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Bates v. Yammamoto

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 7, 2014

ERIC K. BATES, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRIS YAMMAMOTO, in his capacity as Canyon County Clerk; and CANYON COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Idaho; and CHARLES

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE CANYON COUNTY DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Docket No. 13) GEM COUNTY DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Docket No. 14) CITY OF NAMPA DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Docket No. 15) DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE AFFIDAVIT (Docket No. 25)

RONALD E. BUSH, Magistrate Judge.

Currently pending before the Court are: (1) Canyon County Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 13); (2) Gem County Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 14); (3) City of Nampa Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 15); and (4) Defendants' Motion to Strike Affidavit (Docket No. 25). Having carefully considered the record, participated in oral argument, and otherwise being fully advised, the Court enters the following Memorandum Decision and Order:

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

1. On September 21, 2010, Nampa Police Officer, Daniel Hoover was dispatched to a Nampa, Idaho address regarding an alleged battery. See Defs.' SOF, No. 1 (Docket No. 13, Att. 10).[1] The victim of the battery identified Eric V. Bates (birth year 1972) as the perpetrator. See id. Following an investigation, it was determined that Eric V. Bates would be charged with battery. See Hoover Aff., ¶ 2 (Docket No. 15, Att. 3).

2. Shortly thereafter, Officer Hoover submitted a Face Sheet and report regarding the battery to obtain a Complaint and Summons. See Defs.' SOF No. 2 (Docket No. 13, Att. 10). However, in preparing the documentation, Officer Hoover misidentified the perpetrator as Plaintiff Eric K. Bates (birth year 1977) because, when Officer Hoover accessed the Nampa Police Department's computer software program, he only input "Eric Bates, " with no middle initial. See id. at SOF No. 3. At the time, Officer Hoover did not realize that Plaintiff was a different person than Eric V. Bates. See Hoover Aff., ¶ 3 (Docket No. 15, Att. 3).

3. When service of the Complaint and Summons was unsuccessful, Officer Hoover was requested to prepare a Probable Cause Affidavit so that a Warrant of Arrest could be obtained. See Defs.' SOF No. 4 (Docket No. 13, Att. 10). On November 29, 2010, Officer Hoover prepared a Probable Cause Affidavit, properly identifying therein the suspect as Eric V. Bates; yet, when the Warrant of Arrest was issued, it identified the suspect as Plaintiff rather than Eric V. Bates. See id. at SOF Nos. 5 & 7. Officer Hoover did not see the Warrant of Arrest after it was prepared and signed by the magistrate judge and did not know that the Warrant of Arrest was issued for Plaintiff. See id. at SOF Nos. 6 & 8.

4. Coincidentally, in December 2010, Gem County Detective Corporal Investigator, Richard Perecz, participated in a separate investigation concerning a minor child whose mother is Ellen Bates - Plaintiff's spouse at the time. See id. at SOF No. 9; see also Perecz Aff., ¶ 2 (Docket No. 14, Att. 2). Neither Ellen Bates nor Plaintiff was the subject of that separate investigation. See id.

5. As part of the separate investigation, Detective Perecz conducted a CARES interview of the minor child in Boise, Idaho on December 28, 2010. See Perecz Aff., ¶ 3 (Docket No. 14, Att. 2). Detective Perecz then scheduled a follow-up meeting with Ellen Bates at the Bates' residence on December 30, 2010. See id. at ¶ 4. In advance of the follow-up meeting, Detective Perecz identified who would be present during the meeting and ran a background check on them through the Idaho Public Safety and Security Information System. See Defs.' SOF No. 10 (Docket No. 13, Att. 10). That background check showed that there was an outstanding warrant for Plaintiff. See id.

6. When Detective Perecz arrived at the Bates' residence on December 30, 2010, he advised Plaintiff about the existence of the warrant. See id. at SOF No. 11. Plaintiff claimed there was a mistake. See id. While still at the Bates' residence, Detective Perecz contacted Gem County dispatch on two occasions to verify that Plaintiff was the individual identified on the outstanding arrest warrant; both times, Gem County dispatch confirmed that Plaintiffs Social Security number matched that on the Warrant of Arrest. See id.

7. On December 30, 2010, Gem County Sheriff's Deputy William Barry transported Plaintiff to the Gem County Jail where he served the Warrant of Arrest on Plaintiff. See id. at SOF No. 15. In turn, Gem County Detention Sergeant Jacob Reynolds booked Plaintiff at the Gem County Jail. See id. at SOF No. 16. At the Gem County Jail, Plaintiff was placed in a holding cell until he could be processed. See id. at SOF No. 17. While there, Plaintiff continued to assert that he was mistakenly arrested. See id. at SOF No. 18.

8. Around this time, Sergeant Reynolds received a telephone call from Jamie Luna, a Senior Legal Assistant/Secretary in the Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, requesting that he hold off booking Plaintiff until Mr. Luna could confirm that Plaintiff was the correct Eric Bates. See id. at SOF Nos. 19 & 25-26. Apparently, Mr. Luna had received a telephone call from Denise Kennel, the Nampa Court Supervisor at the time, indicating that she believed the wrong Eric Bates had been arrested. See id. at SOF Nos. 21 & 22. Ms. Kennel learned about Plaintiff's arrest when she received a telephone call from Canyon County Deputy Court Clerk, Erin Bullard. See id. at SOF No. 23. Ms. Bullard had been contacted by another Canyon County Deputy In-Court Clerk, Kim Beckley, who had received a telephone call from her friend, Ellen Bates (Plaintiff's spouse). See id.

9. Mr. Luna also attempted to contact Officer Hoover, but was not successful. See id. at SOF No. 27. Mr. Luna then contacted Tony Evans, Officer Hoover's supervisor, who relayed to Mr. Luna that he remembered the circumstances of the underlying criminal charges and believed that the information identifying Plaintiff on the Face Sheet was more accurate than the subsequently-prepared Probable Cause Affidavit. See id.

10. Mr. Luna placed another telephone call to Sergeant Reynolds, asking him to ask Plaintiff his Social Security number and date of birth. See id. at SOF No. 28. After doing so, and confirming that Plaintiff's information matched that on the Face Sheet, Mr. Luna told Sergeant Reynolds that it appeared the correct person had been arrested. See id. Plaintiff was then booked and bonded out of the jail after being there for approximately two hours and 11 minutes. See id. at SOF Nos. 29 & 30.

11. On January 5, 2011, the criminal charges brought against Plaintiff were dismissed. See id. at SOF No. 31.

12. On November 15, 2012, Plaintiff filed his Complaint against Defendants in Idaho state court. See Compl. (Docket No. 1, Att. 3). Therein, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' conduct was "reckless, willful, wanton, and grossly negligent" and "created an unreasonable risk of harm to the Plaintiff...." See id. at ¶¶ 6 & 7. In turn, Plaintiff asserts the following causes of action against all Defendants: False Arrest (Count One), False Imprisonment (Count Two), Violation of Plaintiff's Civil Rights Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count Three), and Defamation (Count Four).

13. Defendants removed the action to this Court on December 21, 2012 and, on November 15, 2013, filed the at-issue Motions for Summary Judgment, requesting that each of Plaintiff's claims against them be dismissed. See Mots. for Summ. J. (Docket Nos. 13-15).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment: The ...


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