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Santopietro v. Howell

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 16, 2014

MICHELE SANTOPIETRO, Plaintiff(s),
v.
LAS VEGAS POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICERS C. HOWELL (BADGE 9634), et al., Defendant(s)

For Michele Santopietro, Plaintiff: Andrew M. Jacobs, Timothy John Reppucci, LEAD ATTORNEYS, John S Delikanakis, Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., Tucson, AZ.

For C Howell, LVMPD Officer (Badge 9034), Officer Crawford, LVMPD Officer (Badge 10050), F Lopez-Rosende, LVMPD Officer (Badge 8864), Defendants: Nicholas Crosby, Marquis & Aurbach, Las Vegas, NV.

Page 1109

ORDER

JAMES C. MAHAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. Background

Presently before the court is a motion for partial summary judgement filed by plaintiff Michele Santopietro (" Santopietro" ) (doc. #45) and a motion for summary judgment filed by defendants Clayborn Howell (" Howell" ), Christine Crawford (" Crawford" ), and Francisco Lopez-Rosende (" Lopez" ) (collectively " officers" ) (doc. #44). Both sides have filed oppositions (doc. #49; doc. #50), and both sides have replied (doc. #52; doc. #54).

The material facts in this care are undisputed. Plaintiff Santopietro works as an actor in various media and occasionally acts as a street performer on the Las Vegas Strip. On May 28, 2011, Santopietro and her friend, fellow street performer Lea Patrick (" Patrick" ), were arrested on the Las Vegas Strip by three police officers, defendants Howell, Crawford, and Lopez. The officers were working a plain-clothes Strip enforcement assignment when they came upon Santopietro and Patrick working together in their " sexy cop" costumes. Santopietro and Patrick were posing with pedestrians on the Strip in and accepting tips in exchange.

Howell asked Santopietro and Patrick how much it cost to have a photo taken, and Santopietro replied that the picture was free, and that they posed for tips. Specifically, Patrick stated, " We pose for tips. Is that okay?" Howell posed for a picture with Santopietro and Patrick and then began to walk away without offering payment. Patrick stated " don't forget the tip," and Howell responded that he would not tip them. Patrick then stated " you said you would tip" . Patrick said that if Howell was unhappy with the photograph that Crawford, who had taken the photograph, should delete it. After this statement, Crawford approached Santopietro and asked what she was going to do if Crawford did not delete the picture. Santopietro said that she was not going to do anything. Patrick told Howell that Howell had entered into a verbal contract with her to give a tip.

Howell approached Patrick and told her that she could not demand a tip. Patrick responded by agreeing that she could not demand a tip, and stated that she was simply telling Howell that he had agreed to tip her. After this exchange, Howell showed Patrick and Santopietro his badge and explained that he was a plain-clothes police officer. The officers arrested Patrick and Santopietro for " doing business without a license" in violation of Clark Cnty. Muni. Code § 06.56.030. The charges against Santopietro were ultimately dropped.

Santopietro filed this lawsuit seeking civil damages for violations of her constitutional rights stemming from what she believes was an unlawful arrest.

II. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for summary ...


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