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Sanchez v. County of Bonneville

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 7, 2018



          David C. Nye, U.S. District Court Judge.

         I. OVERVIEW

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 27. Having reviewed the record, the Court finds that the parties have adequately presented the facts and legal arguments in the briefs. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court decides the Motion on the record without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds good cause to GRANT the Motion for Summary Judgment.

         II. FACTS[1]

         Plaintiff Cesar Herrera Sanchez is an inmate at the Idaho State Correctional Center. Dkt 27-3, at 7. When the events that give rise to this case occurred, Sanchez was a pre-trial detainee at the Bonneville County Jail, awaiting trial on charges for drug trafficking and possession of paraphernalia. When officers booked Sanchez into the Bonneville County Jail, on August 12, 2015, they asked him if he had any enemies in the Jail. Dkt. 27-4, at 1. Sanchez stated that he did not have any enemies and he did not know anyone in the Bonneville County Jail. Id. Thereafter, Officers placed Sanchez in “Unit 2” at the Jail, which contained 40 or 50 other detainees. Id.

         On September 8, 2015, three individuals who were also staying in Unit 2, Jorge Espinoza, Juan Villa, and Roberto Vargas, attacked Sanchez in his cell. Id. at 2. Sanchez had not had any problems with these three individuals, or any other Bonneville County Jail inmates, up until that time. Id. Sanchez was familiar with the three assailants and would pray with Espinoza and Jan Villa every night before bed as “they were the only [other detainees at the Jail] that spoke Spanish.” Id. at 4. These three individuals hit Sanchez until he “was drenched in blood.” Id. at 3. They told Sanchez they were attacking him “because [he] was working with the police.” Id. When Idaho State Police officers originally arrested Sanchez, he told them he was working with federal marshals in Montana. Dkt. 27-3, at 8. Sanchez believes someone told his three attackers this information.

         No officers or staff members working at the Bonneville County Jail saw the attack or arrived while the attack was ongoing. Dkt. 27-4, at 3. After the individuals left, Sanchez “rang the bell at the door, ” which is supposed to alert Jail staff to emergencies. Id. The first two times Sanchez rang the bell no one answered. Id. The third time officers responded. Id.

         Upon discovering Sanchez, officers took him to shower, gave him new clothes, and then took him to see a doctor, where he received prompt medical care. Id. The attackers broke Sanchez's left index finger, knocked loose two of his front teeth, and split open his lip such that it required nine stitches. Id.; Dkt. 23, at 4. Sanchez also suffered from temporary hearing loss. Dkt. 23, at 4.

         Thereafter, deputies moved Sanchez to “isolation, ” away from the general population for three to four months. Dkt. 27-4, at 5. Deputies then moved him to Unit 4, a “protective custody” unit for the remainder of his time at the Bonneville County Jail. Id. at 6. Sanchez had no other problems with inmates during the remainder of his time at the Bonneville County Jail. The Bonneville County Jail investigated the attack, and the attackers were ultimately charged with battery. Id. at 3, 6.

         On April 17, 2017, Sanchez filed this suit and an application to proceed in forma pauperis. Sanchez asserted claims for failure to protect under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against three deputies at the Bonneville County Jail⸺Deputy Charles Boomgarden, Deputy Tyrel Parmer, and Deputy John Trotter (“the deputy Defendants”). He also asserts a § 1983 claim against the Bonneville County Jail. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale reviewed Sanchez's Complaint, First Amended Complaint, and Second Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A to determine if Sanchez had asserted facts necessary to support claims upon which relief could be granted. Dkts. 8, 11, 21. Judge Dale ultimately concluded that Sanchez could proceed on his claims. Defendants now move for summary judgment on all of Sanchez's claims. In addition to the § 1983 claims, Defendants also move to dismiss a state law negligence claim that Judge Dale never addressed. The Court will address each claim in turn.


         The pending Motion is a motion for summary judgment. However, Defendants have also argued that Sanchez's Second Amended Complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Court will, therefore, set forth both standards.

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is proper “if the movant shows that 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). This Court's role at summary judgment is not “to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Zetwick v. Cty. of Yolo, 850 F.3d 436, 441 (9th Cir. 2017) (citation omitted). In considering a motion for summary judgment, this Court must “view[] the facts in the non-moving party's favor.” Id. To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the respondent need only present evidence upon which “a reasonable juror drawing all inferences in favor of the respondent could return a verdict in [his or her] favor.” Id. (citation omitted). Accordingly, this Court must enter summary judgment if a party “fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The respondent cannot simply rely on an unsworn affidavit or the pleadings to defeat a motion for summary judgment; rather the respondent must set forth the “specific facts, ” supported by evidence, with “reasonable ...

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