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Quilici v. Davis

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 1, 2018

JAMES S. QUILICI, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH L. DAVIS and RICHARD ANGLESEY, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          ALLISON CLAIRE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on a motion for summary judgment by the two remaining defendants in this case, Officer Joseph L. Davis and Officer Richard Anglesey. ECF No. 25; see also ECF No. 10. Plaintiff is appearing in this action pro se. This matter was accordingly referred to the undersigned for pretrial proceedings by E.D. Cal. R. (“Local Rule”) 302(c)(21). Defendants' motion was heard in open court, with all parties present, on April 25, 2018. ECF No. 34.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his complaint on July 5, 2016. ECF No. 1. Because plaintiff was proceeding in forma pauperis, the complaint was screened pursuant to the IFP statute requiring federal courts to dismiss a case if the action is legally “frivolous or malicious, ” fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), ECF No. 3. Plaintiff's initial complaint and first amended complaint were dismissed with leave to amend. ECF No. 3 and 7. Upon screening plaintiff's second amended complaint (“SAC”), ECF No. 8, the court determined that certain claims against certain defendants were sufficiently stated and ordered the SAC served as the operative complaint. ECF No. 10.

         The SAC alleges that CHP Officer Anglesey arrested plaintiff on March 27, 2014 for driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater. SAC at 2 ¶ 8. Plaintiff's license was suspended, and he was incarcerated for 18 hours in the Sacramento County Jail, charged with a felony. Id. at 2-3 ¶¶ 8, 10. Plaintiff alleges that this conduct amounted to a false arrest, and a search and seizure in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Id. at 3 ¶ 12. The SAC further alleges that on July 3, 2014, CHP Officers Anglesey and Davis arrested plaintiff for driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater. Id. at 3 ¶ 9. Plaintiff's license was suspended, and he was incarcerated for 16 hours in the Sacramento County Jail. The SAC alleges that this conduct amounted to a search and seizure in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Id. at 3 ¶ 13. Plaintiff alleges that both arrests were “unwarranted.” Id. at 1 ¶ 1. Plaintiff's car was seized for 30 days “in violation of due process.” Id. at 3-4 ¶ 14. Plaintiff asserted in his SAC that the Department of Motor Vehicles ultimately concluded that the license suspensions, made pursuant to Cal. Veh. Code § 13353.2, were “unwarranted.” Id. at 5 ¶ 21.

         The undersigned found at the screening stage that, although numerous defendants were named, the complaint stated potentially viable claims only against defendants Joseph L. Davis and Richard Anglesey. ECF No. 10 at 6. The undersigned determined that, for screening purposes, plaintiff successfully alleged three claims: (1) false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (2) unlawful search in violation of the Fourth Amendment; and (3) unlawful seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Id. at 4-5. Defendants seek summary judgment on each of these claims. ECF No. 25.

         II. STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS

         Unless otherwise specified, the following facts are either expressly undisputed by the parties or have been determined by the court, upon a full review of the record, to be undisputed by competent evidence. Defendants' statement of undisputed facts is located at ECF No. 25-2. Plaintiff's statement of undisputed facts is submitted in the form of his declaration at ECF No. 31-1.

         A. March 27, 2014 Arrest

         On March 27, 2014, Officers Richard Anglesey and Joseph Davis were on patrol in a fully marked CHP patrol car in downtown Sacramento. Declaration of Richard Anglesey, ¶ 2, Ex. A; Declaration of Joseph Davis, ¶ 2, Ex. A. At approximately 2:10 a.m., Officers Anglesey and Davis were traveling northbound on 16th Street when they observed a vehicle driving with a broken headlight and darkly tinted front windows. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 3, Ex. A; Davis Decl. at ¶ 3, Ex. A. Officer Anglesey accelerated and initiated an enforcement stop by activating the forward red emergency lights. Id. The vehicle yielded to the left and parked along the curb. Id. Officer Anglesey made contact with the driver through the driver's side window, and identified him as James Quilici. Id. Officer Anglesey observed that Mr. Quilici's face was pale and sweaty, he had red, watery eyes, dilated pupils, rapid, slurred speech, and was very agitated. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 4, Ex. A; Davis Decl. at ¶ 4, Ex. A. Officer Anglesey also detected a slight odor of alcohol from his person. Id.

         Officer Anglesey is trained as an IACP certified Drug Recognition Expert. Based upon his training, Officer Anglesey recognized Mr. Quilici's presentation and symptoms as indications that he was under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 7, Ex. A. Mr. Quilici testified in his deposition that he had taken prescription medications earlier that day. Mr. Quilici further testified that he had consumed multiple alcoholic beverages earlier that day. Deposition of James S. Quilici, 26:9, 46:3-7. Mr. Quilici testified at his deposition that he was agitated when he was stopped and questioned by Officer Anglesey, and that his speech is often rapid, mumbled, or slurred, a fact which he attributes to having been raised by deaf parents. Quilici Depo. at 41:25-43:4, 45:14-16.

         Officer Anglesey then directed Mr. Quilici in a series of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 9, Ex. A. It was Officer Anglesey's opinion, based on his observations, that Mr. Quilici failed to perform the FSTs properly. For example, on several occasions, Mr. Quilici lost his count during the tests and needed to start over. Id. Officer Anglesey administered a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, which is one of the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests identified and validated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for use in DUI investigations. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 10, Ex. A. When performing a HGN test, which is approved by CHP policy, officers have the individual follow an object with their eyes while keeping their heads still to determine if their eyes are able to track the object in a smooth manner, or if they present with nystamgus. Id. If an individual has HGN, that is a sign or indicator that a person is possibly under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Id. During the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, Mr. Quilici's eyes displayed nystagmus - a lack of smooth pursuit. Id.

         The Romberg Balance Test is an alternative FST that officers may use in DUI investigations. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 11, Ex. A. During a Romberg Balance Test, the individual is asked to stand with their feet together, tilt their head slightly back with their eyes closed and estimate when 30 seconds has passed. Id. During the test, Officer Anglesey is generally looking for the amount and direction of any swaying, body or eyelid tremors, the ability of the person to estimate the passage of time, their muscle tone, sounds or statements made during the test, and the ability to follow directions. Id. During the Romberg test, Officer Anglesey observed Mr. Quilici swaying. Officer Anglesey also observed Mr. Quilici's eyelids displaying rapid tremors throughout the test. Id. Mr. Quilici testified in his deposition that it was not comfortable to perform the tests that day because he was wearing dress shoes. Quilici Depo. at 40:22-41:3.

         Based upon Mr. Quilici's objective signs of alcohol and drug intoxication and his poor performance of the Field Sobriety Tests, Officer Anglesey formed the opinion that Mr. Quilici had been driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and was unsafe to operate a motor vehicle. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 13, Ex. A. Mr. Quilici was placed under arrest and transported to the CHP-Capitol Protection Section Office. Id. On March 27, 2014 at approximately 3:10 a.m., Officer Davis Performed a Drug Influence Evaluation at the CHP-Capitol Protection Section Office. Davis Decl. at ¶ 5, Ex. A. Officer Davis is trained as an IACP certified Drug Recognition Expert. Id. Officer Davis observed that Mr. Quilici was agitated and annoyed when answering questions and asked to perform any tests. Officer Davis also observed that Mr. Quilici had difficulty maintaining attention. Id. at ¶ 6, Ex. A. During the Romberg test, Officer Davis observed Mr. Quilici swaying. Officer Davis also observed Mr. Quilici's eyelids displaying rapid tremors throughout the test. Id. at ¶ 7, Ex. A.

         Based on Officer Davis' training and experience, and consistently with CHP's policies and procedures, a walk and turn test is also used to evaluate whether a person is exhibiting the signs and symptoms of being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Davis Decl. at ¶ 8, Ex. A. During the walk and turn test, Officer Davis observed that Mr. Quilici lost his balance and had difficulty standing still while being instructed. Id. Mr. Quilici then led with the wrong foot, missed heel to toe on the first nine steps, and was required to use his arms to balance throughout the test. Id. Based on Officer Davis' training and experience, and consistently with CHP's policies and procedures, a one-leg stand test can be used to evaluate whether a person is exhibiting signs and symptoms of being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. During the one leg stand test, Officer Davis observed Mr. Quilici shaking and swaying in an attempt to maintain his balance. Id. at ¶ 9, Ex. A.

         Based on Officer Davis' training and experience, and consistently with CHP's policies and procedures, a finger to nose test can be used to evaluate whether a person is exhibiting signs and symptoms of being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Davis Decl. at ¶ 10, Ex. A. During the finger to nose test, Officer Davis observed Mr. Quilici touching the tip of his finger to his upper lip instead of his nose. Id. Officer Davis also had to remind Mr. Quilici to lower his arm after touching the tip of his nose. Id. During the examination, Officer Davis observed that Mr. Quilici's eyes displayed reddening conjunctiva, slow reaction to light, rebound dilation, and dilation in both room lighting and direct light. Id. at ¶ 11, Ex. A. Officer Davis also observed that Mr. Quilici's diastolic blood pressure and body temperature were low. Id. Officer Davis observed that Mr. Quilici's tongue was covered in a white, pasty film. Id. at ¶ 12, Ex. A. Based upon Officer Davis' Drug Influence Evaluation and his training as a Drug Recognition Expert, Officer Davis formed the opinion that Mr. Quilici was under the influence of alcohol, central nervous system stimulants, and central nervous system depressants. Id. at ¶ 13, Ex. A.

         Officer Anglesey completed a DMV Form DS 367 regarding the arrest and advised Mr. Quilici that he was required to contact the DMV to request a hearing to show that the suspension of his license was not justified. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 14, Ex. A. Officer Anglesey circled the telephone number on the form by which Mr. Quilici could contact the DMV. Id. Neither Officer Anglesey, Officer Davis, or any other employee of the CHP suspended or revoked Mr. Quilici's driver's license. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 15; Davis Decl. at ¶ 14. CHP does not have the authority to suspend a driver's license, as that authority is vested in the DMV. Id. Neither Officer Anglesey nor Officer Davis searched Mr. Quilici's vehicle (i.e., performed an investigatory search), but a standard vehicle inventory was performed to prevent against theft when the vehicle was towed. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 16; Davis Decl. at ¶ 15.

         Toxicology tests from the March 27, 2014 arrest shows a blood alcohol level of 0.010. ECF No. 30-1 at ¶ 14. The toxicology report was not available until July 17, 2014. Id.

         B. July 3, 2014 Arrest

         On July 3, 2014, Officers Richard Anglesey and Joseph Davis were on patrol in a fully marked CHP patrol car in downtown Sacramento. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 18, Ex. B; Davis Decl. at ¶ 17, Ex. B. At approximately 3:50 a.m., Officers Anglesey and Davis were traveling eastbound on J Street when they observed a vehicle driving slowly despite light traffic, weaving in a serpentine manner in and out of its lane, and nearly colliding with a parked car. Anglesey Decl. at ¶ 19, Ex. B; Davis Decl. at ¶ 18, Ex. B. Officer Anglesey ...


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