United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT RE: DKT. NO. 19
PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge
a civil rights case brought pro se by a detainee under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. His claims arise from an arrest in Santa
Clara County where the charges were eventually
dismissed. Plaintiff alleges that the defendant
police officers unlawfully arrested and detained him.
Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment stating
that they did not violate plaintiff's constitutional
rights and that they are entitled to qualified immunity.
Plaintiff has filed an opposition and defendants have filed a
reply. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
for Summary Judgment
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper where the pleadings, discovery and
affidavits show that there is "no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Material facts are
those which may affect the outcome of the case. Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A
dispute as to a material fact is genuine if there is
sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict
for the nonmoving party. Id.
moving party for summary judgment bears the initial burden of
identifying those portions of the pleadings, discovery and
affidavits which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323 (1986); Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v.
Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000). When
the moving party has met this burden of production, the
nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and, by its own
affidavits or discovery, set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. If the
nonmoving party fails to produce enough evidence to show a
genuine issue of material fact, the moving party wins.
court must regard as true the opposing party's evidence,
if supported by affidavits or other evidentiary material.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Eisenberg v. Ins. Co.
of N. Am., 815 F.2d 1285, 1289 (9th Cir. 1987). The
court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
party against whom summary judgment is sought. Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
587 (1986); Intel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indem.
Co., 952 F.2d 1551, 1559 (9th Cir. 1991).
Fourth Amendment requires that an arrest be supported by
probable cause. Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, 532
U.S. 318, 354 (2001); Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S.
692, 700 (1981) (an arrest is unlawful unless there is
probable cause to support it). A claim of unlawful arrest is
cognizable under § 1983 for violation of the Fourth
Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search and
seizure if the allegation is that the arrest was without
probable cause or other justification. See Pierson v.
Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 555-58 (1967); Yousefian v. City
of Glendale, 779 F.3d 1010, 1014, n.1. (9th Cir. 2015)
(absence of probable cause is essential element of §
1983 false arrest claim). Officers may rely on unlawfully
obtained evidence to defend themselves against a
constitutional tort action for false arrest. Lingo v.
City of Salem, 832 F.3d 953, 957 (9th Cir. 2016)
(finding officers had probable cause to arrest plaintiff when
they smelled marijuana coming from her home even where the
original search was unlawful).
following facts are undisputed except where indicated
In May and June 2014, a confidential informant
(“CI”) provided defendant police officer Asuelo
with information that plaintiff was transporting and selling
methamphetamine. Motion for Summary Judgment
(“MSJ”) (Docket No. 19), Ex. A, Asuelo Decl. at
2. The CI stated that plaintiff was living in a halfway house
or sober living facility and was selling methamphetamine from
there and in downtown San Jose. Id. The CI had seen
plaintiff sell methamphetamine first hand and had seen
plaintiff with a scale. Id. Asuelo had worked with
the CI in the past, and the CI's information had led to
previous investigations, arrests and successful prosecutions.
Id. Asuelo considered the CI a trustworthy source.
Asuelo observed the facility and confirmed that plaintiff
lived there. Id. Asuelo showed a picture of
plaintiff to the CI, who confirmed that plaintiff was the
person he ...