United States District Court, E.D. California
REYNALDA MOLINA, individually; JACQUELINE MENDEZ-MADUEÑA, individually; G.M., a minor; and N.A.C., a minor, and each of them, by and through their Guardian Ad Litem VERONICA AYON, Plaintiff,
CITY OF VISALIA, a municipal corporation; ADAM COLLINS; DANIEL ROBERTS; DIRK ALFANO, individually and in their official capacity; and DOES 4 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Doc. No. 90
20, 2014, plaintiffs Reynalda Molina and Jacqueline
Mendez-Madueña with minors G.M. and N.A.C. through
guardian ad litem Veronica Ayon filed the currently
operative second amended complaint ("SAC") against
the City of Visalia, Officer Adam Collins, Officer Daniel
Roberts, Officer Dirk Alfano, and DOES four through one
hundred. (Doc. No. 40.) The action stems from a high speed
chase involving the police, during which shots were fired
that resulted in deaths of Ruben Molina and Edwardo
Madueño. The SAC alleges causes of action for: (1)
unreasonable search and seizure and use of excessive force
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) substantive due process
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (3) wrongful death under
California Government Code §§ 815.2(a), 820(a) and
California Civil Code § 43; (4) negligence survival
action; (5) negligence under California Government Code
§ 815.2(a); and (6) assault and battery under California
Government Code § 815.2(a). (Id.)
March 21, 2016, defendants filed a partial motion for summary
judgment pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56
seeking judgment in their favor as to: (1) any § 1983
claims relating to the high speed chase itself; (2) all
claims against defendant Officer Alfano; and (3) all claims
brought on behalf of plaintiff N.A.C. (Doc. No. 90.)
Plaintiffs filed an opposition to defendants' motion for
partial summary judgment in which plaintiffs sought a
modification of the scheduling order to allow them to conduct
additional discovery in order to oppose defendants'
motion for summary judgment. (Doc. Nos. 92 and 93.)
Defendants filed a reply. (Doc. No. 94.) On April 19, 2016,
the court heard oral arguments.
hearing, plaintiffs' counsel represented that they had
obtained additional evidence that Madueña held N.A.C.
out as his child, but that this evidence was not before the
court. Accordingly, the court provided plaintiffs'
counsel ten days to submit a declaration with additional
evidence with respect to this issue. (Doc. No. 96.) On April
29, 2016, plaintiffs submitted the declaration of Veronica
Ayon and briefing arguing that the hearsay rule did not apply
to the contents of Ayon's declaration. (Doc. No. 97.) On
May 6, 2016, defendants filed a reply. (Doc. No. 98.) The
motion was then taken under submission.
reasons explained below, defendants' motion for partial
summary judgment will be denied.
judgment is appropriate when the moving party "shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
summary judgment practice, the moving party "initially
bears the burden of proving the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact." In re Oracle Corp. Securities
Litigation, 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)).
The moving party may accomplish this by "citing to
particular parts of materials in the record, including
depositions, documents, electronically store information,
affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those
made for purposes of the motion only), admission,
interrogatory answers, or other materials" or by showing
that such materials "do not establish the absence or
presence of a genuine dispute, or that the adverse party
cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B).
the non-moving party bears the burden of proof at trial,
"the moving party need only prove that there is an
absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's
case." Oracle Corp., 627 F.3d at 387 (citing
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325.). See also Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(B). Indeed, 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. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at
322. "[A] complete failure of proof concerning an
essential element of the nonmoving party's case
necessarily renders all other facts immaterial."
Id. In such a circumstance, summary judgment should
be granted, "so long as whatever is before the district
court demonstrates that the standard for entry of summary
judgment, . . ., is satisfied." Id. at 323.
moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden
then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine
issue as to any material fact actually does exist. See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 586 (1986). In attempting to establish the
existence of this factual dispute, the opposing party may not
rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings but is
required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of
affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support
of its contention that the dispute exists. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586
n.11. The opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in
contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law, see Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986);
T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors
Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987), and that
the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party, see Wool v. Tandem Computers, Inc., 818 F.2d
1433, 1436 (9th Cir. 1987).
endeavor to establish the existence of a factual dispute, the
opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact
conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that "the
claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge
to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth
at trial." T.W. Elec. Serv., 809 F.2d at 631.
Thus, the "purpose of summary judgment is to
‘pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order
to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.'"
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citations omitted).
evaluating the evidence to determine whether there is a
genuine issue of fact, " the court draws "all
reasonable inferences supported by the evidence in favor of
the non-moving party." Walls v. Central Costa County
Transit Authority, 653 F.3d 963, 966 (9th Cir. 2011). It
is the opposing party's obligation to produce a factual
predicate from which the inference may be drawn. See
Richards v. Nielsen Freight Lines, 602 F.Supp. 1224,
1244-45 (E.D. Cal. 1985), aff'd, 810 F.2d 898,
902 (9th Cir. 1987). Finally, to demonstrate a genuine issue,
the opposing party "must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts . .
. . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there
is no ‘genuine issue for trial.'"
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citation omitted).
ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT
counsel has submitted the parties' joint statement of
undisputed material facts ("JSUMF"). (Doc. No.
90-3.) Plaintiffs' counsel has also submitted a separate
statement of disputed facts in opposition to the pending
motion. (Doc. No. 92-1.) The parties have also submitted
declarations signed under penalty of perjury by their
respective counsel indexing evidence to be considered on
summary judgment. (Doc. Nos. 90-2 and 922.) As indicated
above, with leave of court, plaintiffs filed a supplemental
declaration by Veronica Ayon, Madueña's sister and
duly appointed guardian ad litem for plaintiff
N.A.C., after the hearing on the pending motion. (Doc. No.
97.) The evidence submitted by counsel for the pending motion
for summary judgment establishes the following.
N.A.C. is Madueña's biological daughter. (Doc. No.
N.A.C. was first born, Madueña believed N.A.C. was
fathered by another man. (Doc. No. 97, at 3.)
About two months after N.A.C. was born, around September
2010, Madueña traveled to Sacramento to visit N.A.C.
to determine if she was his child. (Id.) During the
visit, Madueña spent $80 to buy N.A.C. two pairs of
shoes. (JSUMF 21.)
he returned from Sacramento, Madueña told his parents,
siblings, and sister, Veronica Ayon that N.A.C. was indeed
his child. (Doc. No. 97, at 3.) He acknowledged that N.A.C.
looked just like him and has his eyes and the same smile.
(Id. at 3-4.)
Madueña only visited N.A.C. this one time before he
passed away. (JSUMF 20-21.)
October 26, 2012, Officers Collins and Alfano were in a
police cruiser when Officer Collins saw a car fail to come to
a stop at a stop sign. (Doc. No. 90-2, at 14; JSUMF at 1.)
car was driven by Madueña, with Molina as the
passenger in the front seat, and Nicholas Chavez, Robert
Ruiz, and Shanele Alvarado as passengers in the back seat.
officers activated the emergency lights on their police
vehicle to initiate a stop, but Madueña did not pull
over. (JSUMF 3.)
Madueña instead drove west down Highway 198 sometimes
reaching speeds of ...