United States District Court, D. Idaho
GINA STUCKI; MINOR CHILD 1, by and through her mother GINA STUCKI; and MINOR CHILD 2, by and through her mother, GINA STUCKI, Plaintiffs,
CITY OF POCATELLO; BANNOCK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE; BANNOCK COUNTY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER and NIKO GORDON IV, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for Pocatello Police Department, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court.
Court has before it Defendants City of Pocatello and Niko
Gordon's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 51). The Court
heard oral argument on the motion on May 17, 2017 and now
issues the following decision.
2012, Jay Romjue and Gina Stucki were romantically involved,
and Romjue moved into Stucki's house. He later moved out,
but on September 11, 2013, Stucki called police regarding
concerns about Romjue. Stucki made the call directly to
police headquarters; it was not a 911 call. Stucki asked the
police to help her get Romjue to leave her alone.
evening, Officer Evans met with Stucki. He told her he would
contact Romjue the next morning and tell him to leave Stucki
alone or face trespassing charges. At about 8:00 a.m. the
next morning, police received a hang-up 911 call from the
Stucki residence. Romjue had entered Stucki's home,
grabbed Stucki by the hair, and was waiving a gun.
Stucki's daughter made the 911 hang-up call.
advised Officer Gordon of the 911 hang-up call. Officer
Gordon went to the Stucki residence, and Stucki answered the
door. Officer Gordon asked her if everything was okay. Stucki
shook her head no, and pulled Officer Gordon into the house.
Officer Gordon did not see any signs of struggle at that
moment, but Stucki and her daughter were crying. Officer
Gordon was positioned between the child and Romjue, but at
some point Stucki and her child ended up behind Romjue.
Gordon began questioning Romjue. He then suggested Romjue
leave the residence so the parties could cool off. Stucki
informed Officer Gordon that she and Romjue had a past
relationship which had been physically abusive at times. Both
Stucki and Romjue confirmed that there had been pushing.
About five minutes into the encounter, Stucki's daughter
told Officer Gordon that Romjue had a gun. Officer Gordon
asked to see the gun, and Romjue pulled it out. Romjue did
not place his finger on the trigger, and he appeared to be
surrendering his gun. Romjue did not appear agitated, but
seemed calm and compliant.
Gordon started to step back, but slipped and fell. As he
fell, he pulled out his gun, tried to radio for back up, and
fired four shots at Romjue. None of the shots hit Romjue.
Stucki grabbed her daughter and ran to the bathroom. Romjue
headed the opposite way to the kitchen. Officer Gordon
abandoned his position between Stucki and Romjue and left the
house. Officer Gordon then called dispatch, advised that
shots had been fired, and was told by dispatch to retreat and
take cover. Officer Gordon then left the immediate area.
and her daughter were left in the house with Romjue for about
45 minutes. Outside, police advised Stucki and her children
to stay calm. Romjue eventually broke through the bathroom
door. He then killed himself in front of Stucki and her
children. Stucki filed this action on behalf of herself and
two daughters alleging federal civil rights claims and state
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.
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 ...