United States District Court, D. Nevada
C. JONES United States District Judge.
case arises out of an arrest, allegedly without probable
cause, and a subsequent prosecution. Pending before the Court
is a motion for summary judgment.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Marino Scafidi has sued several members of the Las Vegas
Metropolitan Police Department (“Metro”), Metro
itself, a nurse, and ten unidentified security guards
employed by the Palms Hotel and Casino (“the
Palms”) based on events that occurred at the Palms on
September 1, 2012. (See Am. Compl. ¶¶
1-16, ECF No. 31, at 9). On that date, Plaintiff and
Stephanie Carter went on a date at the Palms, eating dinner
at a restaurant on the property at approximately 9:30 p.m.,
and thereafter socializing in Plaintiff's room.
(Id. ¶¶16-18). Carter drank alcohol during
dinner and in Plaintiff's room. (Id.). At
approximately 1:30 a.m. on September 2, 2017, Plaintiff and
Carter went to a nightclub at the Palms to dance.
(Id. ¶ 19). They returned to Plaintiff's
room at approximately 3 a.m. and had sex, agreeing to
videotape portions of their sexual activity. (Id.
later had a “psychotic episode” that Plaintiff
believes was caused by an adverse reaction between alcohol
and the psychoactive antidepressant Wellbutrin. (Id.
¶ 26). Specifically, Carter walked into the bathroom,
called 911, and stated repeatedly, “He's going to
kill me!” (Id. ¶ 27). She also threatened
to kill herself during the call and falsely claimed that
Plaintiff had a gun. (Id.). Plaintiff can be heard
during the call repeatedly asking Carter if she was okay,
telling her he needed to use the bathroom, and asking her to
open the door. (Id.). Defendants arrived at the room
and told Plaintiff that Carter had called 911 and had claimed
that he was armed. (Id. ¶ 29). Defendants
confined Plaintiff in a security room and attempted to
question him, (id. ¶ 30), made Plaintiff
disrobe and inserted a cotton swab into his urethra,
(id. ¶ 31), and finally arrested Plaintiff and
took him to the Clark County Detention Center
(“CCDC”), where he was held for four days,
(id. ¶¶ 32, 34).
was examined by Defendant Jeri Dermanelian, a nurse, early on
September 2, 2012. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 35). During
the examination, Carter exhibited symptoms of psychotic
behavior, and there was no evidence of violence, but only of
sexual activity. (Id. ¶¶ 35-36). A blood
test showed a blood alcohol content of 0.173 but no sign of
illegal drugs. (Id. ¶ 39). Carter had been
taking her Wellbutrin, and the manufacturer of that drug
indicates it should not be taken with alcohol. (Id.
¶¶ 39-40). At 6:30 a.m., Carter told police that
she did not know why she falsely claimed Plaintiff was going
to kill her, and she stated she had only told Plaintiff
“no” in a joking manner when they were
“joking around” with each other. (Id.
¶ 37). Despite Defendants' repeated attempts to
elicit accusations of sexual battery, Carter refused to make
such accusations. (Id. ¶ 38). Plaintiff also
gave a blood sample, but Defendants destroyed it before
testing it for alcohol or drugs, and they also destroyed
Carter's alcohol and urine samples. (Id.
¶¶ 41-42). Defendants did not search Carter's
purse (which contained pills and “pow[d]er”) or
her cell phone (which contained text messages sent to
Carter's friends before she had sex with Plaintiff).
(Id. ¶¶ 43-44). Defendant Detective R.
Beza put four pills of Ambien into a mint container and
placed the container near Plaintiff's jeans to make it
look like it had been in his pocket; still, Defendants did
not test Carter's blood for Ambien. (Id.
¶¶ 7, 45). Defendants searched Plaintiff's room
at the Palms and removed personal property from the safe and
elsewhere in the room; some of Plaintiff's jewelry and
cash are still missing. (Id. ¶ 46). Defendants
conspired not to preserve exculpatory evidence. (Id.
was charged with three counts of sexual assault under Nevada
Revised Statutes sections 200.364 and 200.366. A preliminary
hearing was held before a justice of the peace on January 17,
2013. (See Hr'g Tr., ECF No. 48-15). At the
preliminary hearing, Carter testified that she felt very
intoxicated when returning to Plaintiff's room and that
she lied down on the bed and told him she didn't want any
physical activity with him, but that he penetrated her vagina
without her consent both with his finger and his penis.
(Id. 13-20). On cross-examination, Carter admitted
returning willingly to Plaintiff's room and kissing him
but maintained that the sex was not consensual and that she
told him to leave her alone, even pretending to be asleep so
he would leave her alone. (Id. 44-48). The justice
of the peace found there to be probable cause and bound
Plaintiff over for trial in the state district court.
the state district court dismissed the charges based on
spoliation of evidence (the fluid samples and text messages),
Plaintiff sued Defendants in state court for federal civil
rights violations and various state law torts. Defendants
removed. One Defendant moved to dismiss, and another moved
for summary judgment. While those motions were pending, the
Court granted a stipulation to stay the case pending the
Nevada Supreme Court's resolution of the State's
appeal of the dismissal of the underlying criminal case,
denying all pending motions without prejudice. The Nevada
Supreme Court reversed and remanded, ruling that only the
text messages were potentially exculpatory, and that on
remand the state district court should consider whether a
curative jury instruction would be a sufficient sanction. The
state district court ruled that a curative jury instruction
would suffice, and it rescheduled the trial for October 30,
2017. The state district court recently granted the
State's motion to dismiss all charges after excluding
certain evidence for Fourth Amendment violations. It is not
clear whether the State has appealed (or intends to appeal)
the suppression order.
Amended Complaint (“AC”) list claims for: (1)
unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendments under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2)
liability of Metro for the violations alleged under the first
claim under Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436
U.S. 658 (1978); (3) conspiracy under § 1983; (4)
negligence; (5) false imprisonment; (6) malicious
prosecution; and (7) intentional infliction of emotional
distress (“IIED”). Metro 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 if the
underlying claim contains a reasonableness test, where a
party's evidence is so clearly ...