Johnson v. State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety
ORDER GRANTING FRANCIS SEQUEIRA'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 13 ) - Signed by JUDGE HELEN GILLMOR on 6/9/2017. "Defendant Sequeira's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 13) is GRANTED. The case and all files herein are REMANDED to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii for further proceedings." (emt, )CERTIFICATE OF SERVICEParticipants registered to receive electronic no tifications received this document electronically at the e-mail address listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF). Participants not registered to receive electronic notifications were served by first class mail on the date of this docket entry
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF HAWAII
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY;
STATE OF HAWAII; FRANCIS
SEQUERIA, Individually; JOHN
DOES 1-10; JANE DOES 1-10; DOE )
CORPORATIONS 1-10; DOE
PARTNERSHIPS 1-10; DOE
1-10; DOE GOVERNMENTAL
CIV. NO. 16-00348 HG-KSC
ORDER GRANTING FRANCIS SEQUEIRA’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
(ECF No. 13)
Plaintiff Jacob Johnson claims that in April 2013, a
state court judge sentenced him to a term of imprisonment of
Plaintiff asserts that he was detained for more
than four months and was not released until August 2013, in
violation of the state court judge’s order.
Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint alleges federal
constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Defendant Francis Sequeira, the Warden of Oahu Community
Correctional Center, in his individual capacity.
Plaintiff also alleges state law tort claims against
Defendant Francis Sequeira filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment as to Plaintiff’s claims against him.
Defendant Sequeira argues that he is not liable for
Plaintiff Johnson’s Section 1983 claim because he was not
personally involved in Plaintiff’s detention or release.
Defendant Sequeira argues that he is entitled to
conditional privilege as to Plaintiff’s state law claims
Defendant Francis Sequeira’s Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 13) is GRANTED.
The only remaining claims are Plaintiff’s state law tort
claims stated against the Defendant Hawaii Department of
Public Safety and the Defendant State of Hawaii.
The case is REMANDED to the Circuit Court of the First
Circuit, State of Hawaii.
On May 20, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended
Complaint in Hawaii State Court.
(Second Amended Complaint
attached as Ex. A to Defendants’ Notice of Removal, ECF No. 12).
On June 27, 2016, Defendants Department of Public Safety,
State of Hawaii, and Francis Sequeira filed a Notice of
Removal in the United States District Court for the District
(ECF No. 1).
On April 6, 2017, Defendant Francis Sequeria filed
DEFENDANT FRANCIS SEQUEIRA’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT and
CONCISE STATEMENT MATERIAL FACTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR
(ECF Nos. 13, 14).
On May 4, 2017, Plaintiff filed PLAINTIFF’S MEMORANDUM IN
OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT FRANCIS SEQUERIA’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT and CONCISE STATEMENT OF FACTS.
(ECF Nos. 16, 17).
On May 18, 2017, Defendant Francis Sequeira filed a
(ECF No. 19).
On June 8, 2017, the Court held a hearing on Defendant
Francis Sequeira’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
The Court GRANTED the Motion.
(ECF No. 23).
The reasons for the decision
are set forth in this Order.
Plaintiff states in his Declaration that on March 28,
2013, he turned himself in to his Probation Officer for
violating the terms of his probation set by a Hawaii State
(Declaration of Jacob Johnson (“Johnson Decl.”)
at ¶ 3, attached to Pla.’s Concise Statement of Facts (“CSF”)
in Opposition, ECF No. 17-1).
Plaintiff was taken to Oahu Community Correctional Center
to await a hearing before the Hawaii State Court Judge.
at ¶ 4).
On April 2, 2013, Plaintiff appeared before Hawaii State
Court Judge Alm.
(Id. at ¶ 5).
Plaintiff was sentenced to
five days of imprisonment, which was the equivalent of time
served, as he had been incarcerated from March 28, 2013 to
April 2, 2013.
Judge Alm ordered Plaintiff to be
Plaintiff was not immediately released.
back to Oahu Community Correctional Center.
He was taken
(Id. at ¶¶ 6, 7).
Plaintiff complained to his case manager, the Hawaii
State Public Defenders’ Office, and the Prosecutor’s Office
that he was being detained despite having already served his
(Id. at ¶¶ 10-11).
Plaintiff was released from Oahu Community Correctional
Center on August 7, 2013, approximately four months after he
(Id. at ¶¶ 12, 13).
Defendant Francis Sequeira is the Warden of Oahu
Community Correctional Center.
(Declaration of Francis
Sequeira (“Sequeira Decl.”), attached to Def.’s Concise
Statement of Facts (“CSF”), ECF No. 14-3).
has served in the position as Warden at Oahu Community
Correctional Center since 2009.
In his role as Warden, Defendant Sequeira is not involved
in calculating the sentences of inmates or processing the
release of inmates at Oahu Community Correctional Center.
(Id. at ¶ 4).
Defendant Sequeira had no personal involvement with
Plaintiff Johnson’s detention at Oahu Community Correctional
Center, or in his release in August 2013.
(Id. at ¶¶ 5, 6).
Defendant Sequeira had no interaction with Plaintiff Johnson
while he was an inmate at Oahu Community Correctional Center
between March and August 2013.
(Id. ¶¶ 5, 6).
Defendant Sequeira stated in his Declaration that he
never at any time had any malice or ill-will toward Plaintiff.
(Id. at ¶ 7).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).
defeat summary judgment there must be sufficient evidence that
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party. Nidds v. Schindler Elevator Corp., 113 F.3d 912, 916
(9th Cir. 1997).
The moving party has the initial burden of “identifying
for the court the portions of the materials on file that it
believes demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of
material fact.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec.
Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987) (citing
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)).
moving party, however, has no burden to negate or disprove
matters on which the opponent will have the burden of proof at
The moving party need not produce any evidence at all
on matters for which it does not have the burden of proof.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325.
The moving party must show,
however, that there is no genuine issue of material fact and
that he or she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
That burden is met by pointing out to the district court that
there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving
If the moving party meets its burden, then the opposing
party may not defeat a motion for summary judgment in the
absence of probative evidence tending to support its legal
theory. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. Savage, 611 F.2d
270, 282 (9th Cir. 1979).
The opposing party must present
admissible evidence showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Brinson v. Linda Rose Joint
Venture, 53 F.3d 1044, 1049 (9th Cir. 1995).
“If the evidence
is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative,
summary judgment may be granted.” Nidds, 113 F.3d at 916
(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50
The court views the facts in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party.
State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v.
Martin, 872 F.2d 319, 320 (9th Cir. 1989).
evidence may consist of declarations, admissions, evidence
obtained through discovery, and matters judicially noticed.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56©; Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324.
party cannot, however, stand on its pleadings or simply assert
that it will be able to discredit the movant’s evidence at
trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); T.W. Elec. Serv., 809 F.2d at
The opposing party cannot rest on mere allegations or
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Gasaway v. Northwestern Mut.
Life Ins. Co., 26 F.3d 957, 959-60 (9th Cir. 1994).
non-moving party relies only on its own affidavits to oppose
summary judgment, it cannot rely on conclusory allegations
unsupported by factual data to create an issue of material
Hansen v. United States, 7 F.3d 137, 138 (9th Cir.
1993); see also National Steel Corp. v. Golden Eagle Ins. Co.,
121 F.3d 496, 502 (9th Cir. 1997).
Plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claim Against Defendant
A plaintiff may challenge actions by government officials
that violate the United States Constitution, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983.
Section 1983 provides:
Every person who, under color of any statute,
ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage ...
subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of
the United States ... to deprivation of any rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party
injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or
other proper proceeding for redress....
42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Section 1983 does not create any
Cholla Ready Mix, Inc. v. Civish, 382
F.3d 969, 978 (9th Cir. 2004).
To prevail on a Section 1983 claim, a plaintiff must
establish that a right secured by the Constitution or law of
the United States was violated and that the violation was
committed by a person acting under the color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
A person deprives another of a constitutional right,
within the meaning of Section 1983, if he does an affirmative
act, participates in another’s affirmative acts, or omits to
perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes
the deprivation of which the plaintiff complains.
Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 633 (9th Cir. 1988).
There Is No Section 1983 Liability Based On
Respondeat Superior Or Vicarious Liability Theories
Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint brings a Section
1983 claim against Defendant Francis Sequeira in his
(Second Amended Complaint at pp. 1, 4-
5, ECF No. 1-2).
Defendant Sequeira was the Warden of Oahu Community
Correctional Center when Plaintiff was a detainee in 2013.
Plaintiff may not proceed on his Section 1983 claim against
Defendant Sequeira solely on allegations that one of Defendant
Sequeira’s subordinate employees acted in an unconstitutional
Respondeat superior and vicarious liability are not
available under Section 1983.
City of Canton v. Harris, 489
U.S. 378, 387 (1989); Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th
Cir. 1989); Aranda v. Martel, 416 Fed. Appx. 651, *1 (9th Cir.
Plaintiff is unable to bring a Section 1983 claim
against Defendant Sequeira in his official capacity. State
officials sued in their official capacities are not “persons”
subject to civil rights suits for damages pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Will v. Mich. Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 64-66 (1989).
2011) (affirming the dismissal of a Section 1983 action
against the prison warden as he cannot be held liable under a
theory of respondeat superior).
No Facts Have Been Presented As To Any Personal
Involvement By Defendant Sequeira
In order to prevail on a constitutional claim against a
supervisor under Section 1983, a plaintiff must demonstrate
facts as to the supervisor’s personal involvement with a
Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d
1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998).
A supervisor is liable under Section 1983 for a
subordinate’s constitutional violations if the supervisor
participated in or directed the violations, or knew of the
violations and failed to act to prevent them.
Cnty. of San Diego, 708 F.3d 1075, 1086 (9th Cir. 2013).
Here, the Parties agree that Defendant Sequeira had no
personal involvement in the detention or release of Plaintiff
(Sequeira Decl. at ¶¶ 4-6, ECF No. 14-3).
no evidence that Defendant Sequeira knew of any alleged
constitutional violations involving Plaintiff Johnson, or
participated in or directed the violations.
Bennett, 567 F.3d 554, 570 (9th Cir. 2009); Shallowhorn v.
Molina, 572 Fed. Appx. 545, 546 (9th Cir. 2014) (affirming the
dismissal of Section 1983 claims against the prison warden
because there were no facts as to the warden’s personal
involvement with any constitutional violation).
Plaintiff claims that Defendant Sequeira should have
known about his alleged over-detention at Oahu Community
support his theory.
Plaintiff has provided no evidence to
Plaintiff asserts that he complained
about his detention to his “case manager, Natalie Cook” and
“made numerous calls to the Hawaii State Public Defenders’
office and the County of Honolulu Prosecutor’s office in an
attempt to be released.”
(Johnson Decl. at ¶¶ 10, 11, ECF No.
There is no evidence that Plaintiff complained either
directly to Defendant Sequeira or to any prison guards at the
Oahu Community Correctional Center.
Plaintiff does not claim
that any of the individuals to whom he complained contacted
Plaintiff has not provided any evidentiary basis for
Defendant Sequeira to have reasonably known of Plaintiff’s
Defendant Sequeira explained in his
Declaration that he is not personally involved in calculating
individual detainee’s sentences.
(Johnson Decl. at ¶ 4, ECF
Plaintiff has not provided any evidence that Defendant
Sequeira’s own actions caused the alleged constitutional
violations in this case.
Marroquin v. Grady, 667 Fed. Appx.
282, 283 (9th Cir. 2016) (affirming dismissal of 1983 claims
against the prison warden when there were no facts that the
warden was either personally involved or implemented a policy
that motivated the alleged constitutional violation); see
Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1207 (9th Cir. 20011).
There is no evidence that Defendant Sequeira reviewed any
court records pertaining to Plaintiff Johnson or otherwise was
provided with notice as to Plaintiff Johnson’s complaints.
See Alston v. Read, 663 F.3d 1094, 1099-1100 (9th Cir. 2011).
There is no evidence that Defendant Sequeira deliberately
chose to endorse any unconstitutional actions of subordinate
Gillette v. Delmore, 979 F.2d 1342, 1348 (9th Cir.
Defendant Francis Sequeira’s Motion for Summary Judgment
as to Plaintiff’s Section 1983 claim against him as stated in
Count 1 of the Second Amended Complaint is GRANTED.
Plaintiff’s State Law Claims Against Defendant Francis
Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint alleges the
following state law claims against Defendant Sequeira:
Count 2 - Negligence,
Count 3 - Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, and
Count 4 - Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
(Second Amended Complaint at pp. 5-6, ECF No. 1-2).
Under Hawaii law, non-judicial government officials
acting in the performance of their public duties enjoy a
“qualified or conditional privilege.”
P.2d 696, 702 (Haw. 1982).
Towse v. State, 647
The privilege protects the
official from liability for tortious acts unless the injured
party demonstrates by “clear and convincing proof” that the
official was motivated by “malice and not by an otherwise
For torts other than defamation, actual
malice must be proven to overcome the privilege.
Cnty. of Maui, 727 F.Supp.2d 898, 924 (D. Haw. 2010).
“Actual malice” for purposes of the conditional privilege
is construed in its ordinary and usual sense to mean “the
intent, without justification or excuse, to commit a wrongful
act, reckless disregard of the law or of a person’s legal
rights, and ill will; wickedness of heart.”
Awakuni v. Awana,
165 P.3d 1027, 1042 (Haw. 2007).
Plaintiff is unable to prevail on his negligence causes
The element of actual malice required to overcome
a conditional privilege is “incompatible with a claim based on
Dawkins v. City and Cnty. of Honolulu, 2011 WL
1598788, *15 (D. Haw. Apr. 27, 2011); Bartolome v. Kashimoto,
Civ. No. 06-00176BMK, 2009 WL 1956278, at *2 (D. Haw. June 26,
With respect to the remaining tort claim of intentional
infliction of emotional distress, Plaintiff has not pointed to
any evidence that Defendant Sequeira was motivated by malice.
Carroll v. Cnty. of Maui, Civ. No. 13-00066DKW-KSC, 2015 WL
1470732, *7 (D. Haw. Mar. 31, 2015).
stated in his Declaration that he never at any time had any
malice or ill-will toward Plaintiff.
ECF No. 14-3).
(Sequeira Decl. at ¶ 7,
Defendant Sequeira is entitled to conditional
privilege as to Plaintiff Johnson’s state law tort claims.
Defendant Sequeira’s Motion for Summary Judgment as to
Plaintiff’s state law claims stated against him in Counts 2-4
of the Second Amended Complaint is GRANTED.
Plaintiff’s Remaining State Law Claims
Summary judgment is granted in favor of Defendant Francis
Sequeira as to Plaintiff’s only federal law cause of action,
the Section 1983 claim.
There are no remaining federal
question causes of action in the Second Amended Complaint.
There is no diversity jurisdiction in this case.
Where, as here, all federal claims are dismissed before
trial, the exercise of jurisdiction over any remaining state
claim is a matter of the Court’s discretion.
28 U.S.C. §
1367(c)(3); Carlsbad Tech, Inc. v. HIF Bio, Inc., 556 U.S.
635, 640-41 (2009); United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383
U.S. 715, 726 (1966).
The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over Plaintiff’s remaining state law causes of action.
Carlsbad Tech, Inc., 556 U.S. at 640-41; Acri v. Varian
Assocs., Inc., 114 F.3d 999, 1001 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc).
The case is remanded to the Circuit Court of the First
Circuit, State of Hawaii.
Defendant Sequeira’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
13) is GRANTED.
The case and all files herein are REMANDED to the Circuit
Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii for further
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: June 9, 2017, Honolulu, Hawaii.
United States District Judge
Jacob Johnson v. Department of Public Safety; State of Hawaii;
Francis Sequeira, Individually; John Does 1-10; Jane Does 110; Doe Corporations 1-10; Doe Partnerships 1-10; Doe
Unincorporated Organizations 1-10; Doe Governmental Agencies
1-10, Civ. No. 16-00348 HG-KSC; ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT
FRANCIS SEQUEIRA’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 13)
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