Geraldine Lee v. Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services. et al, No. 3:2006cv00433 - Document 141 (D. Nev. 2009)

Court Description: ORDER GRANTING D Sparks Police Department's 119 Motion for Summary Judgment. Clerk shall enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge Larry R. Hicks on 9/21/2009. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - DRM)
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h . ( j ' 2 ' ) . ' ) 1 ; L . l 3 . 4 '' L . 5 : 6 U NITED STA TES DISTRICT CO URT 7 D ISTRICT O F N EV AD A 8 ***** 9 GERALDW E L LEE, . 11 vs. ) ) ) ) ) 12 N NAM HS,ALEXANDER,CITY A UTO ) 14 l5 ) ) ) 16 Before the courtisD efendantSparksPolice D epartm ent's M otion for Sum m ary 10 Plaintiff, r , ' 03:06-CV-0433-LRH-RAM ) TO W ,CITY OF SPARKS POLICE DEPT., ) 13 COOK ,FLOW ERS,JACKSON,M OORE, ) REYNOLDS and DOES 1-X, ) Defendants. ORDER l7 Judgment(#119:).PlaintiffGeraidineLeehastiledanopposition (#132)towhich Defendant 18 replied(#135).DefendantCityAutoTowing'shasjoinedthemotion forsummaryjudgmentand 19 thereply (* 124,136). 20 1. Facts and ProceduralH istory 21 Thisis a civilrights dispute arising outofan incidentwhen Plaintiff's autom obile w as Geraldine Lee v. Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services. et al Doc. 141 22 towedf' rom Northel. nNevadaAdultMentalHealthSenrices(GGNNAM HS'').OnJune21,2006, 23 afterthevehicle had been parked in the sam e spotatN NA M H S forapproxim ately one w eek,a 24 twenty-fourhourtow notice w asplaced on Plaintiff s vehicle because the vehicle wasallegedly 25 taking up two handicap parking spaces,had expiredlicensesplates.had an expiredhandicap 26 perm it,and appeared to havebeen abandoned. On June 26,2006,D efkndantCity A uto Tow 27 tow ed the vehicle. D efendantM oore,the facility supervisor atN N A M H S,authorized the 28 lltefersto thecourt'sdocketentry num ber. 1 tow ing. 2 On July 20 or21,2006,D efendantA lexanderreceived severalvoice m ailm essageson 3 histelephonecomplainingaboutthetsoverallmanaglementotltheoperationalendofthehospital 4 facility.''(Defs.'M ot.Summ.J.(#l19),Ex.B at9:10-1l.) DefendantAlexanderbelievedthat 5 thecontentofthelnessageswasttveryharassing.''(f#.,Ex.B at12:22-23.) DefendantsReynolds 6 and Jackson listened to the m essages and recognized the voice asPlaintiff s. A fter the m essages 7 w ere lefton D efendantA lexander's telephone,D efendantReynolds instructed D efendantLee, 8 the directorofthe N N AM H S Drop-ln Center,to inform Plaintiffthatshe could notuse the D rop9 In Center fbr aperiod oftim e. 10 The Drop-ln Centeris a facility run by individuals w ith m entalillnesses to supportother l1 individualsw ith m entalillnessesin theirrecovery and to serve as a place w here such individuals 12 can feelsafe. The C enterhasa library,m icrow ave,and refrigeratorand sen'escoffee,tea,and l3 snacks. The Center also providescom putersand telephones. The Center does notprovide 14 m edication,and there are no doctorsorotherclinicalprofessionals available atthe Center. 15 O n July 25,2006.Plaintiffcam e to the D rop-ln Centerto retrieveherpossessions. 16 D efendantJackson asked her assistantto retrieve the possessions,butPlaintiffrefused them . 17 D efendantJackson then asked Plaintift-to leave-and Plaintiffrefused. DefendantJaekson 18 indicated she w ould haveto callthe police,w hich she did. 19 Sparks Police O fficerJam es H am m erstone responded and escorted Plaintifff'rom the 20 building. Plaintiffthen stated thatshe w anted to enterthe N NA M H S facility,and Ofticer 21 H am m erstone told hernotto. Plaintiffproceeded to enterthe building scream ing. Plaintiffw as 22 told severaltim esto stop scream ing and exitthebuilding. Plaintiffrefused. O fficer 23 H am m erstonethen handcuffed Plaintiffand placed her underarrestfor obstructing a police 24 ofticerin violation ofSparksM unicipalC ode section 9.030.020. 25 1l. LegalStandard 26 Summaryjudgmentisappropriateonlywhenû%thepleadings.depositions,answersto 27 interrogatories.and adm issionson file,togetherw ith the affidavits,if any,show thatthere is no 28 genuineissueastoanymaterialfactandthatthemovingpartyisentitledtojudgmentasamatter 2 1 oflau,.''Fed.R.Civ.P.56(c).ln assessingamotionforsummaozjudgment,theevidence, 2 togetherwith al1inferencesthatcan reasonably be drawn therefrom ,m ustbe read in the light 3 m ostfavorable to the party opposing the m otion. M atsushita Elec.Indus.Co.v.Zenith Radio 4 Colp.,475U.S.574,587(l986)* ,CountyqfTuolumnev.Sonora Cm(p.Hosp.,236F.3d 1148, 5 1l54 (9th Cir.2001). 6 7 The m oving party bearsthe burden ofinform ing the courtofthe basis foritsm otion, along w ith evidence show ing the absence ofany genuine issue ofm aterialfact. Celotex Corp.v. 8 Catrett,477U.S.317,323(1986).Onthoseissuesforwhichitbearstheburdenofproof.tbe 9 m oving pal-ty m ustm ake a show ing thatis tbsufticientforthe courtto hold thatno reasonable 10 trieroffactcould find otherthan forthe m oving party.'' Calderone v.United States,799 F.2d 11 254,259 (6th Cir.1986);seca/5,(?Idcma n Dreamworks,Inc,l62 F.Supp.2c11129,1141(C.D. 12 Cal.2001). 13 14 To successfullyrebutamotion forsummaryjudgment,thenon-movingpartymustpoint to facts supported by the record which dem onstrate a genuine issue ofm aterialfact. Reese r. 15 JeffersonSch.Dist.No.14J,208F.3d736(9th Cir.2000).A ttmaterialfact''isafacttûthatmight 16 affectthe outcom e ofthe suitunderthe governing law .'' Anderson v.Liberty Lobby,lnc.,477 17 U.S.242,248 (1986).W herereasonablem indscould differon thematerialfactsatissue, 18 summal'yjudpnentisnotappropriate.Seev.Dttrang.71lF.2d l41,143(9thCir.1983).A 19 dispute regarding a m atelialfactis considered genuine çtifthe evidence is such thata reasonable 20 jul' ycouldretul' naverdictforthenonmovingparty.''Libert. yLobby,477U.S.at248.Themere 21 existence ofa scintilla ofevidence in supportofthe plaintiffsposition w illbe insufticientto 22 establishagenuinedispute;theremustbeevidenceonwhichthejurycouldreasonablyfindfor 23 the plaintiff. See id.at252. 24 111. D iscussion 25 Plaintiffallegesthefollowingclaimsforrelief:(1)dueprocessviolations' ,(2)equal 26 protection violations;and (3)free speech violations.ln addition,in heropposition Plaintiff 27 appears to allege violations ofstate law and the Am ericansw ith D isabilities A ct. D efendants 28 seek summaryjudgmentoneachoftheseclaims.Totheextentnecessao,,thecourtwilladdress 3 l each claim below . 2 A. Due Process 3 PlaintiffallegesDefendantviolatedherdueprocessrightsby (1)ratifyingthetowingof 4 hervehicleand(2)preventingherf'rom accessingtheNNAM HS facility. 5 6 1. Tow ing A s to the tow ing ofPlaintiff svehicle,the courthas already found as a m atterof1aw that 7 vttowing Plaintiffsvehicle withoutnotice did notdeny herdueprocess.''(Order(//63)at6.). 8 Likew ise,Plaintiff sw asnotdenied an opportunity to appealthe towing in violation ofthe due 9 processclause.NevadaRevised Statutessection487.039(1)provides,ttlfavehicleistowed 10 pursuantto N R S 487.037 or 487.038 and the ownerofthe vehiclebelievesthatthe vehicle is ll unlaw fully tow ed.the ow nerofthe vehicle m ay file a civilaction detennine whetherthe 12 towing ofthevehiclewaslawful.'' Section487.039(3)f' urtherstates,ççt-lpon thetiling ofacivil 13 action pursuantto subsection 1,the courtshallschedule a date tbra hearing. The hearing m ust 14 be held notlaterthan 4 working daysafterthe action istiled.'' 15 A lthough Plaintiftbscarw astow ed fora variety ofreasons,m any ofwhich Plaintiff l6 challenges,itisundisputed thatPlaintiff'shandicap placard w as expired. Thus,the tow ing of 17 Plaintiff'svehicle com plied with NevadaRevised Statutesection 487.038.SeeN ev.Rev.Stat.(i 18 487.038(permittingvehiclestobetowedifparkedinahandicapspacewithoutbeingproperly 19 marked). 20 Plaintiffdoesnotallege,and there isno evidence indicating,thatD efendantdenied 21 Plaintiffthe opportunity to appealthe tow ing pursuantto section 487.039. Because Plaintiffhad 22 an opportunity to challenge the validity ofthetowing ofhervehicle,D efendantdid notdeny 23 Plaintiffdueprocess.SeeGoichmanv.RheuanM otors,lnc.,682F.2d 1320(9thCir.1982) 24 (holdingthatwheretheplaintift-hadanopportunityto appealhisvehicle'stowing,thedue 25 processclausewasnotviolatedl.z 26 27 zplaintiffdoesnotchalienge theprovision ofsection 487.039 providing forahearing within four daysofthe filing ofa civilaction. Accordingly.the courtneed notaddresswhetherdueprocessrequires 28 a hearing within aperiod brieferthan fourdays. 4 1 2 2. A rrest Plaintiffalso contendsD efendantdenied herdue processw hen she w asarrested for 3 obstructing apolice officerin violation of Sparks M unicipalCode section 9.030.020. To 4 demonstrateaconstitutionalviolation,Plaintiffmustdemonstrate(1)adeprivation oflife, 5 liberty,and property and (2)ttconscience shockingbehaviorby thegovernm ent.''Brittain :'. 6 Hansen,451F.3d982,991(9th Cir.2006). 7 The coul' thasreview ed the evidence and the arlpm entsofthe partiesand tinds,asa 8 m atteroflaw ,thatD efendant's conductdoesnotttshock the conscience.'' Contrary to Plaintiff s 9 assertions,herarrestw asnotEtrbitral' y. Defendantarrested Plaintiffforrefusing to com ply w ith 10 OfticerHammerstone'sinstructions(1)notto entertheNTNAM HSbuildingand(2)onceshe 11 entered thebuilding,to exitthe building. 12 O fticerH am m erstone arrested Plaintiffforviolating SparksM unicipalCode section 13 9.030,020,which provides, 14 ltisunlaw fulfor any person to obstructapublic ofticerw ho isacting law fully in a governm ent f-unction, with know ledge that the person obstructed is a public 15 officer. A person obstructsapublicofficerifheorshe:...(6)gijintentionally 16 violatesorrefusesto obey the law fulorderofapublic officerin alaw enforcem ent action ...involving an actualorpotentialthreatto public safety .... 17 ltisundisputed thatafterOfticerH am m erstone instructed Plaintiffnotto enterthe buiiding, 18 Plaintiffentered the building scream ing. O nce inside thebuilding,Plaintiffrefused to leave. 19 Thus,in arrestingPlaintift,Defendant'sconductwasnotarbitrao,.Summaryjudgmentis 20 appropliate w ith regard to Plaintiff s due processclaim .S 21 22 23 3In theopposition, Plaintiffalso appearsto argue Defendantviolated herFourth Amendment 24 rightsby(1)arrestingherforfailingtofollow theofficer'sinstructionsand (2)arrestingherwithout probablecause. Asto herfailureto follow the officer'sorders,Plaintiff'srelianceon Carey'v.Nev. Gaming ControlBd., 279F. 3d 973(9th Cir.2002),ismisplaced.There,theNinthCircuitheldthat Nevadastatutesauthorizing theplaintiff'sarrestforrefusingto identify him selfareunconstitutionalin violation oftheFourth Am endm ent. Thiscase doesnotinvolvePlaintiff'srefusalto identify herself,and 27 Plaintiffdoesnotchallengethefacialvalîdity ofsection 9.030.030. Asto Plaintiff'sprobable clause claim ,asdiscussed above,OfficerHarnm erstonepossessed 25 26 28 sufticientfactstojustifyPlaintiff'sarrestpursuantto SparksM unicipalCodesection 9.030.020. 5 1 B. A m ericansw ith D isabilities Act4 2 PlaintiffallegesthatDefendantviolatedtheAmericanswithDisabilitiesAct(::ADA''),42 3 U.S.C.jj l2101-l2213,byarresting herbecauseofherdisability. Thecourthasreviewed the 4 evidence and argumentssubm itted by thepartiesand tindsthatPlaintiffhasfailed to dem onstrate 5 issuesoffactconcerningwhetherDefendantarrestedPlaintiffttbyreasonofgherqdisability.''s 6 McGaryv.Citjvt?/' f'( pr#twJJ,386 F.3d 1259,1265(9thCir.2004)(citatienomitted).To the 7 contrary.the evidence indicatesthatPlaintiffw asarrested because she refused to com ply w ith 8 OfticerHamm erstone'sordersin violation ofSparksM unicipalCodesection 9.030.020.Because 9 no evidence before the courtsuggests tbatPlaintiffw as arrested because ofherdisability, l0 summalyjudgmentwithregardtotheADA claim isappropriate. 11 C. R em aining Claim s 12 Plaintiffs com plaintfurtherallegesthatD efendantttdid conspire to preventaccess to 13 propertyandpreventaccesstopropertyand facility....''(FirstAm .Compl.(#l6),at4.) As 14 diseussed above-Plaintiffhasfailed to m aketheshowingneeded to dem onstratethe deprivation 15 ofher constit-utionalrights. A ccordinglyoher eonspiracy claim fails. See Woodrum v.W oodward 16 Count y,Oklahoma,866 F.2d l121,1126 (9th Cir.1989)(citation om itted)(noting thatthe 17 alleged conspiracym ustresultin an actualdeprivation ofa constitutionalright). 18 Finally,Plaintiffdoes notoppose D efendant's argum entsand evidence concerning her 19 FirstAmendmentandstatelaw claims.Accordingly,summaryjudpnentontheseclaimsis 20 appropriate.SecLocalRule7-2(d);Reese,208F.3d736(discussingplaintiffsburdenin 21 /// 22 /// 23 /// 24 25 :6 27 # 4plaintiffappearsto combineherequalprotection and ADA argum ents. 51n heropposition, Plaintiffappearsto allege Defendantdiscriminated againstherbecause ofher race.ItisnotappropriateforPlaintiffto assertnew allegationsoutside the scope ofthe complaintin an 28 oppositionto amotion forsurnmaryjudgment. 6 1 rebuttingmotionforsunnmaryjudgment). IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED thatDefendant'sM otion forSumm aryJudgm ent(#119) 3 is GRA NTED . TheClerk ofthecourtshallenterjudgmentaccordingly. IT ISSO ORDERE/ DA TED this day ofSeptem ber,2009. ' % LA N'R .Hlclc.s I-TN ITED STATES D ISTRICT JIJD G E 21 7