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Kinkade v. City of Weiser

United States District Court, D. Idaho

January 23, 2018

CARRIE ANN KINKADE, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF WEISER, WEISER POLICE DEPARTMENT, BRANDON HATHORN, individually, JASON MAXFIELD, individually, CHIEF GREG MOON, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO STRIKE (DKT. 52; DKT. 60)

          HONORABLE CANDY W. DALE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court are two motions to strike filed by Defendants City of Weiser, Police Chief Greg Moon, and police officers Brandon Hathorn and Jason Maxfield. (Dkt. 52 and Dkt. 60.)[1] The motions are made pursuant to rules 12(f) and 56(c)(4) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The parties have fully briefed each motion, and presented oral arguments at a hearing on December 7, 2017. After carefully considering the parties' briefing, arguments, docket, and relevant authorities, the Court will deny in part and grant in part Defendants' motion to strike at Docket 52, and will deny in part and grant in part Defendants' motion to strike at Docket 60.

         The undersigned notes, however, that Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment (Dkt. 41), and Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 55), are pending for resolution by the presiding District Judge, who retains the discretion to modify the rulings contained in this decision should he conclude the undersigned committed error. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Further, rulings on whether the evidence is admissible at trial are reserved to the time of trial, and Defendant's objections are preserved.

         BACKGROUND

         In this case, Carrie Ann Kinkade alleges that two police officers employed by the City of Weiser, Brandon Hathorn and Jason Maxfield, are personally liable for excessive use of force and arrest without probable cause under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and the Idaho Tort Claims Act. Kinkade alleges the same claims against the City of Weiser and Police Chief Greg Moon. (Second Amended Complaint, Dkt. 25.)

         In a state case related to the same incident, the State of Idaho filed criminal charges against Kinkade for disturbing the peace, a violation of Idaho Code Section 18-6409, and for battery upon a certain personnel, a police officer, a violation of Idaho Code Section 18-915(3)(B). On June 3, 2014, a preliminary hearing was conducted on the matter. During the hearing, the state magistrate judge found that there was probable cause for an arrest based on the battery charge. The charges against Kinkade were later dropped by the State.

         Defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment limited to Kinkade's arrest without probable cause claim (false arrest). (Dkt. 41.) Additionally, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment for all claims alleged against the City of Weiser and Police Chief Greg Moon. (Dkt. 55.) Plaintiff responded to each motion with briefing including the affidavits that are the subject of the pending motions to strike.[2]

         STANDARD OF LAW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) governs motions to strike. Under the rule, a “court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Motions to strike are “generally regarded with disfavor because of the limited importance of pleading in federal practice, and because they are often used as a delaying tactic.” Neilson v. Union Bank of Cal., N.A., 290 F.Supp.2d 1101, 1152 (C.D. Cal. 2003). A court has broad discretion in deciding such motions. Phelps v. City of Parma, Idaho, No. 1:14-CV-00085-EJL, 2015 WL 893112, at *1 (D. Idaho Mar. 2, 2015). Motions strike must be construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. A court will deny such motion if the challenged material has “any relation to the subject matter of the controversy.” Id.

         Defendants assert that each of the affidavits fails to comply with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c)(4), which requires that affidavits or declarations submitted in response to a motion for summary judgment “be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.” Defendants argue that the affidavits contain information that is not relevant to the motions. According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, “[a]ll relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution of the United States, by Act of Congress, by these rules, or by other rules prescribed by the Supreme Court pursuant to statutory authority.” Fed.R.Evid. 402. Evidence is relevant when it has “any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 401.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Defendants' Motion to Strike the Affidavits of Kinkade and Musser as to the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

         Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment is limited Kinkade's false arrest claim against the two officers, and is limited to Defendant's argument that those claims are barred by collateral estoppel because of a previous finding of probable cause for arrest by a state magistrate judge. (Dkt. 41.) They argue that the evidence in Kinkade's affidavit (Dkt. 47-3) is irrelevant to Defendants' argument that collateral estoppel bars the false arrest claim. The affidavit discusses Kinkade's version of the events, argues Officer Hathorn's version of the events is ...


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