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Shay v. County of Los Angeles

United States District Court, C.D. California

September 23, 2019

SHAY
v.
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ET AL.

          PRESENT: THE HONORABLE CHRISTINA A. SNYDER

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: DEFENDANTS' SECOND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 84, filed on August 19, 2019)

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This case arises out of the detention of plaintiff Allen B. Shay ("Shay") by defendant Detective Christopher Deny ("Detective Deny") of defendant Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (collectively "the County") between May 20, 2014 and May 31, 2014.

         Shay filed a complaint to initiate this action on June 17, 2015. ECF No. 1 ("Compl."). Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on September 14, 2015, ECF No. 20, which the Court granted in part and denied in part on October 26, 2015, ECF No. 23. Shay filed his second amended complaint, the operative pleading, on November 4, 2015. ECF No. 24 ("SAC"). The SAC alleges four claims for relief: (1) a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Detective Deny for violation of Shay's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights; (2) a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978) against the County for violation of those same rights; (3) a state law claim for violation of Shay's rights pursuant to California's Bane Civil Rights Act, codified at California Civil Code § 52.1; and (4) a state law claim for false imprisonment.

         On June 5, 2017, the Court granted summary judgment to defendants on all four claims. See ECF No. 66 ("MSJ Order"). Shay appealed. See ECF No. 67. On March 6, 2019, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. See Shay v. County of Los Angeles, 762 F.App'x 416, 419 (9th Cir. 2019). Specifically, the court affirmed judgment for defendants on Shay's Fourth Amendment, Bane Act, and false imprisonment claims, but held that "genuine disputes over material facts preclude summary judgment on Shay's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims" against Detective Deny, as well as "Shay's associated municipal liability claim" against the County for the same violations. Id. at 418-19 (holding that "summary judgment is inappropriate" for the latter claim).[1]

         Notwithstanding the Ninth Circuit's holding and mandate, defendants filed the present second motion for summary judgment on Shay's remaining claims on August 19, 2019. See ECF No. 84 ("Motion" or "Mot."). Defendants simultaneously filed a separate statement of uncontroverted facts. ECF No. 84-1 ("SUF"). On September 2, 2019, Shay filed an opposition, ECF No. 90 ("Opposition" or "Opp."), as well as a statement of genuine issues of disputed facts and additional material facts in dispute, ECF No. 86 ("SGD"). On September 10, 2019, defendants filed their amended reply, ECF No. 93 ("Reply"), along with objections to certain additional facts submitted in Shay's SGD, ECF No. 92-5. Defendants did not otherwise file a response to the SGD.

         The matter came before the Court for a hearing on September 23, 2019. Having carefully considered the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKROUND

         The following facts are not materially disputed and are set forth for purposes of background. Unless otherwise noted, the Court references only facts that are uncontroverted and as to which evidentiary objections have been overruled. Moreover, because the facts and procedural history of this action are known to the parties and summarized in this Court's first MSJ Order, they are only briefly reviewed here.

         A. Shay's Arrest, Detention, and Release

         The County filed a criminal complaint against Shay in Los Angeles County Superior Court on May 1, 2014. SGD 11. The criminal complaint charged Shay with two counts of grand theft in violation of California Penal Code § 487(a), and two counts of procuring and offering a false or forged instrument in violation of California Penal Code § 115(a). The charges arose from Shay's alleged involvement in several real estate transactions that took place between 2005 and 2007.

         That same day, Detective Deny executed an arrest warrant for Shay, and signed a declaration in support of a California Penal Code § 1275.1 motion for a "bail hold." SGD 112, 5. Pursuant to California law, a § 1275.1 motion allows the government to continue to detain an arrestee, notwithstanding any bail funds proffered on his or her behalf, until a bail hearing can be held to determine whether any of the bail funds were feloniously obtained. In the declaration in support of the § 1275.1 motion that Detective Deny and the County executed against Shay, Detective Deny stated that Shay "had access to significant amounts of monies feloniously obtained from theft, " and that those "monies could be used to arrange for the posting of bail in this matter." SGD 1 5. The parties dispute the basis for Detective Deny's bail hearing request. At his deposition, Detective Deny stated that it was the County's "standard practice to request a bail hearing in felony theft cases, " as a rule, "countywide." SGD 1 6. In the same deposition, Detective Deny also claims he "signed the declaration because . . . Mr. Shay received $50, 000 that was, " he alleges, "feloniously obtained." Id

         Based on the facts stated in Detective Deny's declaration, the Los Angeles County Superior Court granted the §1275.1 bail hold motion on the date it was submitted, and ordered that the court hold a bail hearing to determine the source of any bail funds before they were accepted. SGD 1 9. Shay was arrested on May 20, 2014. SGD 110. On May 30, 2014, Shay appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court for a bail hearing. SGD 11 21-22. At the hearing, the court lifted the bail hold and agreed to prepare an order permitting one of Shay's friends to post bond on his behalf. SGD H 23, 27-28. Shay was released from custody at some point between May 30 and May 31, 2014, but the parties dispute exactly when. SGD 128.

         At the preliminary hearing held on September 11, 2014, the Los Angeles County Superior Court found that the County's evidence against Shay did not support the charges against him, and declined to make Shay answer to them. MS J Order at 7 (citing Darling Decl. | 9, Ex. O at 2:13-6:28). Shay was never convicted of any of the crimes charged against him.

         B. Shay's Postarrest Incarceration Claims, and the Ninth Circuit's Decision

         Shay claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that Detective Deny violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights by filing an allegedly false declaration that caused Shay to be incarcerated for a prolonged period without bail. SAC ¶ 36-41. Shay also claims that the County is liable for this violation, pursuant to Monell, because Detective Deny submitted the allegedly false declaration in accordance with a countywide policy. SAC ¶ 42-50.

         After this Court granted summary judgment to defendants on these claims, the Ninth Circuit reversed and held that "genuine disputes over material facts preclude summary judgment on Shay's [postarrest incarceration] claims concerning the allegedly false declaration Deny submitted in support of the [§] 1275 hold motion which led to Shay being incarcerated without access to bail." Shay, 762 F.App'x at 418. The panel explained:

In order to hold Shay without bail, Deny submitted a declaration with the 1275 motion providing: "after a review of the facts in this matter, I believe that the defendant has had access to significant amounts of monies feloniously obtained from theft." However, Deny was aware that any allegedly feloniously obtained funds received by Shay were relatively small (around $50, 000)[2] and obtained seven years previously. Deny performed no additional investigation into the likelihood that Shay possessed such funds at the present time. Instead, Deny testified that he signed the declaration because it was a countywide "standard practice to request a bail hearing in felony theft cases, " regardless of the circumstances. Deny was required under California law to set forth probable cause that the bail money was feloniously obtained. Cal. Penal Code ยง 1275.1(b)(1). We conclude that under these ...

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