United States District Court, D. Nevada
C. JONES United States District Judge.
case arises out of allegedly excessive force during an
arrest. Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 34).
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
about March 2, 2014, Plaintiff Paul Weddle was arrested after
his unauthorized use of an aircraft at the Boulder City
Airport. (See Am. Compl. ¶ 9, ECF No. 30).
Plaintiff alleges he was “assaulted and battered”
despite not resisting or assaulting the arresting officers.
(See id.). He has sued Officers Alan Nutzman, Chad
Richner, David Olson, and Todd Cazet, as well as the City of
Boulder City (“the City”) in this Court for: (1)
violation of the Fourth Amendment under 42 U.S.C. §
1983; (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress
(“IIED”); (3) battery; (4) negligence; and (5)
civil rights conspiracy under § 1985. Defendants have
moved for summary judgment.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS
must grant summary judgment when “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Material facts are those which may affect
the outcome of the case. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute as to a
material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence for
a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving
party. See Id. A principal purpose of summary
judgment is “to isolate and dispose of factually
unsupported claims.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).
determining summary judgment, a court uses a burden-shifting
scheme. The moving party must first satisfy its initial
burden. “When the party moving for summary judgment
would bear the burden of proof at trial, it must come forward
with evidence which would entitle it to a directed verdict if
the evidence went uncontroverted at trial.” C.A.R.
Transp. Brokerage Co. v. Darden Rests., Inc., 213 F.3d
474, 480 (9th Cir. 2000) (citation and internal quotation
marks omitted). In contrast, when the nonmoving party bears
the burden of proving the claim or defense, the moving party
can meet its burden in two ways: (1) by presenting evidence
to negate an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case; or (2) by demonstrating that the nonmoving party failed
to make a showing sufficient to establish an element
essential to that party's case on which that party will
bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex
Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-24.
moving party fails to meet its initial burden, summary
judgment must be denied and the court need not consider the
nonmoving party's evidence. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress
& Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970). If the moving party
meets its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the
opposing party to establish a genuine issue of material fact.
See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). To establish the
existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not
establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor.
It is sufficient that “the claimed factual dispute be
shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties'
differing versions of the truth at trial.” T.W.
Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n,
809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir. 1987). In other words, the
nonmoving party cannot avoid summary judgment by relying
solely on conclusory allegations unsupported by facts.
See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir.
1989). Instead, the opposition must go beyond the assertions
and allegations of the pleadings and set forth specific facts
by producing competent evidence that shows a genuine issue
for trial. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Celotex
Corp., 477 U.S. at 324.
summary judgment stage, a court's function is not to
weigh the evidence and determine the truth, but to determine
whether there is a genuine issue for trial. See
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. The evidence of the nonmovant
is “to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are
to be drawn in his favor.” Id. at 255. But if
the evidence of the nonmoving party is merely colorable or is
not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.
See Id. at 249-50. Notably, facts are only viewed in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party where there
is a genuine dispute about those facts. Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). That is, even where
the underlying claim contains a reasonableness test, where a
party's evidence is so clearly contradicted by the record
as a whole that no reasonable jury could believe it, “a
court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes
of ruling on a motion for summary judgment.”
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1)
that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the
United States was violated; and (2) that the alleged
violation was committed by a person acting under color of
state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988). There is no respondeat superior liability under
§ 1983. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs.,
436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). In order to hold a municipality
liable for the actions of its officers, the allegedly
unconstitutional actions must have been pursuant to an
official municipal policy, ordinance, regulation, or
officially adopted decision. Monell v. N.Y. City
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978).
The Court of Appeals has explained:
In a Monell claim, there are three ways to show a
policy or custom of a municipality: (1) by showing a
longstanding practice or custom which constitutes the
standard operating procedure of the local government entity;
(2) by showing that the decision-making official was, as a
matter of state law, a final policymaking authority whose
edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent official
policy in the area of decision; or (3) by showing that an
official with final policymaking authority either delegated
that authority to, or ratified the decision of, a
Villegas v. Gilroy Garlic Festival Ass'n, 541
F.3d 950, 964 (9th Cir. 2008) (citations and internal
quotation marks omitted).
persons sued in their individual capacities may enjoy
qualified immunity against claims of constitutional
violations. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166-67
(1985). An official is not entitled to qualified immunity if:
(1) there has been a constitutional violation; and (2) the
state of the law was clear enough at the time of the
violation that a reasonable person in the defendants'
position would have known his actions violated the
plaintiff's rights. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S.
194, 201 (2001). Courts have discretion to address the second
prong of the Saucier test first in order to avoid
unnecessary constitutional rulings. Pearson v.
Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 236 (2009). A “clearly
established” right for the ...