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Kaahu v. Randall

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

January 18, 2018

JONAH K. KAAHU and DONNA LIAKA MARIE KAAHU, Plaintiffs,
v.
MARC A. RANDALL; SCOTT JONES VALDEZ; ANDRE PHILLIP CARREIRA; RYAN NISHIMURA; JOHN PATRICK VINES; CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU, Defendants.

         ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS MARC A. RANDALL, SCOTT JONES VALDEZ, ANDRE PHILLIP CARREIRA, JOHN PATRICK VINES, AND RYAN NISHIMURA'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 161) and GRANTING, IN PART, AND DENYING, IN PART, DEFENDANT CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 159)

          HELEN GILLMOR JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Jonah and Donna Kaahu filed a First Amended Complaint against the City and County of Honolulu and Honolulu police officers Marc Randall, Scott Valdez, Andre Carreira, Ryan Nishimura, and John Vines.

         The First Amended Complaint asserts causes of action arising from the August 22, 2012 arrest of Plaintiff Jonah Kaahu. Following his arrest, Kaahu was indicted and detained for over 150 days until a Hawaii State Circuit Court Judge dismissed the indictment with prejudice.

         Plaintiffs have brought claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged constitutional violations along with state law claims for negligent hiring/training/supervision, assault and battery, negligence, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium, false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution.

         The Defendant Officers and Defendant City and County filed separate Motions for Summary Judgment.

         Defendants Marc A. Randall, Scott Jones Valdez, Andre Phillip Carreira, John Patrick Vines, and Ryan Nishimura's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 161) is DENIED.

         Defendant City and County of Honolulu's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 159) is GRANTED, IN PART, AND DENIED, IN PART.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On June 9, 2014, Plaintiffs Jonah K. Kaahu and Donna Liaka Marie Kaahu filed a Complaint. (ECF No. 1).

         On September 10, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a NOTICE OF DISMISSAL AS TO ALL CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS HONOLULU POLICE DEPARTMENT, JOHN DOES 1-25, JANE DOES 1-25 AND DOE ENTITIES 1-25. (ECF No. 22).

         On March 15, 2016, the Court held a Status Conference and continued the trial date and the trial-related deadlines at the Parties' request. (ECF No. 45).

         On June 1, 2016, Defendants filed Motions for Summary Judgment. (ECF Nos. 52, 54).

         On August 1, 2016, the Court issued an ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE. (ECF No. 88). The Court required the Parties to file memoranda concerning the representation of counsel for both Plaintiffs and Defendants pursuant to the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct. (Id.)

         On August 8, 2016, the Court held a hearing and stayed the case pending resolution on the possible conflicts. (ECF No. 96).

         On February 6, 2017, Plaintiffs' attorney, Myles Breiner, filed an EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO FILE WITHDRAWAL AND SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS JONAH AND DONNA KAAHU. (ECF No. 99).

         On February 9, 2017, the Court granted Attorney Breiner's Application for leave to withdraw and lifted the stay on the proceedings. (ECF No. 100).

         On February 14, 2017, Attorney Terrance Revere was substituted as counsel for Plaintiffs. (ECF No. 102).

         On June 13, 2017, the Court held a Status Conference. (ECF No. 110).

         On June 29, 2017, Defendants withdrew their pending Motions for Summary Judgment. (ECF Nos. 115, 116).

         On August 15, 2017, Defendants filed Motions for Summary Judgment. (ECF Nos. 131, 133).

         On August 22, 2017, the Court granted the Parties' STIPULATION FOR DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE OF DEFENDANT LOUIS M. KEALOHA ONLY. (ECF No. 139).

         On September 15, 2017, Defendants withdrew their Motions for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 153, 154).

         On September 18, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT. (ECF No. 156).

         On November 2, 2017, Defendant City and County of Honolulu filed DEFENDANT CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 159) and a CONCISE STATEMENT OF FACTS (ECF No. 160).

         On the same date, the Defendant Honolulu police officers filed DEFENDANTS MARC A. RANDALL, SCOTT JONES VALDEZ, ANDRE PHILLIP CARREIRA, JOHN PATRICK VINES, AND RYAN NISHIMURA'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 161) and a CONCISE STATEMENT OF FACTS (ECF No. 162).

         On November 20, 2017, Plaintiffs filed PLAINTIFFS' MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MARC A. RANDALL, SCOTT JONES VALDEZ, ANDRE PHILLIP CARREIRA, JOHN PATRICK VINES, AND RYAN NISHIMURA'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 165) and a CONCISE STATEMENT OF FACTS IN OPPOSITION (ECF No. 166).

         Also on November 20, 2017, Plaintiffs filed PLAINTIFFS' MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU'S MOTION TO FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 167) and a CONCISE STATEMENT OF FACTS IN OPPOSITION (ECF No. 168).

         On December 4, 2017, Defendant City and County of Honolulu filed its REPLY. (ECF No. 197).

         On the same date, the Defendant Honolulu police officers filed their REPLY. (ECF No. 198).

         On December 12, 2017, the Court held a hearing on the Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 199).

         BACKGROUND

         The Parties agree that at approximately 5:50 p.m., on August 22, 2012, Officer Marc A. Randall, Officer Scott Jones Valdez, Corporal Ryan Nishimura, Sergeant Andre Phillip Carreira, and Lieutenant John Patrick Vines (referred to collectively as “Defendant Officers”) responded to a call concerning a disturbance involving several males near Giovanni's Shrimp Truck located on the North Shore of Oahu in Kahuku. (Declaration of Marc A. Randall (“Randall Decl.”) at ¶ 4, ECF No. 162-3; Declaration of Ryan Nishimura (“Nishimura Decl.”) at ¶ 6, ECF No. 162-2; Declaration of John P. Vines (“Vines Decl.”) at ¶ 4, ECF No. 162-5).

         The dispatch reported to the Defendant Officers that there were possible weapons involved. (Randall Decl. at ¶ 4, ECF No. 162-3; Vines Decl. at ¶ 4, ECF No. 162-5).

         There was a crowd of people and numerous vehicles in the area when the Defendant Officers arrived. (Randall Decl. at ¶ 6, ECF No. 162-3; Vines Decl. at ¶ 7, ECF No. 162-5; Declaration of Jonah Kaahu (“Kaahu Decl.”) at ¶¶ 8-18, ECF No. 166-1). Officer Randall arrived first and stated that he “noticed multiple people running in different directions and shouting.” (Randall Decl. at ¶ 6, ECF No. 162-3).

         The Defendant Officers observed Plaintiff Jonah Kaahu holding a shovel and another individual holding a stick. (Randall Decl. at ¶ 6, ECF No. 162-3; Nishimura Decl. at ¶¶ 9-10, ECF No. 162-2; Kaahu Decl. at ¶ 22, ECF No. 166-1). Defendant Officers Randall and Valdez focused their attention on Kaahu. (Nishimura Decl. at ¶ 12, ECF No. 162-2; Randall Decl. at ¶¶ 7-8, ECF No. 162-3; Declaration of Scott Valdez (“Valdez Decl.”) at ¶¶ 7-10, ECF No. 162-4). Officer Valdez physically forced Kaahu to the ground. (Valdez Decl. at ¶ 11, ECF No. 162-4).

         Kaahu was arrested by the Defendant Officers after being sprayed with pepper spray. (Kaahu Decl. at ¶¶ 37, 38, ECF No. 166-1; Randall Decl. at ¶ 17, ECF No. 162-3).

         Kaahu was indicted for state law crimes arising from the incident with the Defendant Officers. More than a year later, on December 19, 2013, a Hawaii State Circuit Court Judge dismissed the indictment with prejudice. The Circuit Court Judge stated that the Honolulu Police Department failed to turn over “crucial documents” that resulted in “a violation of [Kaahu's] due process rights.” (Transcript of Proceedings in State of Hawaii v. Jonah Kaahu, Cr. No. 12-1-1384, dated December 23, 2013, at p. 7, ECF No. 166-32). Kaahu was detained for a total of more than 150 days between August 22, 2012 and the dismissal of the indictment on December 19, 2013. (Kaahu Decl. at ¶ 38, ECF No. 166-1).

         The Parties disagree as to a number of events.

         Plaintiffs' Position:

         Plaintiffs assert that Jonah Kaahu was shoveling gravel when a group of young males arrived in a white truck and tried to pick a fight with him. (Kaahu Decl. at ¶¶ 7-11, ECF No. 166-1).

         Kaahu did not know any of the people in the truck and did not know why they wanted to fight. (Id.) Kaahu saw one of the men pull out a knife and lunge at him. (Id. at ¶ 12). Kaahu states that he swung the shovel at the males to defend himself, his co-workers, and family members. (Id. at ¶¶ 14, 19).

         Kaahu's cousin, Keoni, claims the group of males were members of the “North Shore Boyz” and one of them was flashing a gun. (Declaration of Keoni Kaahu (“Keoni Decl.”) at ¶¶ 16-17, ECF No. 166-4).

         Janice Souza, Plaintiff Jonah Kaahu's sister-in-law and the manager of the shrimp truck, called 911 to report the incident, and the operator informed her that they had already received calls and that officers were dispatched to the scene. (Declaration of Janice Souza, (“Souza Decl.”) at ¶¶ 20-25, ECF No. 166-3).

         The men got back in the white truck and left when a black truck pulled up and several other males exited and attempted to fight with Kaahu. (Kaahu Decl. at ¶¶ 14-17, ECF No. 166-1).

         Plaintiffs state that when the Defendant Officers arrived, Kaahu and others in the crowd told the officers that the males from the North Shore Boyz were the aggressors. (Id. at ¶ 20; Keoni Decl. at ¶¶ 29-32, ECF No. 166-4). Kaahu claims the Defendant Officers targeted him instead of the aggressors who were still present. (Kaahu Decl. at ¶¶ 20-22, ECF No. 166-1).

         Kaahu states that he dropped the shovel when the Defendant Officers came at him with firearms and tasers drawn. (Id. at ¶ 22). He states that he ran towards the back of the parking lot then stopped in his tracks and put his hands up as he had not done anything wrong. (Id. at ¶¶ 23-24).

         Kaahu asserts that Officer Valdez tackled him to the ground and punched him in the head “with all of his might.” (Kaahu Decl. at ¶ 25, ECF No. 166-1; Kaahu Interview at p. 42, ECF No. 166-1).

         Kaahu claims that the Defendant Officers used excessive force including threatening the use of deadly force, punching him in the face, punching him in the side of the head with handcuffs “brass knuckles style, ” and choking him. (Kaahu Decl. at ¶¶ 25-30, ECF No. 166-1; Interview of Jonah Kaahu dated August 23, 2012, at pp. 42-45, ECF No. 166-1). Kaahu states that the Defendant Officers piled on top of him and he told them he could not breathe. (Kaahu Decl. at ¶¶ 27-29, ECF No. 166-1). Kaahu claims that in response, an officer placed him in a chokehold and shoved his face in the ground. (Id. at ¶ 29). Officer Carreira then pepper sprayed Kaahu in the face.

         Kaahu alleges the Defendant Officers provided false testimony to facilitate bringing criminal charges against him in state court. (Kaahu Interview at pp. 45-55, ECF No. 166-1; Kaahu Decl. at ¶¶ 33, 38, ECF No. 166-1).

         The Defendants' Position:

         The Defendant Officers claim that when they arrived at the scene Plaintiff Jonah Kaahu was holding a five-foot long shovel and another individual was holding a stick. (Randall Decl. at ¶ 7, ECF No. 162-3; Valdez Decl. at ¶¶ 7-9, ECF No. 162-4). The Defendant Officers told the individuals to drop their weapons and the individual holding the stick complied. (Nishimura Decl. at ¶¶ 11-12, ECF No. 162-2). Defendants claim Kaahu refused to comply with the Defendant Officers and instead swung the shovel at the officers and ran away. (Declaration of Andre Phillip Carreira (“Carreira Decl.”) at ¶ 9, ECF No. 162-6; Randall Decl. at ¶ 10, ECF No. 162-3; Valdez Decl. at ¶ 10, ECF No. 162-4; Vines Decl. at ¶ 10, ECF No. 162-5).

         Officer Valdez states that he chased Kaahu who attempted to evade capture. (Valdez Decl. at ¶¶ 10-11, ECF No. 162-4). Officer Valdez claims he “caught Jonah with my right arm and forced him to the ground. Both Jonah and I fell to the ground as a result.” (Id. at ¶ 11).

         The Defendant Officers allege Kaahu resisted arrest, held his arms under his body, swung a fist at one of the officers, and intentionally bit Officer Randall, breaking the skin. (Randall Decl. at ¶¶ 15-17, ECF No. 162-3).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). To defeat summary judgment there must be sufficient evidence that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Nidds v. Schindler Elevator Corp., 113 F.3d 912, 916 (9th Cir. 1997).

         The moving party has the initial burden of “identifying for the court the portions of the materials on file that it believes demonstrate the absence of any genuine issue of material fact.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). The moving party, however, has no burden to negate or disprove matters on which the opponent will have the burden of proof at trial. The moving party need not produce any evidence at all on matters for which it does not have the burden of proof. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. The moving party must show, however, that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that he or she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. That burden is met by pointing out to the district court that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case. Id.

         If the moving party meets its burden, then the opposing party may not defeat a motion for summary judgment in the absence of probative evidence tending to support its legal theory. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v. Savage, 611 F.2d 270, 282 (9th Cir. 1979). The opposing party must present admissible evidence showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Brinson v. Linda Rose Joint Venture, 53 F.3d 1044, 1049 (9th Cir. 1995). “If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.” Nidds, 113 F.3d at 916 (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986)).

         The Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Martin, 872 F.2d 319, 320 (9th Cir. 1989). Opposition evidence may consist of declarations, admissions, evidence obtained through discovery, and matters judicially noticed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. The opposing party cannot, however, stand on its pleadings or simply assert that it will be able to discredit the movant's evidence at trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); T.W. Elec. Serv., 809 F.2d at 630. The opposing party cannot rest on mere allegations or denials. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Gasaway v. Nw. Mut. Life Ins. Co., 26 F.3d 957, 959-60 (9th Cir. 1994). When the non-moving party relies only on its own affidavits to oppose summary judgment, it cannot rely on conclusory allegations unsupported by factual data to create an issue of material fact. Hansen v. United States, 7 F.3d 137, 138 (9th Cir. 1993); see also Nat'l Steel Corp. v. Golden Eagle Ins. Co., 121 F.3d 496, 502 (9th Cir. 1997).

         ANALYSIS

         Plaintiffs Jonah and Donna Kaahu (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) assert multiple causes of action against the City and County of Honolulu and five Honolulu Police Officers: Officer Marc Randall, Officer Scott Valdez, Sergeant Andre Carreira, Corporal Ryan Nishimura, and Lieutenant John Vines (collectively, “the Defendant Officers”).

         Plaintiffs are suing the Defendant Officers in their individual and official capacities.

         CAUSES OF ACTION IN PLAINTIFFS' FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Plaintiffs label their claims as causes of action.

         FEDERAL QUESTIONS:

Cause of Action 1: Excessive Force pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Stated by: Plaintiff Jonah Kaahu
Stated against: The City and County of Honolulu and Marc Randall, Scott Valdez, Andre Carreira, Ryan Nishimura, and John Vines
Cause of Action 2: Unreasonable Pretrial Detention pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Stated by: Plaintiff Jonah Kaahu
Stated against: The City and County of Honolulu and Marc Randall, Scott Valdez, Andre Carreira, Ryan Nishimura, and John Vines
Cause of Action 3: Loss of Companionship pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
Stated by: Plaintiff Donna Kaahu
Stated against: The City and County of Honolulu and Marc Randall, Scott Valdez, Andre Carreira, Ryan Nishimura, and John Vines
Causes of Action 4 and 5: Municipal Liability pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Monell for its policy/custom and failure to train/supervise
Stated by: Plaintiffs Jonah and Donna Kaahu
Stated against: The City and County of Honolulu
STATE LAW CAUSES OF ACTION:
Cause of Action 6: Negligent Hiring/Training/Supervision
Stated by: Plaintiff Jonah and Donna Kaahu
Stated against: The City and County of Honolulu
Cause of Action 7: Assault and Battery
Stated by: Plaintiff Jonah Kaahu
Stated against: The City and County of Honolulu and Marc Randall, Scott Valdez, Andre Carreira, Ryan Nishimura, and John Vines
Cause of Action 8: Negligence
Stated by: Plaintiff Jonah Kaahu
Stated against: The City and County of Honolulu and Marc Randall, Scott Valdez, Andre Carreira, Ryan Nishimura, ...

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