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Lorenz v. City of Coeur D'alene

July 30, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Edward J. Lodge U. S. District Judge



Pending before the Court in the above-entitled matter is Defendants City of Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Wayne Longo, City of Coeur d'Alene, Officer Gregory Moore, and Officer Tim Hanna's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Collectively referred to as "Defendants") (Mot. for Summ. J., Dkt. 18.) The motion is made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The matter is ripe for the Court's consideration. Having fully reviewed the record herein, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately represented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, and in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, this motion shall be decided on the record before this Court without oral argument.


The complaint in this action alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in connection with the arrest, incarceration, and prosecution of Jason Lee Lorenz ("Lorenz") by the Defendants. It is undisputed that on March 14, 2009 Karen Lorenz ("Ms. Lorenz"), Lorenz's ex-wife, invited Lorenz over to her house for dinner. (Pl.'s Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in Opp. to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. at 3, Dkt. 28.) The meeting was ostensibly for the purpose of discussing their relationship, and both soon began to consume alcohol. Id. at 4. The pair grew more intimate and went to Ms. Lorenz' bedroom for the purpose of sexual intercourse. Id. However, sexual intercourse did not take place. (Compl. and Demand for Jury Trial at 2, Dkt. 1.)

An argument arose between Lorenz and Ms. Lorenz which resulted in Lorenz returning to the house and passing out while Ms. Lorenz went to the garage. (Pl.'s Separate Statement at 4.) Ms. Lorenz placed a call to 911 from the garage. Once police officers arrived Ms. Lorenz told them that she had been arguing with Lorenz about their relationship. Id. She further stated that she had allowed Lorenz to sleep on the couch given his state of intoxication. Id. Ms. Lorenz claimed that Lorenz followed her into her bedroom and attempted to remove her clothing and have sexual intercourse with her. Id. She claimed that she repeatedly told Lorenz "no" and that she had to fight him off in order to escape to the garage and call police. Id. at 5. After calling the police Ms. Lorenz stated that she had searched through Lorenz' things after he had passed out under the kitchen table. Id. She discovered a knife in his backpack. Id. When questioned by police Lorenz stated that they had only been making out on the bed and that he had stopped when asked. Id. Based on these statements Officer Gregory Moore and Officer Tim Hanna arrested Lorenz and took him to Kootenai County Jail. Id.

Lorenz remained in Kootenai County Jail from the time of his arrest until July 13, 2009, when the Kootenai County Assistant Prosecutor moved to dismiss the charges against him. Id. at 6. Ms. Lorenz eventually recanted her story. Id. Lorenz remained in jail for that period of time because he did not post bail. (Compl. at 3.)

On August 21, 2009, Lorenz filed his Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. Id. Lorenz alleges four counts:

Count I: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Action for Deprivation of Civil Rights, which alleges that Lorenz was unlawfully arrested, maliciously prosecuted and unlawfully incarcerated.

Count II: 42 U.S.C. § 1985 Action for Conspiracy to Interfere with Civil Rights, which alleges that there was a conspiracy among the Defendants to deprive Lorenz of his constitutional rights.

(There is no Count III)

Count IV: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Failure to Adequately Train & Supervise Police

Officers, which alleges that the City of Coeur d'Alene is liable for the actions of its officers.

Count V: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Negligent Hiring, Retention and Failure to Discipline or Take Necessary Corrective Action, which alleges the same as Count IV.

On April 16, 2010, the Defendants moved for summary judgment on all counts.


Motions for summary judgment are governed by Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 56 provides, in pertinent part, that judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

The Supreme Court has made it clear that under Rule 56 summary judgment is mandated if the non-moving party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element which is essential to the non-moving party's case and upon which the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See, Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). If the non-moving party fails to make such a showing on any essential element, "there can be no 'genuine issue of material fact,' since a completely failure of ...

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