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O'Doan v. Sanford

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 26, 2019

JAMES O'DOAN, Plaintiff,
RENO POLICE OFFICER JOSHUA SANFORD, RENO POLICE OFFICER CADE LEAVITT, and THE CITY OF RENO, a political subdivision of the State of Nevada; and JOHN DOES I through X, inclusive, Defendants.



         The City of Reno ("City"), Joshua Sanford ("Sanford"), and Cade Leavitt ("Leavitt") (collectively "defendants") move this court for summary judgment. ECF No. 39. Plaintiff, James O'Doan ("O'Doan") filed a response, to which defendants replied. ECF Nos. 42, 48. The court now grants defendants' motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On June 15, 2016, at approximately 7:00 p.m., O'Doan alleges he suffered a grand mal seizure while taking a shower. ECF No. 7 ¶ 10. O'Doan, who is epileptic, alleges that after he suffers from a seizure, he enters a "post-ictal" state, during which he is unable to cooperate because he is not conscious. Id. ¶¶ 9, 14. On die date at issue, following the seizure, O'Doan left his home on Gentry Way in Reno, Nevada, and began wandering, fully nude, in this alleged altered state. Id. ¶¶ 10-11, 15. O'Doan's girlfriend, April O'Frea ("O'Frea"), called 911 to report O'Doan's seizure and request help. Id. ¶¶ 11-12. O'Frea indicated that O'Doan had been attacked by police in the past during seizures because he doesn't listen and repeatedly informed dispatch of O'Doan's medical condition. Id. ¶¶ 13, 16.

         Firefighters trained for medical emergencies and REMSA were dispatched by the 911 operator and arrived at the scene. ECF No. 39-4 at 4-6; ECF No. 42-2. After being unsuccessful in restraining O'Doan, they began to pursue him on foot as he walked northbound along Kietzke Lane in his naked state. ECF No. 42-4 at 28; ECF 42-2. On request of the firefighters and REMSA, police assistance was expedited, and Reno Police Officers Sanford and Leavitt were dispatched to the scene. Id. at 23; ECF No. 39-4 at 6. When the officers arrived, they directed O'Doan to stop and announced themselves as police. ECF No. 42-4 at 30. O'Doan ignored their instructions, and "ball[ed] up both his fists and kind of [brought] his arms, his forearms, up, not at a full 90-degree angle, but he [brought] them up slightly." Id. at 31. Leavitt thei attempted to use his TASER on O'Doan, however, it malfunctioned. Id. at 32. Sanford then performed a "reverse reap throw," taking O'Doan down to the ground. Id. at 33. Sanford's written report of the incident provides that "this caused O'Doan's head to receive lacerations and swelling on it in a variety of places." ECF No. 42-11 at 10. Sanford and Leavitt handcuffed O'Doan's and placed him in Ripp leg restraints because he was actively attempting to kick officers and REMSA personnel. ECF No. 42-4 at 39. REMSA personnel were then able to sedate O'Dcan and he was transported to Renown Regional Medical Center ("Renown"). ECF No. 7 ¶¶ 19-20. On the scene, Sanford advised his supervisor, Sergeant Browitt, that "they are claiming that he was suffering from a seizure." ECF No. 42-4 at 45. O'Doan admits that he has no memory of this incident. ECF No. 42 at 3.

         Dr. Daryl Di Rocco ("Di Rocco") treated O'Doan in die emergency room at Renown and diagnosed him with having suffered from a seizure. Id. ¶ 20; ECF No. 42-12 at 8. O'Doan alleges that Di Rocco spoke with Sanford and Leavitt, and both were informed of the diagnosis. ECF No. 7 ¶ 22. Discharge papers indicate Sanford and O'Doan signed for the documents, however, Sanford does not remember doing so. ECF No. 42-4 at 51-52. Sanford also declared that "[n]either the emergency room doctor, nor anyone else at Renown, informed us that Plaintiff supposedly had a seizure or was an epileptic." ECF No. 39-7 at 4. At approximately 9:41 p.m., O'Doan was discharged from Renown into the custody of Sanford and Leavitt. ECF No. 7 ¶23. Sanford and Leavitt then arrested O'Doan for indecent exposure and resisting a police officer, and he was transported to the Washoe County Jail and booked at 11:03 p.m.. Id. ¶¶ 24, 26, 28. The following morning, at approximately 9:30 a.m., O'Doan was released on bail Id. ¶ 26.

         Sanford and Leavitt both wrote police reports following the incident; though neither mention that O'Doan is epileptic, or that he alleges he had a seizure and was in a post-ictal state at the time of the incident. ECF No. 42-11 at 8-10. The charges were later dismissed without prejudice. See ECF Nos. 42-19; 42-21.

         On May 8, 2018, O'Doan filed suit in this court alleging die following causes of action: (1) Violation of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, against the City of Reno; (2) Excessive Force in violation of the 4th and 14th Amendments, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Sanford; (3) Unlawful Seizure in violation of the 4th Amendment, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Sanford and Leavitt; (4) Violation of 14di Amendment guaranteed Due Process, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Sanford and Leavitt; (5) Assault and Battery against Sanford; and (6) False Arrest and False Imprisonment against Sanford and Leavitt. ECF Nos. 1, 7. The court's order on the pending dispositive motion now follows.


         Motion for Summary Judgment Pursuant to Civil Procedure Rule 56.

         Summary judgment is appropriate only when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, affidavits or declarations, stipulations, admissions, and other materials in the record show mat "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In assessing a motion for summary judgment, the evidence, together with all inferences mat can reasonably be drawn therefrom, must be read in the light most favorable to the party opposing me motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); County of Tuolumne v. Sonora Cmty. Hosp., 236 F.3d 1148, 1154 (9th Cir. 2001).

         The moving party bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion, along with evidence showing the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). On those issues for which it bears the burden of proof, the moving party must make a showing that is "sufficient for the court to hold that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the moving party." Calderone v. United States, 799 F.2d 254, 259 (6th Cir. 1986); see also Idema v. Dreamworks, Inc., 162 F.Supp.2d 1129, 1141 (CD. Cal. 2001).

         To successfully rebut a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must point to facts supported by the record which demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact. Reese v. Jefferson Sch. Dist. No. 14J, 208 F.3d 736 (9th Cir. 2000). A "material fact" is a fact "that might affect the outcome of the suit under die governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Where reasonable minds could differ on die material facts at issue, summary judgment is not appropriate. See v. Durang, 711 F.2d 141, 143 (9th Cir. 1983). A dispute regarding a material fact is considered genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248. The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the party's position is insufficient to establish a genuine dispute; there must be evidence on which a jury could reasonably find for me party. See Id. at 252.


         A. O'Doan has failed to establish an issue of fact exists as to whether the City of Reno violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12132.

         First, O'Doan alleges that the City of Reno failed to train, supervise, and/or discipline Sanford and Leavitt in recognizing symptoms of a disability under Title II of the, ADA. ECF No. 7 ¶ 34. While mis Circuit has no set standard for failure-to-train claims under the ADA, other courts have analyzed mese claims under me § 1983 framework. See Green v. Tri-County Metro. Transp. Dist. of Oregon,909 F.Supp.2d 1211, 1220 (D. Or. 2012). Under § 1983, the City of Reno is liable "only if its policy or custom caused the constitutional deprivation complained of." Mateyko v. Felix,924 F.2d 824, 826 (9th Cir. 1990) (citing Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs.,436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978)). "The inadequacy of police training may serve as the basis for ยง 1983 ...

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