Myers et al v. City and County of San Francisco et al

Filing 146

ORDER by Judge Maria-Elena James denying without prejudice 96 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment; denying 134 Motion to waive joint statement requirement; denying 143 Motion to Strike (cdnS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/2/2012)

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1 2 3 4 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 SHAWN MYERS, et al., 8 9 10 ORDER RE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND JOINT STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS Plaintiffs, vs. CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, et al., Defendants. 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 No. C 08-1163 MEJ Re: Docket Nos. 96, 134, 143 / 13 14 On January 26, 2012, Defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment. Dkt. No. 96. 15 In their opposition, Plaintiffs objected that Defendants’ motion failed to comply with this Court’s 16 Standing Order and Civil Local Rule 56-2(b), which require a party moving for summary judgment 17 to meet and confer with the opposing party and file a joint statement of undisputed facts along with 18 their motion. Dkt. No. 127 at 1. Defendants then filed an administrative motion that acknowledged 19 their error and asked the Court to waive the requirement for a joint statement in this case. Dkt. No. 20 134. Plaintiffs have opposed this request and seek sanctions against Defendants for their conduct. 21 Dkt. No. 137. 22 Plaintiffs’ request for sanctions is DENIED. This request is procedurally improper because 23 it fails to comply with Civil Local Rule 7-8’s requirement for seeking sanctions. Moreover, the 24 Court finds that there is no need to sanction Defendants for what appears to be an innocent error that 25 can be corrected. 26 The lack of a joint statement, however, is problematic for the Court’s evaluation of 27 Defendants’ motion. Many of the claims challenged by Defendants require the Court to evaluate 28 whether the conduct of the police officers involved was reasonable. This means that the Court must 1 determine which facts concerning Plaintiffs’ arrests are material and undisputed. As Defendants 2 themselves concede, this matter contains “a tedious factual background” with many “percipient 3 witnesses.” Dkt. No. 134 at 2. Defendants’ omission of a joint statement essentially shifts the 4 burden of sorting through the record in this case from the attorneys of record to the Court. The 5 Court declines to accept this burden. While it is mindful that requiring the parties to meet and 6 confer and develop a joint statement — and then resubmit their briefs based on this joint statement 7 — will increase the amount of time spent and fees incurred by the attorneys, it will also, as 8 Plaintiffs explain, “narrow the issues of actual contention, and likely, [] educate both sides regarding 9 the summary judgment motion such that the Court is not presented a ‘kitchen-sink’ motion challenging issues and causes of action which clearly survive or clearly fail in summary judgment.” 11 Dkt. No. 137 at 3. 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 To provide the parties with an example of why a joint statement is needed and to guide them 13 in the preparation of such a statement, the Court notes the following. It appears that one of the key 14 issues in Defendants’ motion is whether Shawn Myers’ hands were in his coat pockets when Officer 15 Jesse Serna approached him. Because the parties have not submitted a joint statement, the Court is 16 forced to review the deposition testimony of Shawn Myers, Sarah Myers, and Jamal Jackson to 17 determine if this fact is disputed, particularly because Plaintiffs’ opposition does not directly address 18 it. A better approach, and one that does not compel the Court to comb through the voluminous 19 record in this case, is for the parties to meet and confer on this issue. If either of the parties fails to 20 meet and confer in good faith, or contend that a fact is in dispute without any substantial 21 justification, this may be grounds for sanctions. 22 Many of the current factual disputes between the parties may also be resolved through a 23 productive meet and confer session. Because the Court is required to evaluate the evidence on 24 summary judgment in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Defendants may wish to limit 25 the amount of disputed factual issues by adopting, for the limited purposes of their summary 26 27 28 2 1 judgment motion, facts that this Court will eventually have to view in the Plaintiffs’ favor.1 If 2 Defendants wish to provide additional material facts so that the Court has some context as to what 3 transpired, it can provide these in a separate statement of disputed facts. Furthermore, meeting and 4 conferring may allow the parties to reach an agreement that certain testimony is undisputed so that 5 the Court is not required to examine this issue.2 6 For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment is DENIED 7 WITHOUT PREJUDICE. If Defendants wish to refile a motion for partial summary judgment on 8 the same claims, or on fewer claims, they must do so before March 28, 2012. Any motion must 9 comply with this Court’s Standing Order and include a joint statement of undisputed facts. 10 Dated: March 2, 2012 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 IT IS SO ORDERED. MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 For instance, rather than arguing that Shawn Myers challenged Officer Serna by saying “you’re going to have to shoot me, motherfucker,” Defendants may wish to adopt for the purposes of this motion that Myers only asked Officer Serna if he “was going to shoot me in front of all these witnesses.” 2 For instance, Plaintiffs are not required to concede that Shawn Myers’ hands were in his coat pockets if that was not the case, but they can admit that at one point in his deposition he testified that he believed his hands were in the pockets of his jacket. 3

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