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Peterson v. Miranda

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 11, 2014

LINDA PETERSON; et. al., Plaintiffs,
v.
KEVIN MIRANDA; et. al., Defendants.

ORDER

LARRY R. HICKS, District Judge.

Before the court is plaintiffs Linda and Francis Peterson's ("the Petersons") motion for partial summary judgment. Doc. #234.[1] Defendants Roberto Morales ("Morales"), Tina Zuniga ("Zuniga"), Mark Robbins ("Robbins") and Cynthia Ruelas ("Ruelas") filed an opposition (Doc. #243) which was joined by defendants Clark County School District ("CCSD"), Filiberto Arroyo ("Arroyo"), Brian Nebeker ("Nebeker"), Loren Johnson ("Johnson"), and Armando Quintanilla ("Quintanilla") (Doc. #244). The Petersons then filed a reply. Doc. #253.

I. Facts and Procedural History

This action arises from the tragic death of the Petersons' daughter, Angela Peterson.

On November 28, 2009, non-party Rebecca Wamsley ("Wamsley"), a dispatcher for defendant CCSD Police Department ("department"), hosted a holiday party at her home and invited members of the department and their family.

Defendant Zuniga attended the holiday party with her daughter and her daughter's eighteen (18) year old boyfriend, defendant Kevin Miranda ("Miranda"). Despite being underage, Miranda drank alcohol provided at the party. Miranda then left the party intoxicated, ran a red light, and crashed his parents' truck into a vehicle driven by Angela Peterson, killing her. Miranda subsequently pled guilty to a category B felony, and is currently serving an eighty (80) month prison sentence.

On October 20, 2011, the Petersons filed a complaint for wrongful death against all defendants. Doc. #1, Exhibit 1. On June 5, 2013, the Petersons filed a second amended complaint against defendants alleging thirteen causes of action: (1) negligence against all defendants; (2) negligence against Eric Miranda and Chary Alvarado Miranda ("Miranda's parents"); (3) violation of NRS § 41.440 against Miranda's parents; (4) violation of NRS § 41.1305 against defendants Zuniga, Ruelas, Robbins, and Morales; (5) constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against CCSD and all CCSD employee defendants; (6) intentional infliction of emotional distress against all defendants; (7) negligent infliction of emotional distress against all defendants; (8) negligent hiring, retention, and supervision against CCSD; (9) ratification against CCSD; (10) respondeat superior against CCSD; (11) punitive damages against CCSD and all CCSD employee defendants; (12) punitive damages against Miranda; and (13) civil conspiracy against CCSD and all CCSD employee defendants. See Doc. #172. Thereafter, the Petersons filed the present motion for partial summary judgment regarding the conduct of CCSD employees at the holiday party. Doc. #234.

II. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate only when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In assessing a motion for summary judgment, the evidence, together with all inferences that can reasonably be drawn therefrom, must be read in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); County of Tuolumne v. Sonora Cmty. Hosp., 236 F.3d 1148, 1154 (9th Cir. 2001).

The moving party bears the burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion, along with evidence showing the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). On those issues for which it bears the burden of proof, the moving party must make a showing that is "sufficient for the court to hold that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the moving party." Calderone v. United States, 799 F.2d 254, 259 (6th Cir. 1986); see also Idema v. Dreamworks, Inc., 162 F.Supp.2d 1129, 1141 (C.D.Cal. 2001).

To successfully rebut a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must point to facts supported by the record which demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact. Reese v. Jefferson Sch. Dist. No. 14J, 208 F.3d 736 (9th Cir. 2000). A "material fact" is a fact "that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Where reasonable minds could differ on the material facts at issue, summary judgment is not appropriate. See v. Durang, 711 F.2d 141, 143 (9th Cir. 1983). A dispute regarding a material fact is considered genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248. The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient to establish a genuine dispute; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff. See id. at 252.

III. Discussion

In their motion, the Petersons seek summary judgment on their first cause of action for negligence; fourth cause of action for violations of NRS § 41.1305; fifth cause of action for constitutional violations under § 1983; sixth cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress; and seventh cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. See Doc. ...


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