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Hazan v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

United States District Court, D. Nevada

September 15, 2014

DR. LYDIE HAZAN, Plaintiff,
v.
LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, a Political Subdivision of the STATE OF NEVADA; Police Officer OLIVER(LVMPD #4540 and as a Police Officer; employed by the LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT; POLICE OFFICER JOHN DOES I-XX; and JOHN DOES I-XX, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER

LLOYD D. GEORGE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Dr. Lydie Hazan brought the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and supplemental state law claims against Defendants Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department ("LVMPD") and Officer Ernest Oliver, individually and as a Police Officer employed by LVMPD. Defendants moved for summary judgment (#23), and then filed an amended motion for summary judgment (#29) asserting qualified immunity and lack of evidence. Plaintiff moves for summary judgment (#34). For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendant's amended summary judgment motion (#29) on all counts and denies Plaintiff's summary judgment motion (#34) on all counts.

The Court also notes that the plaintiff filed pro se requests (## 48, 49) for additional time to obtain new counsel. New counsel subsequently appeared on behalf of plaintiff. The Court will deny the requests as moot.

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). 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).

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.

"[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." Id. "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." Celotex, 477 U.S. 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." Celotex, 477 U.S. 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). 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).

Analysis

The Defendants' summary judgment motion (#23) and amended summary judgment motion (#29) request judgment on Plaintiff's eight claims. The Court finds that the Defendants can adequately show "an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. The Court also finds that the Plaintiff did not provide facts sufficient to show a genuine issue of material fact as to each claim. Therefore, the Court grants summary judgment (#29) for the Defendants on all claims. Plaintiff's summary judgment motion (#34) is moot, and therefore, denied.

I. Claims Against Officer Oliver

The Plaintiff raises six claims against Officer Oliver, namely, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 violations of her 4th and 14th amendment rights; battery; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent infliction of emotional distress; and false arrest and false imprisonment.

A. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - Individual Claims

The Plaintiff asserts a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for violations of Dr. Hazan's 4th and 14th amendment rights for unlawful arrest and excessive force. A § 1983 claim for unlawful arrest and excessive force is properly analyzed under an "objective reasonableness" standard under the 4th amendment, rather than the substantive due process standard under the 14th amendment. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 387 (1989). Furthermore, a § 1983 claim against an individual requires proving an official, acting personally under color of state law, caused a deprivation of a federal right. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985). A person deprives another "of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which ...


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