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Martines v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 28, 2014



LLOYD D. GEORGE, District Judge.

The plaintiff, Gordon Martines, works as a police officer with defendant Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He sues the LVMPD, as well as numerous individuals, for numerous causes of action, including multiple claims of tortious discharge (though he admitted in his deposition that he remains employed by the LVMPD). The defendants have moved for summary judgment (#36), which motion Martines has opposed (#40). Having considered the pleadings, the arguments of the parties, and the evidence submitted by the defendant (Martines has not submitted any evidence), the Court concludes that the motion is meritorious and will grant summary judgment in favor of defendants.

Motion for Summary Judgment

In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court performs "the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is the need for a trial-whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); United States v. Arango, 670 F.3d 988, 992 (9th Cir. 2012). To succeed on a motion for summary judgment, the moving party must show (1) the lack of a genuine issue of any material fact, and (2) that the court may grant judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Arango, 670 F.3d at 992.

A material fact is one required to prove a basic element of a claim. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The failure to show a fact essential to one element, however, "necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Additionally, "[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient." United States v. $133, 420.00 in U.S. Currency, 672 F.3d 629, 638 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252).

"[T]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment, 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." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "Of course, a party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Id., at 323. As such, when the non-moving party bears the initial burden of proving, at trial, the claim or defense that the motion for summary judgment places in issue, the moving party can meet its initial burden on summary judgment "by showing'-that is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id., at 325. Conversely, when the burden of proof at trial rests on the party moving for summary judgment, then in moving for summary judgment the party must establish each element of its case.

Once the moving party meets its initial burden on summary judgment, the nonmoving party must submit facts showing a genuine issue of material fact. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(e); Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Companies, Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1103 (9th Cir. 2000). As summary judgment allows a court "to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses, " Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323-24, the court construes the evidence before it "in the light most favorable to the opposing party." Adickes v. S. H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). The allegations or denials of a pleading, however, will not defeat a well-founded motion. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(e); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). That is, the opposing party cannot "rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [its] pleading' but must instead produce evidence that sets forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Estate of Tucker v. Interscope Records, 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(e)).

A) Factual Background

The defendants have submitted a statement of facts in support of their motion, which statement is supported by citations to the evidence they have submitted with their motion. The plaintiff has not submitted any additional evidence. Rather, the plaintiff concedes that the only evidence to which he cites is that submitted by the defendants in their moving papers. He also concedes that, in opposing the motion, he has "use[d] much language from the Defendants' Brief." A review of his opposition indicates that his only citations to the evidence is for the same purpose for which the defendants have cited the evidence. That is, all of the plaintiff's citations to evidence are as unidentified quotes[1] of the defendants' statement of fact. Further, while the plaintiff's opposition makes several statements inconsistent with or contrary to the defendants' statement of facts, these contrary or inconsistent statements are not supported with any citation to the evidence submitted by the defendants.

While the Court must construe the evidence, and conflicts in the evidence, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the only evidence and construction of that evidence is that suggested by the defendants. As noted, the plaintiff has not submitted any evidence in support of his opposition, but has merely cited to the defendant's exhibits. The opposition does not identify, with the evidence submitted by defendants, any evidence that is inconsistent with the specific evidence upon which the defendants rely. Nor does the opposition suggest some manner of construing the evidence that is contrary to the construction suggested by the defendants. In short, the only evidence before the court, and the only construction of that evidence, is that set forth in the defendants' statement of facts. Thus, following the plaintiff's lead, the Court adopts the defendants' statement of facts, but for brevity will not quote it.

B) Analysis

1. Unopposed Arguments

The defendants moved for leave to file an over-length brief, to allow them to make arguments as to each of the plaintiff's twenty-one claims. The plaintiff's opposition fails to offer any argument that summary judgment is inappropriate as to his second, sixth, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth causes of action. Accordingly, summary judgment is appropriate as to each of these causes of action. The defendants also specifically argued that the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity as to each of the ...

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