27 F.3d 1346 (8th Cir. 1994), 93-2044, Greiner v. City of Champlin

Docket Nº:93-2044.
Citation:27 F.3d 1346
Party Name:Lori Diane GREINER, Appellant, v. CITY OF CHAMPLIN, a Minnesota Municipal Corporation; Gene H. Kulander, Champlin Chief of Police; Allen Bruns, Champlin Police Sergeant; Robert L. Penney, Champlin Police Officer; Jolene Sander, Champlin Police Officer, Appellees. Mona Belle WULFF, Appellant, v. CITY OF CHAMPLIN, a Minnesota Municipal Corporation; G
Case Date:July 05, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 1346

27 F.3d 1346 (8th Cir. 1994)

Lori Diane GREINER, Appellant,

v.

CITY OF CHAMPLIN, a Minnesota Municipal Corporation; Gene

H. Kulander, Champlin Chief of Police; Allen Bruns,

Champlin Police Sergeant; Robert L. Penney, Champlin Police

Officer; Jolene Sander, Champlin Police Officer, Appellees.

Mona Belle WULFF, Appellant,

v.

CITY OF CHAMPLIN, a Minnesota Municipal Corporation; Gene

H. Kulander, Champlin Chief of Police; Allen Bruns,

Champlin Police Sergeant; Robert L. Penney, Champlin Police

Officer; Jolene Sander, Champlin Police Officer, Appellees.

Kimberly Jo SALO, Appellant,

v.

City of Champlin, a Minnesota Municipal Corporation; Gene

H. Kulander, Champlin Chief of Police; Allen Bruns,

Champlin Police Sergeant; Robert L. Penney, Champlin Police

Officer; Jolene Sander, Champlin Police Officer, Appellees.

Joanne Elaine HYATT, Appellant,

v.

City of Champlin, a Minnesota Municipal Corporation; Gene

H. Kulander, Champlin Chief of Police; Allen Bruns,

Champlin Police Sergeant; Robert L. Penney, Champlin Police

Officer; Jolene Sander, Champlin Police Officer, Appellees.

Shelly Marie OTT, Appellant,

v.

City of Champlin, a Minnesota Municipal Corporation; Gene

H. Kulander, Champlin Chief of Police; Allen Bruns,

Champlin Police Sergeant; Robert L. Penney, Champlin Police

Officer; Jolene Sander, Champlin Police Officer, Appellees.

Robin Ann BARBEAU, Appellant,

v.

CITY OF CHAMPLIN, a Minnesota Municipal Corporation; Gene

H. Kulander, Champlin Chief of Police; Allen Bruns,

Champlin Police Sergeant; Robert L. Penney, Champlin Police

Officer; Jolene Sander, Champlin Police Officer, Appellees.

No. 93-2044.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 5, 1994

Submitted Dec. 15, 1993.

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Robert A. Hill, Minneapolis, MN, argued, for appellant.

Jon K. Iverson, Minneapolis, MN, argued (Paul D. Reuvers, on the brief), for appellee.

Before MORRIS SHEPPARD ARNOLD, Circuit Judge, JOHN R. GIBSON, [*] Senior Circuit Judge, and WOODS, [**] District Judge.

JOHN R. GIBSON, Senior Circuit Judge.

Homeowners Lori Greiner and Mona Wulff and several of their guests 1 appeal from a summary judgment entered against them in their civil rights suit against police officers 2 who came to the Greiner and Wulff house in response to a neighbor's complaint about a loud party, which degenerated into a donnybrook, ending in arrest of all the plaintiffs. Greiner, Wulff and their guests sued the police officers for federal civil rights violations and various state law torts. One guest, Shelly Ott, also brought a Minnesota Human Rights Act claim. The district court held the federal claims were barred by qualified immunity and the state claims by official immunity. It held that the Minnesota Human Rights Act claim was not supported by evidence sufficient to make a prima facie case. Accordingly, the court entered summary judgment for the defendants. Greiner v. City of Champlin, 816 F.Supp. 528 (D.Minn.1993). On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the qualified and official immunity holdings were wrong and that there was prima facie evidence of a Minnesota Human Rights Act claim. We affirm the judgment of the district court, with the exception of its disposition of Ott's claim under the Minnesota Human

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Rights Act, which we reverse and remand.

The parties' accounts of the facts differ in many important respects. Because of the procedural posture of the case, we recite the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, but also take into account factual admissions from the plaintiffs' depositions. See Camfield Tires, Inc. v. Michelin Tire Corp, 719 F.2d 1361, 1364-66 (8th Cir.1983).

Greiner and Wulff own a house together in Champlin, Minnesota. On the evening of July 13, 1991 they had about twenty people over for a back-yard barbecue. They offered beer and schnapps to drink, and some of the guests drank a substantial amount of beer ("seven to 12"; "six to eight minimum"; "eight or nine beers") as well as schnapps over the course of the evening. Shortly after one o'clock in the morning, a neighbor called the police complaining of noise from the party. Officer Jolene Sander responded to the call with Reserve Officer Nozzarella. Sander spoke to Greiner and Wulff, telling them to quiet the party down. Sander told them that if the police got a second complaint, they would issue a citation and break up the party. Sometime before 2:00 a.m., the police received a second call from the neighbor, and Sander and Nozzarella returned to the party. Officer Nozzarella stated that before going up to the house, he could hear loud talking and laughter. Sergeant Allen Bruns and Officer Robert Penney arrived in another car.

When the police arrived the second time, many of the guests had already left. As Sander approached the house, flashlight in hand, she shone the flashlight in Barbeau's face and left it there even after Barbeau asked her politely to move the light. Officer Bruns began telling the guests to leave. However, the guests refused to leave and instead began telling the police to leave. According to Lori Greiner, "[A] lot of the [guests] moved from the backyard up into the garage [where the police were] and people were starting to say that [the police] were trespassing, that they had no right to be there." Several of the guests told police that they would not leave because they had been invited, variously, to "spend the evening," to "stay all night," to "stay," and at least one said she would not leave because she was drunk. Shelly Ott told police "she wasn't going to fucking leave."

Barbeau advised the other partygoers that they could avoid having to obey the police orders by going in the house: "I was telling everybody to get in the house because, to my knowledge, once we were in the house there wasn't anything they could do to us." Barbeau testified:

Q: Do you remember the officers telling you not to go in the house?

A: Yes.

Q: But that was ignored as well?

A. Yes.

Ott states she was not aware of instructions not to enter the house:

Q: Did the officers say anything to you when you came back in [the house]?

A: Absolutely not. They didn't say a word.

All the guests made it into the house, except for Joanne Hyatt.

Meanwhile, in the garage Officer Penney and Joanne Hyatt argued, as he told her to leave and she refused, first saying she was waiting for a ride and later changing her mind and saying she was going in the house to spend the night. Hyatt admits she had been quite vocal earlier, telling police they were trespassing and that if they wanted to talk to the partygoers, they could go out in the street to do so. As Hyatt began to go inside the house despite Officer Penney's orders, she says that he restrained her with a chokehold. She tried to pull away from Penney, saying "Get your fucking hands off me." Hyatt says Penney threw her down, knelt on her and handcuffed her.

As this happened, Sergeant Bruns announced that the police were coming inside the house and opened the door of the house. When the door opened Shelly Ott saw Hyatt, her roommate, face down on the pavement, handcuffed. Ott became "upset." As Ott ran down the stairs to the door, Sergeant Bruns grabbed Ott at the door and tried to pull her out; Robin Barbeau, Kim Salo and Karen Johnson (another guest) tried to pull

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Ott back into the house. Ott said she called Bruns a "fucking son of a bitch" twice at that point. Barbeau described the struggle: "Shelly was kind of moving around a little bit too much. She wasn't swinging or poking or pushing, but she was vocal and at that point she was swearing." In the struggle, Ott's shirt was pulled over her head. Bruns handcuffed her and she asked that her shirt be pulled down. To this Bruns reportedly said: "Hey, we are all women here." Later, after she had been taken into the garage, Reserve Officer Nozzarella pulled Ott's shirt back into place.

Barbeau also claims that after Bruns handcuffed her inside the house, Officer Nozzarella brought her to the garage and left her standing in the middle of the garage. Barbeau's finger was injured in...

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