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Tracy Motelewski v. Maui Police Department

August 30, 2012

TRACY MOTELEWSKI,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MAUI POLICE DEPARTMENT, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barry M. Kurren United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S AND DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S AND DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Before the Court is Defendant County of Maui's ("the County") Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 34), and Plaintiff Tracy Motelewski's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. # 45). After careful consideration of the motions, the supporting and opposing memoranda, the attached documentation, and the arguments of counsel, the Court grants both motions in part.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are not disputed. On August 18, 2008, Plaintiff was in a parked vehicle when three County police officers approached. (Pl.'s Mot. For Summ. J. ("MSJ") Ex. 1, at 9-12.) Officers Steven Gunderson ("Gunderson") and Kristopher Galon ("Galon") were on duty when they approached. (Gunderson Decl. at ¶ 3; Galon's Answer to FAC, Doc. # 23, at ¶ 10.) Gunderson did not have a warrant to search Plaintiff's car, and threatened to impound her car if she did not consent to his search. (Pl.'s MSJ Exs. 2, 6) Gunderson, Galon, and another officer searched Plaintiff's car without probable cause and recovered a bag belonging to Plaintiff's male passenger. (Gunderson Decl. at ¶¶ 5, 8; Pl.'s MSJ Ex. 2 at 2.) Gunderson confiscated a white powdery substance, $500 from Plaintiff's purse, and pipes. (Gunderson Decl. at ¶ 6, Gunderson's Answer to FAC at ¶ 9.) Plaintiff was arrested and detained overnight at the police station. (Pl.'s MSJ Ex. 1 at 10-11.)

Plaintiff was released from custody the next morning and started walking home. (Id. at 11.) Galon, who was on-duty, approached Plaintiff in a police car with flashing lights and offered her a ride. (Id.) Galon was not authorized to transport Plaintiff without permission from his supervisor. (Decl. of Gary Yabuta ¶ 11, Doc. # 35-2.) He was also required to provide dispatch with the vehicle's mileage and destination prior to transporting Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Galon did not request authorization to transport Plaintiff or contact dispatch with the mileage of his vehicle. (Id. at ¶ 13.)

Plaintiff entered the car, and Galon coerced her into non-consensual sexual behavior. (Pl.'s MSJ Ex. 1 at 12.) Plaintiff reported the incident to the Maui Police Department ("MPD"). After investigation, Galon and Gunderson were terminated from employment at the MPD, and Galon pled guilty in federal district court to sexually assaulting Plaintiff. (Pl.'s MSJ Exs. 4 & 5; Gunderson Decl. at ¶ 10.) Gunderson pled guilty to second degree theft and tampering with physical evidence. (Gunderson Decl. at ¶ 10.)

Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint asserts the following claims against the County: 1) negligent supervision; 2) negligent training; 3) respondeat superior; 4) gross negligence; and 5) violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. # 1 Ex. 1 at 8-13.) The County's motion for summary judgment asserts that: 1) Plaintiff's § 1983 claims fail because Plaintiff has no evidence of custom or inadequate training and supervision; 2) Plaintiff's respondeat superior claim fails because Gunderson and Galon's actions were outside the scope of employment; and 3) Plaintiff's negligent supervision and training claims fail for lack of proof. (Doc. # 34.) Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment asserts that, as a matter of law, the actions of Galon and Gunderson occurred within the scope of employment because her illegal arrest "set the stage" for her sexual assault. (Doc. # 45.)

As discussed below, the Court grants both motions in part. Specifically, the Court: 1) grants Plaintiff's request for additional discovery under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("FRCP") Rule 56 for her negligent training and supervision claims; 2) grants the County's motion regarding Plaintiff's § 1983 claim regarding municipal custom; and 3) grants both motions in part with respect to Plaintiff's respondeat superior claim.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion for summary judgment may not be granted unless the court determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact, and that the undisputed facts warrant judgment for the moving party as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In assessing whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, courts must resolve all ambiguities and draw all factual inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); see also Cline v. Indus. Maint. Eng'g & Contracting Co., 200 F.3d 1223, 1228 (9th Cir. 2000).

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court's function is not to try issues of fact, but rather, it is only to determine whether there are issues to be tried. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. If there is any evidence in the record from which a reasonable inference could be drawn in favor of the non-moving party on a material issue of fact, summary judgment is improper. See T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir.1987).

DISCUSSION

I. The Court Grants the County's Motion With Respect To Plaintiff's ยง 1983 Claim Regarding ...


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