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Martinez v. County of Santa Clara

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

May 18, 2017

RIKKI MARTINEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO STAY PENDING RESOLUTION OF RELATED CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS Re: Dkt. No. 26

          LUCY H. KOH United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Rikki Martinez (“Plaintiff) brings this suit against Defendants County of Santa Clara and correctional officers Salvadore Jacquez, Jon Quiro, Jason Satariano, Eamonn Dee, Adam Torrez, Elmer Wheeler, and Matthew Tracey (collectively, “Defendants”). Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Stay Pending Resolution of Related Criminal Proceedings. ECF No. 26 (“Mot.”). Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court finds this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument and vacates the hearing scheduled for May 25, 2017. Having considered the parties' briefing, the relevant law, and the record in this case, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Stay Pending Resolution of Related Criminal Proceedings.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff's complaint alleges that correctional officers Salvadore Jacquez, Jon Quiro, Jason Satariano, Eamonn Dee, Adam Torrez, and Elmer Wheeler (collectively, “correctional officers”) engaged in “extrajudicial punishment” of Plaintiff. ECF No. 1 (“Compl.”). The remaining correctional officer Defendant, Matthew Tracey, allegedly took part in a conspiracy to cover up the extrajudicial punishment. Plaintiff's complaint alleges the following facts.

         Plaintiff was an inmate at the Elmwood Men's Correctional Facility (“Elmwood”). Compl. ¶ 15. On April 18, 2016, at 4:00 p.m., Plaintiff allegedly kicked a correctional officer in the face. Id. ¶ 16. As a result, Plaintiff was transferred from Elmwood to the Main Jail Facility. Id. ¶ 20. Defendant Elmer Wheeler allegedly learned of Plaintiff's transfer and the reason for the transfer. Id. ¶ 19. Elmer Wheeler informed correctional officers Jacquez, Quiro, Satariano, Dee, and Torrez, about Plaintiff's transfer to Main Jail and the assault on a correctional officer at Elmwood. Id. ¶¶ 21-22. The complaint alleges that “Wheeler conspired with Jacquez, Quiro, Satariano, Dee, and Torrez to give [Plaintiff] a beating as punishment” for kicking the Elmwood correctional officer. Id. ¶ 29.

         Plaintiff arrived at the Main Jail around 9:12 p.m. Id. ¶ 37. During booking, Plaintiff allegedly was agitated. Id. ¶¶ 46-47. After booking Plaintiff, Wheeler instructed Quiro and Satariano to escort Plaintiff upstairs to Plaintiff's cell on the fourth floor, Pod 2, and told another correctional officer who is not a defendant in this action to stay behind. Id. ¶ 51. Jacquez joined Quiro, Satariano, and Wheeler in escorting Plaintiff upstairs. Id. ¶ 52.

         Upon reaching the fourth floor, Pod 2, Plaintiff was brought to cell 25. Id. ¶ 61. Dee and Torrez were waiting near cell 25. Id. ¶ 60.

         Jacquez placed Plaintiff in cell 25 and made Plaintiff kneel on the bunk in the cell. Id. ¶ 65. Quiro removed Plaintiff's leg shackles. Id. ¶ 68. Quiro then removed the shackles on Plaintiff's left hand, and Jacquez then put Plaintiff's left hand behind Plaintiff's back. Id. ¶ 73. Even though Plaintiff allegedly “never once grabbed Jacquez' hand, ” Jacquez began shouting: “Let go of my hand!” Id. ¶ 75. Jacquez and the other officers allegedly pushed Plaintiff face down onto the mattress of the bunk. Id. ¶ 82. Jacquez continued yelling that Plaintiff was gripping Jacquez's hand, while Plaintiff yelled: “Help, help!” Id. ¶ 85. Satariano and Martinez allegedly held Plaintiff's neck down on the bunk while Jacquez punched Plaintiff in the face three to five times. Id. ¶ 86. After about 20 seconds, Jacquez backed away, and Torrez allegedly moved in and struck Plaintiff twice with a fist. Id. ¶ 92. Plaintiff was beaten for a period of over one minute. Id. ¶ 95.

         As a result of the beating, Plaintiff suffered head trauma, which included swelling of his right eye, contusions, a bloody nose, and a swollen and reddish-bluish discoloration of his right ear. Id. ¶ 99. Plaintiff also chipped his tooth, lost consciousness, and defecated and urinated on himself while he was being beaten. Id. ¶ 100.

         Plaintiff filed an administrative grievance about the beating. Id. ¶ 108. Correctional officer Defendant Matthew Tracey investigated the grievance. Id. ¶ 111. After Tracey spoke with Plaintiff about the beating, Tracey and Jacquez walked by Plaintiff's cell and stared at Plaintiff in “an open and notorious act of intimidation.” Id. On July 12, 2016, Plaintiff's administrative grievance was denied. Id. ¶ 113.

         B. Procedural History

         On October 4, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant suit. See Compl. Plaintiff alleges five claims: (1) a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Jacquez, Quiro, Satariano, Dee, Torrez, and Wheeler for cruel and unusual punishment and use of excessive force, (2) a claim under § 1983 against the County of Santa Clara for policies and practices that cause cruel and unusual punishment, (3) a common law claim for conspiracy between Jacquez, Quiro, Satariano, Dee, Torrez, and Wheeler, (4) a common law claim for conspiracy between Jacquez and Tracey, and (5) a claim under California Civil Code § 52.1 against Jacquez, Quiro, Satariano, Dee, Torrez, Wheeler, and the County of Santa Clara for violation of Plaintiff's federal and state constitutional rights. Id. ¶¶ 132-58.

         Based on the above-described incidents, on November 16, 2016, a first amended felony complaint (“FAFC”) was filed against Plaintiff in California Superior Court for Santa Clara County. See ECF No. 28-1 (FAFC).[1] The FAFC contains two counts against Plaintiff. Count 1 of the FAFC is based on Plaintiff's alleged kicking of the Elmwood correctional officer in the face, and alleges that Plaintiff committed an assault on a peace officer by means likely to produce great bodily injury in violation of California Penal Code ยง 245(c). Count 4 of the FAFC is based on the incident at the Main Jail, and alleges that Plaintiff committed battery on a custodial officer, ...


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