L.M. et al v. City of Redding et al

Filing 77

ORDER signed by District Judge Morrison C. England, Jr on 11/9/2017 GRANTING IN PART and DENYING IN PART 60 Motion for Summary Judgment: Summary Judgment is DENIED as to Plaintiffs' Fourth and Sixth claims under a Monell theory of failure to t rain; Summary Judgment is DENIED as to Plaintiffs' Fourth and Sixth claims under a Monell theory of ratification; Summary Judgment is GRANTED as to Plaintiffs' Fifth and Seventh claims against Redding Chief of Police Robert Paoletti in his individual capacity. (Washington, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 L.M., et al., 12 13 14 Plaintiffs, CITY OF REDDING, et al., 19 MEMORANDUM AND ORDER Defendants. S.M-B., et al., 17 18 (Consolidated Case) v. 15 16 No. 2:14-cv-00767-MCE-AC Plaintiffs, v. CITY OF REDDING, et al., 20 Defendants. 21 22 Through this consolidated action Plaintiffs L.M., a minor by and through her 23 guardian ad litem Ashley McCain; Carol Adams individually; and S.M-B., a minor by and 24 through his guardian ad litem Dawn Bianco, (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) 1 seek redress from 25 Defendants City of Redding, Chief Robert F. Paoletti, Corporal Chris Jacoby, Officers 26 1 27 28 Originally filed separately, the case of L.M. and Carol Adams was later consolidated with the case of S.M-B., with the separate complaints being referred to by the parties as the McCain and Bianco complaints. Plaintiffs L.M. and S.M-B. are Decedent’s five-year old children. Carol Adams is the Decedent’s mother. 1 1 Jared Hebert, Wes Townsley, Brandon Largent, Becky Zufall, and Does 1-10 2 (collectively “Defendants”) for the death of Steven Motley (“Decedent”). Presently before 3 the Court is Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, seeking adjudication of four of 4 the causes of action in this consolidated proceeding.2 Defs.’ Mot., ECF No. 60. 5 Defendants move for summary judgment on grounds Plaintiffs cannot show their injury 6 was caused by an official policy of the City of Redding, and therefore cannot establish 7 municipal liability against the City of Redding for unconstitutional customs or policies 8 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Additionally, Defendants assert that Plaintiffs fail to show any 9 act or omission by Chief Paoletti as an individual that caused any deprivation of 10 Plaintiffs’ civil rights. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants’ motion is GRANTED 11 in part and DENIED in part.3 12 13 BACKGROUND4 14 15 On October 5, 2013, Redding Police Officer Jared Hebert observed Decedent 16 driving what Officer Hebert believed was a stolen vehicle. A high speed chase ensued. 17 Ultimately, Decedent crashed the GMC pickup he was operating and attempted to run 18 from the scene. Officer Hebert exited his patrol vehicle and pursued Decedent on foot 19 through a residential neighborhood. While being pursued, Decedent circled back to the 20 unmanned patrol vehicle, got in the driver seat, and drove away. Decedent only drove 21 the police vehicle a short distance before abandoning it and fleeing once again on foot. 22 As Officer Townsley arrived on scene, he saw Decedent fleeing the area and followed 23 on foot. 24 25 26 27 2 Defendants are seeking adjudication of the fourth and fifth claims of the McCain complaint and the sixth and seventh claims of the Bianco complaint. 3 Having determined that oral argument would not be of material assistance, the Court ordered this matter submitted on the briefs in accordance with E.D. Local Rule 230(g). 4 28 Unless specifically stated, the following recitation of facts is taken, sometimes verbatim, from Plaintiffs’ Opposition. ECF No. 68, at 2-5. 2 1 After observing Decedent in a residential backyard, Officer Townsley jumped the 2 fence and confronted him. When Decedent attempted to run, Officer Townsley deployed 3 his Taser and was able to stun Decedent momentarily to the ground. Townsley Depo., 4 ECF No. 61-3, at 28:7-29:17. Decedent proceeded to disengage the Taser probes from 5 his arm. Id. As Decedent was preparing to get up, Officer Townsley drove a knee into 6 his back, keeping him on the ground chest-down. Id. at 29:22-30:5. After failing to 7 subdue Decedent through several pain compliance techniques, Officer Townsley 8 testified that he positioned himself on top of the Decedent in a “mounted” position with 9 Decedent facing him, and struck Decedent several times in the jaw. Id. at 34:16-22. 10 After successfully stunning Decedent, Officer Townsley was able to turn him over onto 11 his chest and employ a carotid restraint, which briefly rendered Decedent unconscious. 12 Id. at 34:22-25. 13 While Decedent was momentarily unconscious, Officer Townsley was able to 14 throw to the side a knife that had been in a sheath, hanging from Decedent’s waistband.5 15 Id. at 22:20-23:7. However, before Officer Townsley was able to handcuff Decedent, he 16 regained consciousness and continued to resist being detained. Id. at 23:1-4. Officer 17 Townsley testified that during the ensuing struggle he used verbal commands, a Taser, 18 multiple control holds, strikes when the control holds failed, and a carotid restraint, all in 19 an attempt to detain the Decedent. Id. at 14:13-22. Until additional law enforcement 20 officers arrived to assist, Officer Townsley used his whole body weight to keep Decedent 21 face-down on the ground with the officer’s hand close to the back of Decedent’s head. 22 Id. at 43:11-45:2. 23 Multiple backup officers then descended on the scene. Upon arrival, Officer 24 Largent struck Decedent’s right arm five to seven times with his baton, while Officer 25 26 27 28 5 Because Decedent had access to a patrol vehicle containing firearms, there was initially concern he had weapons in his possession. There was no radio transmission to that effect, however. Largent Depo., ECF No. 62, at 28:2-30:1. While officers stated they saw a sheath and feared the presence of a weapon, other than Officer Townsley (who had taken the knife from the sheath while Decedent was unconscious), officers stated they never saw Decedent in possession of a weapon during the incident. Id. at 25:18-26:17; Zufall Depo., ECF No. 62-1, at 11:14-24. 3 1 Townsley was still “mounted” on top of Decedent’s back. Largent Depo., ECF No. 62, at 2 16:14-17:25. At approximately the same time, Corporal Jacoby struck Decedent twice in 3 the right forearm area with his baton. Jacoby Depo., ECF No. 63, at 10:2-23. At one 4 point, Officer Porter was also on the Decedent’s back attempting to restrain him and 5 place him in handcuffs. Zufall Depo., ECF No. 62-1, at 18:1-10. 6 After finally succeeding in handcuffing Decedent, officers observed that his right 7 arm appeared to be fractured. Townsley Depo., ECF No. 61-3, at 52:23-53:6; Largent 8 Depo., ECF No. 62, at 33:4-34:23. They then used their radio to broadcast that the 9 Decedent had been detained and to request medical help due to his broken arm. 10 Jacoby Depo., ECF No. 63, at 27:10-16. Additionally, a hobble restraint was requested 11 and retrieved in an attempt to further control Decedent. Largent Depo., ECF No. 62, at 12 46:1-4; Jacoby Depo., ECF No. 63, at 29:8-31:3. 13 While multiple officers were attempting to restrain Decedent’s upper body, 14 additional officers were endeavoring to restrain his lower body. Officer Zufall struggled 15 to control Decedent’s legs using her body weight, and when that proved unsuccessful, 16 she struck his legs three or four times with her baton. Id. at 14:6-25. After Decedent 17 was handcuffed, both Officer Zufall and Officer Smyrnos attempted to control Decedent’s 18 legs by bending one foot behind a knee and then folding the leg up into a figure four 19 position, pressing Decedent’s legs towards his buttocks. Zufall Depo., ECF No. 62-1, at 20 21:14-22:2. 21 As Decedent was being subsequently searched, Officers Largent and Zufall 22 observed his face change color. Largent Depo., ECF No. 62, at 43:15-45:14, 68:13- 23 71:24; Zufall Depo., ECF No. 62-1, at 25:4-18. Decedent then went limp and became 24 unresponsive, at which point his legs were released and allowed to extend, and he was 25 moved from the prone position to a side position. Jacoby Depo., ECF No. 63, at 31:22- 26 37:21. 27 28 Officer Largent testified that he checked for a pulse on Decedent’s carotid while Decedent was still chest down on the ground. Largent Depo., ECF No. 62, at 71:254 1 75:13. Officer Largent felt a heartbeat and observed that Decedent was still breathing. 2 Id. at 72:16-75:13. The officers requested that an ambulance be dispatched as soon as 3 possible, and proceeded to move Decedent, using a so-called “fireman’s carry,” closer to 4 where medical personnel could quickly reach him. Id. at 75:18-77:10; Jacoby Depo., 5 ECF No. 63, at 33:21-35:20. Decedent was then placed on his side in a rescue posture 6 and Officer Largent again felt a pulse on Decedent’s carotid. Largent Depo., ECF 7 No. 62, at 77:11-78:2. At a point when Officer Largent no longer felt a pulse, he started 8 chest compressions until he was able to regain a pulse, and testified that he heard a 9 loud, verbal exhale sound from the Decedent. Id. at 79:14-80:22. When the paramedics 10 arrived Decedent was not breathing and did not have a pulse. Id. at 80:23-81:4. 11 Decedent was initially transported by ambulance to a local hospital and then later by air 12 ambulance to an out of area hospital. 13 Three days later, on October 8, 2013, Steven Motley succumbed to his injuries 14 and died without ever regaining consciousness.6 The cause of death was listed as 15 cardiopulmonary arrest during a violent struggle with police. Decedent’s death was 16 further attributed to so-called “excited delirium” given the fact the he was determined to 17 be under the influence of methamphetamine.7 Josselson Depo., ECF No. 63-1, at 14:8- 18 15:10. A subsequent examination completed by a forensic pathologist retained by the 19 District Attorney’s Office during their review of the incident, however, found no evidence 20 of a stimulant-induced excited delirium. Instead, the forensic pathologist opined that the 21 cause of death was a cardiopulmonary arrest during a violent struggle with law 22 /// 23 /// 24 /// 25 26 27 6 During the course of an autopsy, the medical examiner found numerous injuries to the Decedent including two scalp lacerations, large scalp contusions, a small subdural hemorrhage of the brain, a bilateral intercostal muscle hemorrhage, left rib fractures, a fracture of the right radius, a fracture of the right ulna, and a fracture of the left fibula. Josselson Depo., ECF No. 63-1, at Ex. 1. 7 28 The autopsy revealed Decedent had methamphetamine in his system at the low end of a potentially toxic level. Josselson Depo., ECF No. 63-1, at 13:8-24. 5 1 enforcement that resulted in multiple blunt force traumas.8 Id. at Ex. 2. The District 2 Attorney’s pathologist also stated that asphyxia was potentially a contributing factor. Id. 3 Even the Plaintiffs’ expert, contrary to the findings of the initial autopsy report, believed 4 that Decedent likely lost consciousness due to restraint asphyxia, with fatal compression 5 asphyxia thereafter occurring when Decedent was restrained by officers in a prone 6 position with weighted pressure. O’Halloran Decl., ECF No. 68-2, at ¶¶ 6-14. 7 8 STANDARD 9 10 The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for summary judgment when “the 11 movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is 12 entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. 13 Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). One of the principal purposes of Rule 56 is to 14 dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. 15 Rule 56 also allows a court to grant summary judgment on part of a claim or 16 defense, known as partial summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a) (“A party may 17 move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense—or the part of each 18 claim or defense—on which summary judgment is sought.”); see also Allstate Ins. Co. v. 19 Madan, 889 F. Supp. 374, 378-79 (C.D. Cal. 1995). The standard that applies to a 20 motion for partial summary judgment is the same as that which applies to a motion for 21 summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); State of Cal. ex rel. Cal. Dep’t of Toxic 22 Substances Control v. Campbell, 138 F.3d 772, 780 (9th Cir. 1998) (applying summary 23 judgment standard to motion for summary adjudication). 24 /// 25 26 27 28 8 Pursuant to critical incident protocol, both the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office independently investigated the incident. Pls.’ SSUF, ECF No. 68-1, at ¶¶ 912. The District Attorney’s Office issued findings that raised questions about the use of force by the officers who used baton strikes in an effort to subdue Decedent, but concluded that, given the chaotic circumstances confronting the officers, there was no basis to second-guess the officers’ use of force. Accordingly, the District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges. Id. at ¶ 12. 6 1 In a summary judgment motion, the moving party always bears the initial 2 responsibility of informing the court of the basis for the motion and identifying the 3 portions in the record “which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of 4 material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. If the moving party meets its initial 5 responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine 6 issue as to any material fact actually does exist. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith 7 Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); First Nat’l Bank v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 8 253, 288-89 (1968). 9 In attempting to establish the existence or non-existence of a genuine factual 10 dispute, the party must support its assertion by “citing to particular parts of materials in 11 the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, 12 affidavits[,] or declarations . . . or other materials; or showing that the materials cited do 13 not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party 14 cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). The 15 opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that 16 might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 17 Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 251-52 (1986); Owens v. Local No. 169, Assoc. of W. Pulp and 18 Paper Workers, 971 F.2d 347, 355 (9th Cir. 1987). The opposing party must also 19 demonstrate that the dispute about a material fact “is ‘genuine,’ that is, if the evidence is 20 such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 21 477 U.S. at 248. In other words, the judge needs to answer the preliminary question 22 before the evidence is left to the jury of “not whether there is literally no evidence, but 23 whether there is any upon which a jury could properly proceed to find a verdict for the 24 party producing it, upon whom the onus of proof is imposed.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251 25 (quoting Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. 442, 448 (1871)) (emphasis in original). 26 As the Supreme Court explained, “[w]hen the moving party has carried its burden under 27 Rule [56(a)], its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some 28 metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. Therefore, 7 1 “[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the 2 nonmoving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for trial.’” Id. 87. 3 In resolving a summary judgment motion, the evidence of the opposing party is to 4 be believed, and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed 5 before the court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 6 255. Nevertheless, inferences are not drawn out of the air, and it is the opposing party’s 7 obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. 8 Richards v. Nielsen Freight Lines, 602 F. Supp. 1224, 1244-45 (E.D. Cal. 1985), aff’d, 9 810 F.2d 898 (9th Cir. 1987). 10 11 ANALYSIS 12 13 A. 14 A municipality may only be liable where it individually causes a constitutional Municipal Liability 15 violation via “execution of a government’s policy or custom, whether by its lawmakers or 16 by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent them.” Monell v. Dept. of 17 Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978); Ulrich v. City & County of San Francisco, 18 308 F.3d 968, 984 (9th Cir. 2002). Municipal liability under Monell can arise three ways: 19 (1) [W]hen official policies or established customs inflict a constitutional injury; (2) when omissions or failures to act amount to a local government policy of deliberate indifference to constitutional rights; or (3) when a local government official with final policy-making authority ratifies a subordinate’s unconstitutional conduct. 20 21 22 23 Rodelo v. City of Tulare, No. 1:15-cv-1675-KJM-BAM, 2016 WL 561520, at *3 (E.D. Cal. 24 Feb. 12, 2016). After proving that one of the circumstances exists, a plaintiff must also 25 show that the municipality’s action was the cause of the constitutional deprivation. 26 Trevino v. Gates, 99 F.3d 911, 918 (9th Cir. 1996). Here, Plaintiffs assert a Monell claim 27 under two separate theories: (1) the municipality’s failure to train amounts to deliberate 28 indifference; and (2) ratification of unconstitutional conduct. 8 1 1. Failure to Train 2 A municipality’s failure to train its employees may create § 1983 liability where the 3 “failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to the rights of persons with whom the 4 police come into contact.” Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 61 (2011); City of 5 Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989). Additionally, “it may happen that in light of 6 the duties assigned to specific officers or employees the need for more or different 7 training is so obvious, and the inadequacy so likely to result in the violation of 8 constitutional rights, that the policymakers of the city can reasonably be said to have 9 been deliberately indifferent to the need.” City of Canton at 390; see also Cloutheir v. 10 County of Contra Costa, 591 F.3d 1232, 1249 (9th Cir. 2010). Generally, in order to prove deliberate indifference under circumstances like those 11 12 present here, plaintiffs must demonstrate “a pattern of similar constitutional violations by 13 untrained employees.” Connick, 563 U.S. at 62 (citing Board of the County Comm’rs v. 14 Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 409 (1997)). The Supreme Court nonetheless has recognized that 15 even a “single incident” of indifference can, if egregious enough, substitute for the 16 pattern of violations ordinarily necessary to establish municipal liability.” Connick, at 63. 17 The Court further explained that the “single-incident” theory represents the Supreme 18 Court’s refusal to “foreclose upon the possibility” that when a failure to train is so patently 19 obvious, a single constitutional violation will suffice to give rise to municipal liability under 20 § 1983. Id. at 64. However, the Court took care to note that only “in a narrow range of 21 circumstances” might it be unnecessary to demonstrate a pattern of similar violations. 22 Id. at 63 (quoting Board of the County, 520 U.S. at 409). A violation under such 23 circumstances must be a “highly predictable consequence” of a failure to train. Id. By 24 way of example, “the Court theorized that a city’s decision not to train officers about 25 constitutional limits in the use of deadly force could reflect the city’s deliberate 26 indifference to the ‘highly predictable consequence,’ namely, violations of constitutional 27 rights. Id. (quoting Board of the County, 520 U.S. at 409). 28 /// 9 1 In this case, Plaintiffs allege a deficiency of training by the City of Redding Police 2 Department pertaining to the acceptable use of force, specifically the failure to train in 3 the proper application of restraint techniques. Pls.’ Opp’n, ECF No. 68, at 8. Plaintiffs 4 assert that applying proper restraints is a fundamental law enforcement task that 5 requires training, especially due to the potential health risks that are associated with 6 improper restraints. Id. Plaintiffs further allege that the restraint techniques used against 7 Decedent were unreasonable due to the numerous baton strikes by multiple officers that 8 resulted in several broken bones, the additional leg restraints by officers, and the risk of 9 asphyxia occasioned by the fact that restraints were employed while Decedent was in a 10 prone position with the weight of multiple officers’ pressing upon his body. Id. at 9. 11 In response, Defendants assert that they meet and exceed so-called POST 12 standards9 in all areas, including the proper use of force. Defs.’ Reply, ECF No. 70 at 2. 13 According to the City, each of the officers involved in the subject incident passed a 14 POST certified police academy prior to beginning their career as police officers, and the 15 City maintains it provides training to its officers in all aspects of law enforcement that 16 meets or exceeds POST standards, including use of force, response to critical incident 17 circumstances, and the provision of reasonable and necessary medical care. See Defs.’ 18 Mot., ECF No. 60 at 7. Defendants further assert Plaintiffs misrepresent the record as to 19 how Decedent’s restraints were accomplished. See Defs.’ Reply at 3, 5. 20 In this case, disputed facts preclude the entry of summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ 21 allegations of a failure to train. These factual issues, which bear on whether the officers 22 in fact received proper training, include but are not limited to: (1) whether the amount of 23 resistance officers faced while attempting to detain Decedent warranted the amount of 24 force utilized and types of restraints employed; (2) whether multiple officers utilized their 25 body weight on Decedent’s torso while he was in a prone position; (3) the length of time 26 Decedent was restrained in a prone position and whether and how that may have 27 28 9 The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (“POST”) sets standards for the basic and continued training of peace officers, and certifies local law-enforcement agencies and their officers as being in compliance with those standards. See Defs.’ Ex. B, ECF No. 63-2. 10 1 resulted in his subsequent death; (4) the effect of the figure four restraint on Decedent’s 2 legs while he was in the prone position; and (5) whether the cause of death was 3 attributable to excited delirium and/or improper restraints. 4 Given these disputed factual issues, the Court cannot rule out a conclusion that 5 the City’s failure to train its officers in proper restraint methods was so obviously deficient 6 that municipal liability could stem from the single constitutional deprivation presently at 7 issue. Therefore, Defendants’ Motion is DENIED as to Plaintiffs’ Monell claim alleging 8 the City’s failure to train. 9 2. Ratification 10 Failure by a city to discipline a particular officer is insufficient by itself to 11 demonstrate the city’s ratification of that officer’s conduct. See Haugen v. Brosseau, 12 351 F.3d 372, 393 (9th. Cir. 2003). There must be something more. In Larez v. City of 13 L.A., 946 F.2d 630 (9th Cir. 1991), for example, the court held there was sufficient 14 evidence to support a jury finding that the chief of police ratified the excessive use of 15 force against the plaintiffs when he unquestioningly accepted the findings of an 16 investigation that had been conducted by the agency responsible for the alleged 17 constitutional violation, despite the fact that said investigation contained gaps and 18 inconsistencies. If sufficient facts have been alleged, ratification becomes a question for 19 the jury. See Christie v. Iopa, 176 F.3d 1231, 1238-9 (9th Cir. 1999); Fuller v. City of 20 Oakland, 47 F.3d 1522, 1534 (9th Cir. 1995). 21 In support of their ratification theory, Plaintiffs allege the City did not take steps to 22 change any policy or train its staff in the proper arrest and control procedures after the 23 incident at issue here. Pls.’ Opp’n, ECF No. 68, at 10. Plaintiffs point to numerous 24 failings in that regard. Id. They assert the City ignored the finding of the District 25 Attorney’s forensic pathologist that asphyxia was potentially a contributing factor, failed 26 to recognize the egregiousness of the violations of POST training with respect to the 27 restraint and positional asphyxia of Decedent, and failed to take disciplinary measures or 28 mandate follow up training for the officers involved in the incident. Id. at 10-13. Plaintiffs 11 1 contend that these actions by the City, coupled with conduct that was so outrageous a 2 reasonable administrator should have known action was required, indicate a systemic, 3 organizational, cultural pattern and practice thereby ratifying officers’ excessive and 4 unnecessary force. Id. 5 Defendants assert Plaintiffs’ ratification theory is premised on mere allegations of 6 the City’s ostensible failure to discipline the officers involved, and is not factually 7 supported. Defs.’ Reply, ECF No. 70, at 6. Defendants state that any concerns based 8 upon the findings of the District Attorney’s Office are an after-the-fact observation of a 9 single incident and not indicative of any municipal policy. Defs.’ MSJ, ECF No. 60, at 11. 10 Further, Defendants point out that additional training on excited delirium was initiated by 11 the police department after the incident with Decedent. Id. 12 As detailed above, numerous factual disputes surround the issue of whether or 13 not the City may have ratified the officers’ actions. Given those disputes, the Court finds 14 that a rational juror could find that the City’s failure to train, re-train, or discipline the law 15 enforcement officers after the incident in question could rise to the level of ratification 16 sufficient to support liability by the City for Steven Motley’s death. In this Court’s 17 estimation, questions of material fact have been raised as to whether steps should have 18 been taken to train, re-train, or discipline officers involved in the altercation with 19 Decedent. Further, the conflicting expert opinions on the causes of death, particularly 20 when coupled with the District Attorney’s findings as to the propriety of force associated 21 with the officers’ baton strikes, as well as the potential of restraint asphyxia relating to 22 Steven Motley’s death, all could lead a reasonable juror to find that by not taking action 23 concerning the training of restraints and baton strikes after the altercation with Decedent, 24 the City was essentially ratifying the officers’ use of force. Therefore, Defendants’ 25 Motion is DENIED as to Plaintiffs’ claim under a Monell theory of ratification. 26 B. 27 “Liability is imposed against a supervisory official in his individual capacity for his 28 Individual Liability own culpable action or inaction in the training, supervision, or control of his subordinates, 12 1 for his acquiescence in the constitutional deprivations of which the complaint is made, or 2 for conduct that showed a reckless or callous indifference to the rights of others.” 3 Johnson v. City of Vallejo, 99 F. Supp. 3d 1212, 1219 (E.D. Cal. 2015) (quoting 4 Menotti v. City of Seattle, 409 F.3d 1113, 1149 (9th Cir. 2005)). A suit against a 5 governmental official in his official capacity, on the other hand, is equivalent to a suit 6 against the entity itself and hence is superfluous where, as here, the entity has been 7 sued. Larez v. City of Los Angeles, 946 F.2d at 646. 8 While respondeat superior liability does not attach to a § 1983 claim, “a supervisor 9 is liable for the acts of his subordinates ‘if the supervisor participated in or directed the 10 violations, or knew of the violation [of subordinates] and failed to act to prevent them.’” 11 Preschooler II v. Clark County Sch. Bd. of Trs., 479 F.3d 1175, 1182 (9th Cir. 2007) 12 (quoting Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989)). “The requisite causal 13 connection may be established when an official sets in motion a ‘series of acts by others 14 which the actor knows or reasonably should know would cause others to inflict 15 constitutional harms.” Johnson, 99 F. Supp. at 1219 (quoting Johnson v. Duffy, 16 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978). 17 Plaintiffs allege Chief Paoletti, both in his official and individual capacities, was 18 responsible for the constitutional deprivations that befell Decedent because he 19 condoned, ratified, and encouraged the excessive force utilized by the Defendant 20 officers. Pls.’ Opp’n, ECF No. 68 at 14. The Court agrees with Defendants, however, 21 that the only real claims against Chief Paoletti are being asserted in his individual 22 capacity, since any official capacity claims are subsumed by the City’s inclusion in this 23 lawsuit. With that understanding, the Court only addresses Plaintiffs’ claim against Chief 24 Paoletti in his individual capacity. 25 Defendants assert that Plaintiffs have failed to offer facts establishing that Chief 26 Paoletti knew of any purported pattern of citizen complaints sufficient to establish 27 individual liability, or establishing any violation of Plaintiffs’ federal civil rights attributable 28 to Chief Paoletti’s individual acts or omissions. Defs.’ Mot., ECF No. 60, at 2, 13. 13 1 The Court agrees and finds that there has been no evidence brought forth by 2 Plaintiffs indicating that Chief Paoletti had any individual role in this incident that would 3 take his liability beyond that entailed by his official capacity. Accordingly, Defendants’ 4 Motion is GRANTED as to Plaintiffs’ claim against Chief Paoletti in his individual 5 capacity. 6 7 CONCLUSION 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 For the reasons set forth above, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 60, is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as follows: 1. Summary Judgment is DENIED as to Plaintiffs’ Fourth (McCain Complaint) and Sixth (Bianco Complaint) claims under a Monell theory of failure to train. 2. Summary Judgment is DENIED as to Plaintiffs’ Fourth (McCain Complaint) and Sixth (Bianco Complaint) claims under a Monell theory of ratification. 3. Summary Judgment is GRANTED as to Plaintiffs’ Fifth (McCain Complaint) 16 and Seventh (Bianco Complaint) claims against Redding Chief of Police Robert Paoletti 17 in his individual capacity. 18 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: November 9, 2017 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 14

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