Drevdahl v. City of Fairfield, 2:20-cv-0859 DB

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
PartiesJEFFREY DREVDAHL, Plaintiff, v. CITY OF FAIRFIELD, municipal corporation; J. WILLIAMS, in his individual capacity and as a police officer for the Fairfield Police Department, Defendants.
Docket Number2:20-cv-0859 DB
Decision Date02 February 2022


CITY OF FAIRFIELD, municipal corporation; J. WILLIAMS, in his individual capacity and as a police officer for the Fairfield Police Department, Defendants.

No. 2:20-cv-0859 DB

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 2, 2022



Each of the parties in the above-captioned case has consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge. See U.S.C. § 636(c). Accordingly, this matter has been reassigned to the undersigned for all purposes. Pending before the Court are plaintiff's partial motion for summary judgment and defendants' motion for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 22 & 32.) For the reasons explained below the motions are denied.


Plaintiff, proceeding through counsel, commenced this action on April 27, 2020, by filing a complaint and paying the required filing fee. (ECF No. 1.) The complaint alleges that on September 7, 2019, plaintiff was walking back from a laundry mat on North Texas Street in Fairfield, California and noticed defendant Fairfield Police Officer J. Williams' police car was


illegally parked. (Compl. (ECF No. 1.) at 4.[1]) Defendant Williams observed plaintiff's conduct and inquired about it. (Id.) After plaintiff explained his actions defendant Williams accused plaintiff of loitering and ordered plaintiff to leave the parking lot. (Id.) Plaintiff explained that he was patronizing the laundry mat. (Id.)

Defendant Williams then drove his vehicle towards plaintiff and opened the door, striking plaintiff. (Id.) After exiting the vehicle, defendant Williams slapped plaintiff's phone from his hand, “choke-slammed” plaintiff on the concrete, and put his full body weight on top of plaintiff. (Id.) This interaction was recorded on plaintiff's phone. (Id.) As a result of defendant's actions, plaintiff suffered physical and emotional injuries. (Id. at 5.) Pursuant to these allegations the complaint alleges claims for excessive force, violation of California Civil Code § 52.1, battery, negligence, false imprisonment, and false arrest. (Id. at 5-10.)

Defendants Williams and the City of Fairfield filed an answer on July 23, 2020. (ECF No. 9.) Thereafter, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, which were fully briefed and taken under submission. (ECF Nos. 22, 26, 29, 30, 32, 41-43.)


Defendants' statement of undisputed facts is supported by citation to declarations and video exhibits. According to defendants' statement of undisputed facts on September 7, 2019, at approximately 8:00 or 9:00 a.m., defendant Williams was conducting a security check at the business complex located at 1972 North Texas Street in Fairfield. Due to issues with loitering the property owner requested police enforcement of the law against trespassing at the property. Defendant Williams parked his vehicle “such that it was not fully within the white lines of the marked parking stall.” (Defs.' SUDF (ECF No. 32-6) 1, 5, 18.[3])


While seated in the driver's seat, defendant Williams noticed plaintiff walk in front of defendant's vehicle while pointing a phone camera at defendant. After walking around defendant's vehicle, plaintiff stopped on the right rear passenger side. After “20 seconds” defendant backed the “vehicle away so that he could turn to address Plaintiff.” After “30 to 40 seconds” defendant “backed up his vehicle, drove forward towards Plaintiff's location and told him, ‘Don't loiter on this property, okay?'” (Defs.' SUDF (ECF No. 32-6) 24, 28, 29, 30.)

Plaintiff responded by saying “I'm gonna stand right fucking here!” as he moved towards defendant Williams' open window. Defendant Williams opened his car door to exit his vehicle and “the door hit Plaintiff when Williams opened it.” Plaintiff then yelled, “Don't fucking hit me!” and defendant Williams instructed plaintiff to sit down. Plaintiff refused to sit down and said, “No, I'm taking off.” Defendant Williams again instructed plaintiff to sit on the ground. Plaintiff informed defendant Williams that Williams' vehicle was not in park and was rolling. Defendant Williams reached in and put the vehicle in park. (Defs.' SUDF (ECF No. 32-6) 33, 35, 37, 39, 40.)

Plaintiff began walking towards defendant Williams while demanding to know what crime plaintiff had committed. Defendant Williams knew “that the laundromat was located at a separate property down the street.” After plaintiff put his camera in defendant Williams' face, defendant Williams said “‘You don't get in my face like that' and grabbed Plaintiff's right wrist[.]” Plaintiff “pulled away” and defendant Williams “pulled [plaintiff] to the ground.” With plaintiff thrashing around and screaming that “he had laundry, ” defendant Williams “straddled Plaintiff's buttocks area by placing a knee on each side of Plaintiff's hip area[.]” Plaintiff eventually complied with defendant Williams' demand that plaintiff put his hands behind his back. Plaintiff moved to a seated position and defendant Williams “moved Plaintiff back down to a prone position on the ground.” (Defs.' SUDF (ECF No. 32-6) 41, 43, 46, 48, 49.)

After determining that plaintiff was unarmed defendant Williams arrested plaintiff “for failing to obey a law enforcement officer's commands and physically resisting in violation of Penal Code § 148.” “The DA declined to file charges against Plaintiff as the charges were


‘Deferred for revocation of parole/probation, [in] Riverside County.” (Defs.' SUDF (ECF No. 32-6) 53, 60.)


Local Rule 260(b) rule requires a party opposing summary judgment to (1) reproduce each fact enumerated in the moving party's statement of undisputed facts and (2) expressly admit or deny each fact. Under that provision the party opposing summary judgment is also required to cite evidence in support of each denial. Here, each party has submitted an opposition that complies with the Local Rule. (ECF Nos. 26 & 41.) Rather that reproduce each parties' opposition, the court will discuss those oppositions below if necessary to analyze the cross-motions for summary judgment.


Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party “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). Under summary judgment practice, the moving party “initially bears the burden of proving the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” In re Oracle Corp. Securities Litigation, 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). The moving party may accomplish this by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admission, interrogatory answers, or other materials” or by showing that such materials “do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B). When the non-moving party bears the burden of proof at trial, “the moving party need only prove that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Oracle Corp., 627 F.3d at 387 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B).

Indeed, summary judgment should be entered, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who 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. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. “[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Id. In such a circumstance, summary judgment should be granted, “so long as whatever is before the district court demonstrates that the standard for entry of summary judgment . . . is satisfied.” Id. at 323.

If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does exist. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). In attempting to establish the existence of this factual dispute, the opposing party may not rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings but is required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support of its contention that the dispute exists. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 n.11. The opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987), and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Wool v. Tandem Computers, Inc., 818 F.2d 1433, 1436 (9th Cir. 1987).

In the endeavor to establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that “the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.” T.W. Elec. Serv., 809 F.2d at 631. Thus, the “purpose of summary judgment is to ‘pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.'” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citations omitted).

“In evaluating the evidence to determine whether there is a genuine issue of fact, ” the court...

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