United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' SUMMARY JUDGMENT
MOTIONS (ECF 80, 81, 82)
P. GORDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Nathan Okpoti filed this lawsuit against defendants Las Vegas
Metropolitan Police Department (“LVMPD”), Officer
John Brandon, and the City of Las Vegas (“City”).
Okpoti alleges that he suffered a stroke while driving and
that Officer Brandon pulled him over and then arrested him on
suspicion of driving under the influence when instead Brandon
should have provided him medical assistance. He further
alleges Officer Brandon took him to the Las Vegas Detention
Center (“LVDC”), where he remained in custody for
several days and did not receive medical attention.
the defendants' motions for summary judgment.
Okpoti's false arrest claims fail because Brandon had
probable cause to arrest him for driving under the influence.
Moreover, Okpoti's Fourteenth Amendment claims fail
because Okpoti has not shown that Brandon or a City employee
were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs or
that additional training would have resulted in Okpoti being
referred for medical care.
January 24, 2013, Officer Brandon stopped Okpoti for
suspicion of driving under the influence after Okpoti was
seen swerving and hitting the curb. ECF No. 81-1 at 2, 57-58.
When Brandon asked Okpoti to get out of the car, Okpoti had
trouble opening the door. Id. at 59, 93.
Okpoti's eyes were watery and glassy; his speech was
confused and incoherent; he was wobbling, falling, and
swaying; and his clothing was unkempt. Id. at 93.
Okpoti incorrectly identified the street he was on and did
not know the date. Id. Okpoti denied he was under a
doctor's care or that he had any physical or mental
handicaps. Id. Okpoti also denied having consumed
any alcoholic beverages. Id. Okpoti told Brandon
that he had a headache and had taken over-the-counter pain
medicine. ECF Nos. 80-3 at 21; 81-2 at 6.
could not smell alcohol on Okpoti but Okpoti failed three
field sobriety tests. ECF No. 81-1 at 59-60, 94-96. Brandon
concluded Okpoti was under the influence of some substance
but Brandon did not know what it was. Id. at 60.
Brandon called to the scene Officer Michael Laythorpe, a drug
recognition evaluator, for a second opinion. Id. at
60, 65; ECF No. 81-2 at 40.
also did not smell alcohol and he did not observe Okpoti
acting in a bizarre or agitated fashion, although
Okpoti's speech was slurred. ECF No. 81-2 at 49.
Okpoti's eyes were red and watery but Laythorpe saw no
abnormality between the pupils. Id. Laythorpe
conducted a field sobriety test and then told Brandon that he
believed Okpoti was under the influence of either cannabis or
spice. Id. at 49, 55. Neither Brandon nor Laythorpe
thought Okpoti was experiencing a medical episode.
Id. at 51; ECF No. 81-1 at 63. Laythorpe did not see
any droopiness in Okpoti's face, eyelids, or lips. ECF
No. 81-2 at 51-52. Brandon arrested Okpoti for driving under
the influence of a controlled substance and transported him
to LVDC. ECF Nos. 81-1 at 67-68; 80-1 at 40; 81-2 at 62.
the intake process at LVDC, a registered nurse conducts a
“receiving screen, ” which involves obtaining a
medical history, taking vital signs, and conducting a mental
health evaluation. ECF No. 80-2 at 3. According to the
information recorded during that process, Okpoti complained
of a migraine and stated he took Tylenol the day before. ECF
No. 80-2 at 6. Okpoti denied using drugs or alcohol.
Id. The registered nurse who conducted the receiving
screen noted nothing abnormal about Okpoti's appearance,
behavior, state of consciousness, or movement. Id.
According to the intake mental health assessment, Okpoti was
oriented and did not display inappropriate affect, mood,
speech, or behavior. Id. at 11. Okpoti was placed in
the general population and not referred for medical treatment
or further evaluation. Id. at 8.
Okpoti signed the receiving screen record, Okpoti denies he
said he had a migraine or that he took Tylenol. ECF Nos. 81-2
at 29; 80-2 at 9. Okpoti states he told jail staff he had a
headache and that he thought “something was
wrong” but he “could not articulate the details
of [his] condition.” ECF No. 80-3 at 12.
appeared before a judge on January 25, 2013 and the judge
found probable cause for the charge. ECF No. 80-4 at 2.
Okpoti was released from LVDC on January 28, 2013 after no
complaint was filed in the criminal case. ECF Nos. 80-1 at
111-13; 80-4 at 2; 81-2 at 77.
did not seek or receive medical treatment following his
release from custody until his mother took him to a hospital
on February 28, 2013. ECF No.80-3 at 25-26. As it turns out,
Okpoti was not under the influence of a controlled substance.
Rather, he was experiencing a medical episode caused by his
previously undiagnosed condition of cavernous angiomas, which
involves abnormal bleeding of vessels in the brain. ECF Nos.
81-1 at 77, 84.
judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, discovery
responses, and affidavits demonstrate “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), (c). A fact is material if it “might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). An issue is genuine if “the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Id.
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
informing the court of the basis for its motion and
identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The burden
then shifts to the nonmoving party to set forth specific
facts demonstrating there is a genuine issue of material fact
for trial. Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212
F.3d 528, 531 (9th Cir. 2000). I view the evidence and make