United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MORRISON C. ENGLAND JR. UNITED STATES DISTRTCT JUDGE.
the present lawsuit, Plaintiff Arlie Halcomb
("Plaintiff") alleges eleven claims against
Defendant City of Sacramento and three of its police
officers, Defendants Justin Brown, Paul Fong and Andrew Leal.
Each claim stems from actions taken by Defendants in
attempting to serve a felony bench warrant on August 8, 2014.
Plaintiff's operative pleading, the Second Amended
Complaint ("SAC") includes two claims brought
against the City of Sacramento for municipal liability under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Fourth Claim charges the City with
constitutional violations predicated on an unlawful policy,
custom or practice and the Fifth Claim alleges a failure to
adequately train or supervise its police officers. Defendant
City ("Defendant") now moves to dismiss both of
those claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. For the reasons set forth below, that
Motion is DENIED.
to his SAC, Plaintiff was awakened by his fiancée,
Christina Bernal, at about midnight on August 8, 2014. Ms.
Bernal told Plaintiff that someone was trying to break into
their second floor apartment. When Plaintiff went to the
front window and drew the curtain back, he saw several
persons attempting to wrench the window from its track.
Ultimately, those persons identified themselves as police
officers and claimed they had a warrant. After officers
threatened to kick in the front door, Plaintiff opened it and
was taken into custody. According to Plaintiff, in the
process of being handcuffed he was roughly
"grabbed" by the officers who proceeded to twist
his right arm and shoulder behind his back and up to his
neck. Plaintiff claims he was then thrown onto his couch with
such force that the center support was broken.
the officers asked for "Rosa Davalos, " Plaintiff
claims he told them that Ms. Davalos lived in the neighboring
unit as clearly labeled on the mailbox. Despite being
informed that the officers had entered the wrong residence,
Plaintiff claimed they remained at his apartment for almost
an hour and ran identification checks for warrants on both
Plaintiff and his fiancée.
indicated above, Plaintiff claims that the City's
indiscriminate policy permitting officers to conduct an
identification check on anyone with whom police officers come
into contact violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of
the United States Constitution through 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff further contends that Defendant's policy
permitting warrants to be served at outdated addresses points
to similar violations, as does Defendant's failure to
train its officers to avoid such practices.
moving for dismissal of Plaintiff's municipal liability
claims, Defendant alleges Plaintiff has failed to identify
facts pointing to any constitutional deprivation. The SAC
nonetheless makes the following allegations in its Fourth
Claim which charges Defendant with maintaining a policy,
custom or practice permitting its police officers to both run
warrant checks on any encountered individual and to allow
attempted service of warrants at demonstrably wrong
42. Defendant CITY OF SACRAMENTO maintained and/or acquiesced
to a policy, custom or practice permitting its police
officers to (1) conduct a warrant check on every person
questioned, detained, and/or arrested, where identifying
information was obtained by police officers from the person
contacted; and (2) conduct [??] attempted services of
warrants at addresses without the requisite "reason to
believe" (i.e., probable cause) that the suspect was
located at the address where the warrant was served.
43. Defendants BROWN AND FONG have testified, under oath,
that they acted pursuant to the above-described policy,
custom or practice in connection with the instant matter, as
well as numerous other incidents in the course of their
careers as police officers employed by CITY OF SACRAMENTO.
Specifically, Defendants Brown and Fong testified that 1)
they conduct warrant searches on nearly every single person
they receive identifying information from; and (2) that they
have attempted to serve warrants at incorrect/outdated
addresses in the past. Defendant BROWN testified that he
assumes, without any personal "reason to believe, "
that the information obtained by another police officer
attempting to serve an arrest warrant is correct and lawful.
Defendant BROWN testified that he is aware of and has
personally been involved in several attempts to serve
warrants that were conducted at the incorrect/outdated
addresses. Defendant FONG testified that he relies on address
information obtained from various and sometimes unknown
sources for the purpose of obtaining arrest warrant service
addresses. Defendant FONG testified that there is no policy
or guideline as to the staleness of address information on
which he relies when obtaining addresses for service of
arrest warrants. Defendant FONG testified that he is aware of
and has personally been involved in several attempts to serve
warrants that were conducted at the incorrect/outdated
44. Defendant CITY OF SACRAMENTO was deliberately indifferent
to the existence of the policy, custom, or practice described
45. Defendant CITY OF SACRAMENTO's policy, custom or
practice was the moving force behind constitutional
violations experienced by Plaintiff herein, because it (1)
caused the unreasonably prolonged arrest/detention of
Plaintiff; and (2) caused Defendants BROWN, FONG, and LEAL to
attempt service of the Davalos arrest warrant at an address
that they did not have a "reason to believe"
Davalos was located at.
SAC, ECF No. 36, ¶¶ 42-45.
Plaintiff Fifth Claim alleges a failure to adequately train
or supervise against the City, making the following
47. Defendant CITY OF SACRAMENTO failed to adequately train
or supervise its police officers with regard to (1) when it
is lawful to question, detain, and/or arrest a suspect for
the purpose of conducting a warrant check; and (2) how to
obtain information constituting "reason to believe"
(i.e., probable cause) that a ...