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Castillo v. Klitch

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 17, 2016

JUSTIN KLITCH, in his individual capacity; CHRISTOPHER COTRELL; in his individual capacity; and the IDAHO STATE POLICE; a political subdivision of the State of Idaho, Defendants.


          B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court


         The Court has before it Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 11). The Court conducted a hearing on the motion on July 18, 2016. At the hearing, the Court denied Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment as to Castillo’s § 1983 claim, as well as qualified immunity for Officer Klitch. The Court took the rest of the motion under advisement, and now issues the following decision.


         Plaintiff Jose Castillo is an Arizona resident who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”). Pl. Response at 2 (Dkt. 13). His OCD causes him to use various sanitizing products on his body and possessions, including his vehicle. Although Castillo previously worked as a park ranger for many years, his OCD has prevented him from working recently. Castillo therefore receives full disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Id.

         In May 2014, Castillo travelled from Arizona to Oregon to visit an acquaintance. During the trip, Officer Klitch stopped Castillo just outside of Boise, Idaho. Officer Klitch claims that he pulled Castillo over for swerving in his lane and for failing to move over or slow down for an emergency vehicle. Def. Memo. at 7 (Dkt.11-1). Officer Klitch began the traffic stop by inquiring about Castillo’s trip. Officer Klitch eventually asked Castillo about his shorts which had unusual snaps attached to them. Pl. Resp. at 5 (Dkt. 13). Castillo explained to Officer Klitch that he suffered from OCD, and that he did not want his pants to touch the ground. Id.

         Officer Klitch also smelled Lysol disinfectant emanating from the vehicle and inquired about it. Klitch Dep. p. 45 (Dkt. 13-4). Castillo explained that he used Lysol because of his OCD. Id. at 45-45. Wary of this explanation, Office Klitch believed that Castillo used Lysol to mask the smell of drugs or other substances. Id. at 48-49. Officer Klitch then called in Officer Cottrell to conduct a drug dog sniff. Id. at 49. Officer Cottrell arrived approximately three minutes after the initial stop occurred. Pl. Memo. at 6 (Dkt. 13).

         After Officer Cottrell arrived, Officer Klitch ordered Castillo out of the car and told him that the officers were going to conduct a drug sniff. Id. Officer Cottrell then ran the dog around the vehicle. Id. The dog alerted to Castillo’s passenger side door. Klitch Dep. at 52-53. Officer Klitch then frisk searched Castillo. Pl. Memo. at 6. Officer Klitch then searched Castillo’s vehicle. Id. During the search, Officer Klitch made a series of what can only be described as insulting or derogatory statements related to germs and Castillo’s OCD. The stop lasted about 25 minutes. Officers Cottrell and Klitch found no drugs or other contraband in Castillo’s vehicle and did not issue any traffic citations. Id. at 7. Castillo later filed his complaint, alleging § 1983 violations and ADA violations against the Idaho State Police and officers Klitch and Cottrell. Id.


         Summary 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 (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 (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.

         The 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. 1988).

         The 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).

         This shifts the burden to the non-moving party to produce evidence sufficient to support a jury verdict in her favor. Deveraux, 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 ...

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