United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court
Court has before it Defendant City of Nampa’s Motion
for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 17). The Court heard oral argument
on May 27, 2016 and took the motion under advisement. For the
reasons explained below, the Court will grant
Defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a disease which has
caused the vertebrae in Martin’s back to fuse together.
Consequently, Martin walks with a “slow shamble”
and has a hunched stature. Compl. at ¶ 8, Dkt.
1. On August 3, 2013, Martin shopped at a retail store in
Nampa, Idaho. Id. at ¶ 11. Officer Deny Burns
was on routine patrol when dispatch received an anonymous
call that Martin was shopping at that store. Pl.’s
Resp. at 1-2, Dkt. 23. Martin had three outstanding
misdemeanor warrants. After the call, Burns and other
officers were dispatched to the store in order to serve the
warrants on Martin. Id.
approached Martin from behind as Martin entered the checkout
area. Burns initiated contact with Martin by grabbing
Martin’s wrist. Id. at 3, Dkt. 23. Martin
responded by turning away from Burns. Id. Burns
claims that Martin appeared to reach into his pocket,
although Martin claims that he did not attempt to flee or
display a weapon. Answer, ¶ 10, Dkt. 6;
Compl., ¶ 14, Dkt. 1. Burns then grabbed Martin
and knocked him to the ground. The facts are disputed as to
whether Burns purposefully threw Martin to the ground or
inadvertently lost his balance, causing both men to fall to
ground. Compl., ¶ 16 (Dkt. 3); Answer,
¶ 10 (Dkt. 6). Martin fell to the ground with Burns
landing on top of him. Officers then placed Martin’s
arms behind his back. Pl.’s Resp. at
4, Dkt. 23. Martin’s spinal condition made it
difficult for the officers to move his arms. Id.
sustained a wound on his nose and pain in his right shoulder.
Compl., ¶ 18, Dkt. 1. Subsequent X-rays
confirmed that Martin suffered a fractured scapula.
Id. at ¶ 21. Martin then filed his 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claims against the City of Nampa and Officer Deny
Burns. After he filed the suit, the Police Department
conducted an internal investigation into this use of force on
Martin. Pl.’s Resp. at 7. This investigation
revealed large discrepancies between the Police
Department’s written policies regarding use of force
incidents and actual Police Department practice. Id.
judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to
any claim or defense, "there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). One of the principal
purposes of the summary judgment "is to isolate and
dispose of factually unsupported claims . . . ."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24, 106
S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). It is "not a
disfavored procedural shortcut, " but is instead the
"principal tool [ ] by which factually insufficient
claims or defenses [can] be isolated and prevented from going
to trial with the attendant unwarranted consumption of public
and private resources." Id. at 327. "[T]he
mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the
parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion for summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). There must be a genuine dispute as to any
material fact - a fact "that may affect the outcome of
the case." Id. at 248.
evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and the Court must not make credibility
findings. Id. at 255. Direct testimony of the
non-movant must be believed, however implausible. Leslie
v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir. 1999). On
the other hand, the Court is not required to adopt
unreasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence.
McLaughlin v. Liu, 849 F.2d 1205, 1208 (9th Cir.
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine dispute as to material fact.
Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir.
2001) (en banc). To carry this burden, the moving party need
not introduce any affirmative evidence (such as affidavits or
deposition excerpts) but may simply point out the absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.
Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528,
532 (9th Cir.2000).
shifts the burden to the non-moving party to produce evidence
sufficient to support a jury verdict in her favor.
Devereaux, 263 F.3d at 1076. The non-moving party
must go beyond the pleadings and show "by her [ ]
affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to
interrogatories, or admissions on file" that a genuine
dispute of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S.
the Court is "not required to comb through the record to
find some reason to deny a motion for summary judgment."
Carmen v. San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d
1026, 1029 (9th Cir. 2001) (quotation omitted). Instead, the
"party opposing summary judgment must direct [the
Court's] attention to specific triable facts."