment stage, district courts consider evidence with content that would be admissible at trial, even if the form of the evidence would not be admissible at trial. See Fraser v. Goodale , 342 F.3d 1032, 1036 (9th Cir. 2003); Block v. City of Los Angeles , 253 F.3d 410, 418-19 (9th Cir. 2001).

Sanchez objects to some of the facts stated in Galvan's SGD, on the basis that they are irrelevant and lack foundation. (See generally, Sanchez Evidentiary Objections.) "[O]bjections to evidence on the ground that it is irrelevant, speculative, and/or argumentative, or that it constitutes an improper legal conclusion are all duplicative of the summary judgment standard itself" and are thus "redundant" and unnecessary to consider here. Burch v. Regents of Univ. of California , 433 F.Supp.2d 1110, 1119 (E.D. Cal. 2006); see also George v. Morris , 736 F.3d 829, 854 (9th Cir. 2013) ("Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.") (citation omitted). Thus, the Court does not consider any objections on the grounds that the evidence lacks foundation, is misleading, vague, ambiguous, conclusory, speculative, conjecture, compound, irrelevant, or argumentative. These objections are challenges to the characterization of the evidence and are improper on a motion for summary judgment.

1. Galvan's Objections

As discussed above, Galvan objects to the consideration of his nolo contendere plea pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 410. That objection is discussed more fully later in this Order.

a. Hearsay Objections

Galvan also objects to various statements attributed to him by investigators from the Orange County District Attorney's Office. (See Doc. No. 55.) The Court has not relied on any of the statements made in that interview in the ...


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