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Williams v. State

United States District Court, D. Nevada

December 19, 2017

STATE OF NEVADA,, Defendants.



         Before the Court is Defendants Officers Krook and Chandler's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 37), Plaintiff Aprintess Williams' motion to redact his opposition to the motion for summary judgment and seal Exhibit 5 (ECF No. 43), and Plaintiff's alternative request for Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d) relief (ECF No. 45). For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment, grants Plaintiff's motion to redact and seal, and denies as moot Plaintiff's request for Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d) relief.


         In his amended complaint, Plaintiff asserts that officers working for the Department of Parole and Probation violated his constitutional rights and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him. (ECF No. 13 at 1-2, 6). Plaintiff alleges that during a parole appointment in June 2016, officers drove him “around Las Vegas for…five (5) hours in handcuffs, without food or water.” (Id. at 2, 4). Officers searched Plaintiff's safe deposit box at a bank, a friend's residence that Plaintiff has access to, and Plaintiff's home. (Id. at 4-5). During this, “Plaintiff told the officers he did not feel well and demanded he be taken to the Clark County Detention Center, ” specifically stating “his shoulders were numb.” (Id. at 5). “Plaintiff was never allowed water despite complaining of being hot, uncomfortable and not feeling well.” (Id. at 6). Plaintiff eventually passed out. (Id.). After being taken to a hospital, Plaintiff “was diagnosed with having heat stroke.” (Id.). Plaintiff asserts he has suffered “humiliation, anxiety and a loss of sleep” as a result of the officers' actions. (Id. at 7).

         On September 20, 2017, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 37). Defendants argue they are entitled to qualified immunity because “[t]here is no clearly established case law that indicates a simple complaint of not feeling well, absent anything else, requires an officer to jump to immediately fulfill the transportation desires of the inmate beyond their intended route.” (Id. at 3-4). Defendants point out that Plaintiff's amended complaint fails to identify which specific constitutional right was violated. (Id. at 5). Defendants assert that Plaintiff cannot establish that the officers “were deliberatively indifferent to his medical needs” under the Eighth Amendment because “[n]othing indicates that Defendants knew of any risk to Plaintiff's health or that he disregarded that risk by failing to take any action.” (Id. at 6). Defendants also argue that “Plaintiff waived his Fourth Amendment rights as a condition of his parole. Therefore, the Fourth Amendment cannot be the basis of his alleged constitutional violation claim.” (Id. at 7). Defendants finally assert that there is no evidence to support Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) claim because the officers' conduct was not sufficiently outrageous and Plaintiff did not suffer compensable emotional distress. (Id. at 9).

         On October 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a response. (ECF No. 40). Plaintiff argues the motion for summary judgment is “devoid of facts and any admissible evidence” because “discovery is still open, ” including the deposition of the Defendants. (Id. at 1). Attached to Plaintiff's response is Plaintiff's declaration, which adds depth to the amended complaint. (ECF No. 40-2). Plaintiff states he asked for water multiple times during the incident, the “air conditioning, if any” in the car “was insufficient to cool [him] down, ” and at one point the Defendants drank ice cold water in front of Plaintiff and refused to give him any. (Id. at 2-4). Plaintiff asserts Defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity because Plaintiff's right to medical care is well-established and the officers clearly violated that right. (ECF No. 40 at 14-15). Plaintiff argues there is, at minimum, a material factual dispute regarding Plaintiff's medical indifference claim under the Fourteenth Amendment because dehydration and nerve damage are objectively serious medical complaint and officers ignored Plaintiff's numerous complaints. (Id. at 8-14). Plaintiff also asserts questions of fact remain regarding his IIED claim. (Id. at 17). Plaintiff finally argues questions of fact remain regarding whether officer violated his Fourth Amendment right because the parole agreement attached to the motion for summary judgment was not authenticated. (Id. at 17-18; ECF No. 42). In the alternative to denying the motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff asks that any ruling on the motion be continued for further discovery under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d). (ECF No. 45 at 18-19). Plaintiff also moves to seal and redact portions of his response relating to his health information, including Exhibit 5 attached to the response (ECF No. 40-5). (ECF No. 43).

         On October 26, 2017, Defendants filed a reply (ECF No. 46). Defendants asserts the qualified immunity question is ripe for determination because it is a question of law and “[n]o amount of fact discovery will make a difference regarding Defendants' legal immunity from suit.” (Id. at 2). Discussing the parties' disagreement over whether the Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment applies to Plaintiff's medical indifference claim, Defendants state “the fact that there is even disagreement regarding the appropriate standard underscores the deficiency of Plaintiff's claim.” (Id. at 3). Defendants question Plaintiff's declaration, stating that “surely” the facts must have been different, and argue that because the declaration has “not been subject to cross-examination or greater scrutiny, therefore [it] ought not to be considered at face value but a desperate attempt to avoid summary judgment.” (Id. at 5-6). Attached to the reply is a declaration authenticating the parole agreement. (ECF No. 46-1).

         The Court held a hearing on December 18, 2017. (ECF No. 55). At the hearing, Plaintiff's counsel stated the authentication of the parole agreement was no longer in dispute. Defense counsel also conceded that Defendant did not have standing to assert a Fourth Amendment violation regarding the search of Defendant's friend's residence.


         “The court recognizes that the need to protect medical privacy has qualified as a ‘compelling reason, ' for sealing records in connection with a dispositive motion.” Williams v. Nevada Dep't of Corr., No. 2:13-CV-941-JAD-VCF, 2014 WL 3734287, at *1 (D. Nev. July 29, 2014). In addition, Defendants did not file an opposition to Plaintiff's motion, and “[t]he failure of an opposing party to include points and authorities in response to any motion constitutes a consent to granting the motion.” LCR 47-3.

         The Court grants Plaintiff's motion to redact his opposition and seal Exhibit 5 to the extent that they discuss Plaintiff's medical history. Plaintiff's opposition was docketed three separate times as ECF Nos. 40, 41, and 45. ECF Nos. 40 and 45 were not filed under seal. They have been redacted and Exhibit 5 was omitted from the attachments with the indication that it would be filed under seal. ECF No. 41 was filed under seal. It is unredacted and Exhibit 5 is included. Therefore, ECF No. 41 will remain under seal in this case.


         “The court shall grant summary judgment if 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). At summary judgment, the court's role is not to weigh the evidence, make credibility determinations, or determine the truth. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “Summary judgment is appropriate when, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact.” Zetwick v. Cty. of Yolo, 850 F.3d 436, 440 (9th Cir. 2017) (quoting United States v. JP Morgan Chase Bank Account No. Ending 8215, 835 F.3d 1159, 1162 (9th Cir. 2016)). “The district court must not only properly consider the record on summary judgment, but must consider that record in light of the governing law.” Id. at 442 (internal citation omitted).

         I. ...

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