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Nicholson v. Delgadillo

United States District Court, D. Idaho

April 22, 2014

BRENNAN NICHOLSON, Plaintiff,
v.
RUBEN DELGADILLO, MIKE LARIMER AND DOES 1 — X, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

EDWARD J. LODGE, District Judge.

Pending before the Court in the above-entitled matter are a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant Mike Larimer ("Larimer") (Dkt. 25) and Larimer's related Motion to Strike (Dkt. 28).[1] The parties have submitted briefing on the motions and the matters are now ripe for the Court's review. Having fully reviewed the record herein, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, 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, the motions shall be decided on the record before this Court without oral argument.

For the reasons stated below, the Court enters the following Order granting Defendant Larimer's Motion for Summary Judgment and denying Defendant Larimer's Motion to Strike.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are taken from Plaintiff's Response to Larimer's Motion for Summary Judgment. At the time of the events leading to this suit, Plaintiff Brennan Nicholson ("Nicholson") was a fifteen year old student at Vallivue High School. Nicholson's stepfather was dying of cancer and Nicholson was acting out at school. In April 2008, Nicholson was required to attend an expulsion hearing.

At the time, Defendant Ruben Delgadillo ("Delgadillo") was a School Resource Officer ("SRO") with the Caldwell Police Department. Due to his role as SRO, Delgadillo was a member of the expulsion board that heard Nicholson's case. After the expulsion hearing, Delgadillo approached Nicholson and his mother and offered to mentor Nicholson and train him for football. Nicholson ultimately accepted Delgadillo's offer.

Over the spring and summer of 2008, Delgadillo took Nicholson to local schools to perform running exercises. Afterwards, Delgadillo would take Nicholson back to his Delgadillo's residence in order to "measure" Nicholson's muscles and rub ointment on his legs. At Delgadillo's invitation, Nicholson began visiting Delgadillo's residence regularly and eventually started spending the night there as well. Nicholson slept in Delgadillo's bed, with Delgadillo, during these overnights. The first time Nicholson spent the night, Delgadillo gave him a blue pill that made Nicholson's vision blurry. Nicholson awoke that night to Delgadillo sexually molesting him, including performing anal intercourse. Nicholson pretended to be asleep while Delgadillo accosted him. Delgadillo continued to inappropriately touch and sexually molest Nicholson throughout the spring and summer of 2008.

In the meantime, in mid-April 2008, Larimer, a Caldwell police officer and friend and co-worker of Delgadillo, separated from his wife and needed a place to stay. The parties dispute whether Larimer acted as Delgadillo's supervisor during the events at issue in this suit. However, Larimer resided with Delgadillo from approximately mid-April 2008 to June 1, 2008. During this time, Larimer used Delgadillo's address as his own mailing address and spent approximately half of his nights at Delgadillo's home.[2] (Dkt. 25-2, ¶ 7.) Larimer was never present at Delgadillo's residence in order to perform his official duties as a Caldwell police officer and was never dispatched in connection with the police department to Delgadillo's residence. ( Id., ¶ 8.)

During the time Larimer stayed at Delgadillo's home, Larimer recalls seeing Nicholson there on one or two occasions. ( Id., ¶ 9.) Larimer denies ever observing Delgadillo touching Nicholson inappropriately and claims he never knew anything improper was going on between Delgadillo and Nicholson. ( Id., ¶¶ 10-11.) Larimer suggests he would have immediately reported inappropriate conduct to the appropriate law enforcement authorities if he had ever observed it. ( Id. )

However, Nicholson claims Larimer walked in the front door of Delgadillo's residence on one occasion when Delgadillo and Nicholson were in plain sight in the living room. On this occasion, Delgadillo was rubbing ointment on Nicholson's legs and fondling Nicholson's penis. Nicholson states Larimer unquestionably witnessed this inappropriate touching and did nothing to intercede, even though Larimer was aware Nicholson was a minor. Nicholson claims Larimer merely avoided making eye contact with Nicholson when he encountered him at Delgadillo's residence after this event. The Court will accept Nicholson's version of the facts for the purposes of this motion.

Nicholson ultimately reported Delgadillo and, on March 19, 2009, after an investigation by Idaho State Police, a grand jury indicted Delgadillo with the crimes of lewd conduct with a minor under sixteen, I.C. § 18-1508, and sexual battery of a minor, I.C. § 18-1508A. (Dkt. 26, p. 4.) Delgadillo ultimately pled guilty to felony injury of a child, I.C. § 18-1501(1), and was sentenced to a total of ten years, with the first three years fixed. ( Id. ) On April 6, 2011, Delgadillo was placed on probation for a period of ten years. ( Id. )

Nicholson thereafter brought the instant suit against Delgadillo, Larimer and Does I-X under 42 U.S.C. §1983. (Dkt 1.) Delgadillo failed to appear, and default was entered against him on September 27, 2013. (Dkt. 24.) In his Complaint, Nicholson alleges Larimer was aware, or should have been aware, that Nicholson was in danger from and was being molested by Delgadillo, and that Larimer did nothing to intervene or report Delgadillo's actions, despite Larimer's role as Delgadillo's supervisor. (Dkt. 1, ¶¶ 28-34.)

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Motions for summary judgment are governed by Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 56 provides that the court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact ...


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