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Las Vegas Police Protective Association Metro Inc. v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 31, 2017

LAS VEGAS POLICE PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION METRO INC., et al ., Plaintiffs,
v.
LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Lloyd D. George United States District Judge

         In 2015, the Nevada Legislature adopted, and the Governor approved, SB 241. Pursuant to SB 241, Chapter 288 of the Nevada Revised Statutes was amended to add the following new section:

A local government employer may agree to provide leave to any of its employees for time spent by the employee in performing duties or providing services for an employee organization if the full cost of such leave is paid or reimbursed by the employee organization or is offset by the value of concessions made by the employee organization in the negotiation of an agreement with the local government employer pursuant to this chapter.

NRS 288.225.

         The plaintiffs, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association Metro Inc. and the Las Vegas Metro Police Managers & Supervisors Association (the Associations), are employee organizations representing various employees of the defendant, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (Metro). They allege that SB 241 is unconstitutional, both on its face and as applied to the Associations, as viewpoint discrimination and because it violates their rights and the rights of their members to associate under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. They further allege SB 241 violates their rights to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.

         The Associations now seek summary judgment on their claims (ECF No. 24), which Metro opposes (ECF No. 26). Having reviewed the pleadings and the arguments of the parties, the Court will deny the motion.

         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); United States v. Arango, 670 F.3d 988, 992 (9th Cir. 2012). 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); Arango, 670 F.3d at 992.

         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. Additionally, “[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient.” United States v. $133, 420.00 in U.S. Currency, 672 F.3d 629, 638 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252).

         “[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.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. “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.” Id., 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." Id., 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 non-moving party must submit facts showing a genuine issue of material fact. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(e); Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Companies, Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1103 (9th Cir. 2000). 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). That is, the opposing party cannot “‘rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [its] pleading' but must instead produce evidence that ‘sets forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Estate of Tucker v. Interscope Records, 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(e)).

         Analysis

         The initial issue before the Court is whether SB 241 is a content based restriction on speech, viewpoint or expression. “[T]he crucial first step in the content-neutrality analysis [is] determining whether the law is content neutral on its face. A law that is content based on its face is subject to strict scrutiny regardless of the government's benign motive, content-neutral justification, or lack of ‘animus toward the ideas contained' in the regulated speech.” Reed v. Town of Gilbert, __U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 2218, 2228 (2015) (citing Cincinnati v. Discovery Network, Inc., 507 U.S. 410, 429 (1993)).

         Absent from the Associations' arguments is any citation to any decision finding that a similar regulation or provision constitutes ...


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