Marshall v. Columbia Lea Regional Hosp.

Citation345 F.3d 1157
Decision Date29 September 2003
Docket NumberNo. 02-2190.,No. 02-2184.,02-2184.,02-2190.
PartiesJimmie MARSHALL, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. COLUMBIA LEA REGIONAL HOSPITAL; Nurse Jane Doe; City of Hobbs; Captain Tony Knott; Sergeant Walter Roye; Officer Rodney Porter, Defendants-Appellees.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)

Jimmie Marshall, pro se as Plaintiff-Appellant.

Barbara A. Patterson and Rodney M. Schumacher, Atwood, Malone, Turner & Sabin P.A., Roswell, New Mexico, for Defendants-Appellees Nurse Jane Doe and Columbia Lea Regional Hospital.

Gregory L. Biehler and Zachary S. Rigdon, Beall & Biehler, Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Defendants-Appellees City of Hobbs, Captain Tony Knott, Sergeant Walter Roye and Officer Rodney Porter.

Before LUCERO, BALDOCK, and McCONNELL, Circuit Judges.

McCONNELL, Circuit Judge.

This case involves troubling allegations regarding possible police misconduct by an officer in Hobbs, New Mexico. We are not in a position to judge the truth of those allegations at this early stage in the litigation, but we conclude that the district court acted prematurely in granting summary judgment on all claims.1

In December, 1996, police officer Rodney Porter stopped Plaintiff-Appellant Jimmie Marshall, an African-American part-time resident of Hobbs, New Mexico, for an alleged traffic violation. Officer Porter arrested Marshall, administered field sobriety tests, and took him to the Columbia Lea Regional Hospital for a blood test. Among other legal claims, Mr. Marshall alleges that the traffic stop and arrest were made on account of his race and without probable cause, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause, and that the coerced blood test violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment and state tort law. The defendants are Officer Porter, who conducted the traffic stop and arrest, and Sergeant Walter Roye, who ordered the blood test. Additionally, plaintiff contends that Hobbs police chief Tony Knott and the City of Hobbs are liable for those actions under supervisory and municipal liability theories respectively. We will refer to these parties collectively as the "Hobbs Defendants." Other defendants include nurse Iris Goad and her employer, Columbia Lea Regional Hospital (the "Medical Defendants"), on account of their involvement in the blood test. Plaintiff seeks damages and other appropriate relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

In a pair of orders dated June 18, 2002, the district court granted summary judgment for the defendants as to all claims. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the judgment of the district court insofar as it granted summary judgment in favor of the Hobbs Defendants on the Equal Protection claim and the Fourth Amendment blood-test claim, and remand for further proceedings on these and the related state law claims. With respect to the remaining claims against the Hobbs Defendants, as well as all claims asserted against the Medical Defendants, we affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment.

I. Background
A. Mr. Marshall's Arrest and Blood Test

On December 26, 1996, Jimmie Marshall, an African-American self-employed electrician, was driving his gold Toyota pickup in Hobbs, New Mexico, when he noticed a police car parked by the side of the road with its lights off. According to Mr. Marshall, the police officer — later identified as Officer Rodney Porter — followed his pickup for several blocks. While Mr. Marshall was stopped at an intersection with his left-turn signal blinking, Officer Porter pulled up alongside the pickup and "gaz[ed] intently at [Marshall's] face," which Marshall infers was for the purpose of ascertaining his race. Officer Porter contends that Mr. Marshall failed to stop at the stop sign, which Mr. Marshall denies. Officer Porter then activated his emergency lights, but Mr. Marshall continued to drive for more than two miles before coming to a stop at his residence. Mr. Marshall claims that he evaded the officer for several miles because he was fearful to stop his vehicle outside of the presence of witnesses, on account of the reputation of the Hobbs Police Department for racist practices. At that time, Mr. Marshall did not know Officer Porter and did not have any information about him. In the criminal complaint filed as a result of the incident, Officer Porter stated that Mr. Marshall accelerated to 100 miles per hour, drove through a four-way stop, and weaved from lane to lane, which Marshall denies. However, Officer Porter made no mention of these allegations in the affidavit he filed in this case describing the events of December 26, 1996, nor were they mentioned in Defendants' later pleadings.

On the street in front of Mr. Marshall's residence, the two men emerged from their vehicles. Officer Porter had drawn his pistol. His first words were to accuse Mr. Marshall of being on crack, which Marshall has consistently denied. Defendants have proffered no evidence in support of this accusation. Officer Porter states that Mr. Marshall had the odor of alcohol on his breath, which Marshall does not deny, stating that he had imbibed one drink with his brother Alfred. Officer Porter arrested Mr. Marshall on various charges, including the traffic violation, driving under the influence, and resisting arrest. On the written citation form, in the space for indicating the gender of the person receiving the citation, Officer Porter wrote "B/M," presumably meaning black male.

After arresting Mr. Marshall, Officer Porter proceeded to search Marshall's truck. The search revealed a .40 caliber pistol under the driver's seat (apparently lawful), and Officer Porter claimed also to have found a small amount of a "green leafy substance," a contention Marshall denies. Mr. Marshall was taken to the city jail, where several sobriety tests were performed on him. Mr. Marshall passed two breathalyzer tests, but had difficulty completing the recitation of the alphabet (the "ABC test"). There is conflicting testimony about whether the horizontal gaze stymosis test was administered, and whether Mr. Marshall passed the finger-number test.2

Officer Porter then transported Mr. Marshall to the Columbia Lea Regional Hospital for blood testing. Mr. Marshall claims his request to put on his shoes was refused, despite the winter weather, and that his socks became soaked with urine that had pooled on the back floor of the police car. While waiting for Sergeant Roye to arrive at the hospital, Officer Porter interrogated the handcuffed Mr. Marshall for over twenty minutes, again accusing him of being on crack. ("I know you came from a crack house. You might as well admit it, because I know you went there to get some crack.") During this interrogation Mr. Marshall stated that the blood test might test positive for marijuana.

Thereafter, Sergeant Roye and Nurse Iris Goad entered the room. When Nurse Goad approached Mr. Marshall, he said, "Ma`am, you don't have my consent oral or written to take my blood. But if you're going — and I rather you not stick me with that needle. But if you're go going to take my blood, I'm not going to resist, but you don't have my consent oral or written." At that point Sergeant Roye told Nurse Goad, "Go-ahead and give it to him. I'll consent." Mr. Marshall then held his handcuffed arms in front of him for the blood test. The record contains a "consent form," initialed by Officer Porter, which states: "Refused to sign. Gave verbal consent." Two vials of blood were taken. The laboratory tests subsequently found no evidence of alcohol or other illegal drugs, but revealed the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in Marshall's bloodstream.

After the events in the hospital, Mr. Marshall was returned to the jail, where he was confined for several hours before his mother obtained his release on bail. Later, he was charged in a criminal complaint with (i) possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), (ii) resisting, evading or obstructing a police officer, (iii) negligent use of a firearm (possession while intoxicated), (iv) reckless driving, (v) running a stop sign, and (vi) driving under the influence. In May of 1997, the Assistant District Attorney for Lea County entered a nolle prosequi because the evidence in Marshall's case was suppressed. The record does not contain any further information about that proceeding, or the legal basis for the suppression of the evidence.

B. Officer Porter's Alleged Pattern of Misconduct

Slightly more than a year before the events in question here, Officer Porter was forced to resign from the Midland, Texas, police force after an internal investigation uncovered evidence of serious misconduct. In response to Mr. Marshall's subpoena, Midland Police Chief John Urby provided documents from his department's internal investigation showing an extensive pattern of misconduct and violation of citizens' constitutional rights by Officer Porter when he was on the Midland force. The Hobbs Defendants filed a motion in limine to exclude those documents from admission as evidence in this case. The district court has not yet ruled on that motion.

If admissible, the Midland documents provide evidence that in more than thirty cases, Officer Porter falsely charged arrestees with possession of narcotics, seriously mishandled narcotics evidence, or both. Further, in other cases, Officer Porter was accused of planting evidence on arrestees, as well as using evidence to barter for sexual favors. According to the documents, Officer Porter denied the charges until after failing a polygraph test, when he admitted mishandling evidence.

The internal investigation concluded that Officer Porter's "credibility, integrity, and honesty have been impeached." Mem. from Deputy Chief John Urby to Chief Richard Czech dated Aug. 22, 1995, at 1, App. at 204. Deputy Chief Urby wrote, "Officer Porter failed to recognize that . . . he also had the responsibility of insuring that the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
209 cases
  • U.S. v. Davis
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • November 22, 2005
    ...other example, conduct a breathalyzer test—which may be fallible for reasons similar to a dog sniff, see Marshall v. Columbia Lea Reg'l Hosp., 345 F.3d 1157, 1161 (10th Cir.2003)—if a driver appears visibly intoxicated? Better, an officer might conclude, to arrest first and perform addition......
  • Desai v. Garfield Cnty. Gov't, Case No. 2:17-cv-00024-JNP-EJF
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Utah
    • January 17, 2019 be those of the municipality itself.'" Carney, 534 F.3d at 1274 (emphasis in original) (quoting Marshall v. Columbia Lea Reg'l Hosp., 345 F.3d 1157, 1177 (10th Cir. 2003)). "A 'custom has come to mean an act that, although not formally approved by an appropriate decision maker, has such ......
  • United States v. Rodella
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • November 12, 2014
    ...independent of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.’ ” Marshall v. Columbia Lea Reg'l Hosp., 345 F.3d 1157, 1166 (10th Cir.2003) (quoting United States v. Avery, 137 F.3d 343, 352 (6th Cir.1997) ). In the civil context, the Tenth Circuit has recognized......
  • Fuerschbach v. Southwest Airlines Co., 04-2117.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • February 28, 2006
    ..."custom." See Bd. of County Comm'rs v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403, 117 S.Ct. 1382, 137 L.Ed.2d 626 (1997); Marshall v. Columbia Lea Reg'l Hosp., 345 F.3d 1157, 1177 (10th Cir.2003) ("`custom' has come to mean an act that, although not formally approved by an appropriate decision maker, has su......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT