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Cobian-Perez v. City of Oakland

United States District Court, Northern District of California

November 5, 2014

CITY OF OAKLAND, et al., Defendants

For Jorge Cobian-Perez, Plaintiff: Tiega Noel Varlack, LEAD ATTORNEY, Varlack Legal Services, Hayward, CA.

For City Of Oakland, Defendant: Barbara J. Parker, LEAD ATTORNEY, Oakland City Attorney's Office, Oakland, CA; David Alejandro Pereda, LEAD ATTORNEY, Offfice of the Oakland City Attorney, Oakland, CA; James F. Hodgkins, Randolph W. Hall, LEAD ATTORNEYS, City Attorney's Office, City of Oakland, Oakland, CA.

For Personal Protective Services, Inc., Defendant: Nicholas C Young, LEAD ATTORNEY, Raymond Meyer, Jr., Bremer Whyte Brown and O'Meara, LLP, Berkeley, CA; Lance John Pedersen, Newport Beach, Ca; Raymond Meyer, Jr.

For Meredith Wilson, Defendant: Nicholas C Young, Bremer Whyte Brown and O'Meara, LLP, Berkeley, CA.

For Eric Kim, Hector Jimenez, Defendants: Patrick Michael Callahan, John Jeffrey Verber, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Burnham Brown, Oakland, CA.

For Roberto Ruiz, Defendant: David Alejandro Pereda, LEAD ATTORNEY, Offfice of the Oakland City Attorney, Oakland, CA.

For BRIDGE HOUSING CORPORATION, Defendant: Christopher James Nevis, LEAD ATTORNEY, Nicole Lynn Jones, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, San Francisco, CA.


VINCE CHHABRIA, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Jorge Cobian-Perez filed suit in California Superior Court against Defendants City of Oakland (the " City"), Oakland Police Department Officers Hector Jimenez, Eric Kim, and Roberto Ruiz, and a number of other defendants, alleging a variety of state-law claims against all defendants. Cobian-Perez's claims arise from an altercation at a grocery store between Cobian-Perez and private security guards employed by Defendant Personal Protective Services (" PPS"), which culminated in Officers Kim and Ruiz issuing Cobian-Perez a citation for battery on one of the guards. In addition to his claims against the individual defendants, Cobian-Perez includes a claim for municipal liability against the City, for failure to train its officers in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The City removed the case to federal court based on this § 1983 claim. Subsequently, the City and the police officers filed two separate motions for summary judgment: one by the City and Officer Ruiz, the other by Officers Kim and Jimenez. Both motions are granted in full. Further, upon entry of judgment for these four defendants, the case will be remanded to state court. The Court previously stayed proceedings against the remaining defendants, all of which involve state-law claims against private individuals. The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over those claims against those defendants.

I. Factual Background

Taken in the light most favorable to Cobian-Perez, the relevant facts are as follows. On July 7, 2012, three PPS security guards assigned to patrol the Acorn housing complex in Oakland detained Cobian-Perez inside a grocery store located in the Acorn complex after a cashier suspected that Cobian-Perez had attempted to use a counterfeit $100 bill. The guards handcuffed Cobian-Perez, removed him from the store, placed him in an unmarked vehicle, and took him to a nearby PPS " security shack, " also within the complex, where the guards slammed his head into a wall, stomped on him, and slammed him into the ground. Cobian-Perez Decl. ¶ ¶ 18-19. At some point thereafter, one of the guards called the police, and Officers Ruiz and Kim responded to the security shack within a few minutes. Callahan Supp. Decl., Ex. BB, p. 4-5. PPS guards met the officers at their vehicle as they arrived. Docket No. 45 Ex. B, p. 15. The guards " described [to Officer Kim] an incident . . . where a very intoxicated individual had become disruptive inside the store, had become verbally hostile, calling several of the [guards] the N word. At some point this individual shoved [one of the guards, Defendant Meredith Wilson], at which time they had to physically take him to the ground to detain him." Callahan Decl., Ex. J, p. 7. The police officers then entered the shack. By this point, any " physical interaction" between the guards and Cobian-Perez was " completely done." Docket No. 45, Ex. E, p. 10. Cobian-Perez was sitting in handcuffs on the floor of the shack, bleeding from a cut to the head. The officers asked the guards what happened, and then stepped outside to speak with one of the guards. The officers then returned to the shack and Officer Ruiz took Cobian-Perez, still in handcuffs, to the back of a police vehicle. Cobian-Perez told Officer Ruiz that he wanted to press charges for being beaten. He also told Officer Ruiz that he had passed out after sustaining his head injury. Id. at 23. He appeared to both Officers Kim and Ruiz to be at least " somewhat drunk." Docket No. 45, Ex. B, p. 13; see also Docket No. 45, Ex. C, p. 8 (stating that, to Officer Ruiz, Cobian-Perez appeared to be " extremely intoxicated."). Seven minutes after arriving at the scene and reporting to dispatch that the scene was secure, the officers called for an ambulance for Cobian-Perez. Callahan Supp. Decl., Ex. BB, p. 4-5. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Officer Kim spoke to a cashier at the store, who told Officer Kim that Cobian-Perez, who appeared to the cashier to be intoxicated, had become verbally abusive to the guards and had then attempted to provoke a fight by bumping into and pushing a guard, at which point the guards physically restrained him. Docket No. 45, Ex. B, pp. 17, 26. Officer Ruiz issued Cobian-Perez a citation for misdemeanor assault and battery against Wilson. Within around twenty minutes from the time the officers placed Cobian-Perez in the police car, the ambulance arrived and Cobian-Perez was transported to Kaiser Hospital. Opp. p. 3. Officer Jimenez was the officer assigned to investigate Cobian-Perez's citation for misdemeanor battery. Docket No. 45, Ex. D, p. 4. He had no involvement in any of the events until receiving the case file. Upon receiving the file, Officer Jimenez called Wilson, who was named as the victim in the incident report. Id. at 10. Wilson stated he did not wish to pursue the case. Officer Jimenez presented the matter to the District Attorney's Office, which did not charge Cobian-Perez. Id. at 15.

II. Discussion

A. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claim

Cobian-Perez brings a claim against the City, alleging it failed to train its officers in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A city is liable under § 1983 only where a municipal policy causes a constitutional deprivation. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694-95, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978). And while a city can be liable under § 1983 for inadequate training of its employees, " the inadequacy of police training may serve as the basis for § 1983 liability only where the failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to the rights of persons with whom the police come into contact." City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388, 109 S.Ct. 1197, 103 L.Ed.2d 412 (1989). Thus, in order to defeat the City's motion for summary judgment on his ยง 1983 claim, Cobian-Perez must first establish a ...

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