Stroud v. Gore

Decision Date21 March 2022
Docket Number18-CV-515 JLS (MDD)
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of California
PartiesWILLARD RICHARD STROUD, JR., Plaintiff, v. SHERIFF WILLIAM D. GORE, et al., Defendants.


Hon Janis L. Sammartino, United States District Judge

Presently before the Court are Defendants Sergeant Paul Michalke Detective Benjamin Shea, and Sergeant Jesus Lizarraga's (collectively, the “Deputy Defendants) Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative, Partial Summary Judgment (“MSJ, ” ECF No. 86); Plaintiff Willard Richard Stroud, Jr.'s Opposition thereto (“Opp'n, ” ECF No. 101); and the Deputy Defendants' Reply in support thereof (“Reply ” ECF No. 103). Also before the Court are the Deputy Defendants' Objections to Plaintiff's Exhibits in Support of Opposition (“Evid. Objs., ” ECF No. 103-1). The Court vacated the hearing on the MSJ and took it under submission for decision on the papers without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). See ECF No. 104. Having considered the Parties' arguments, the evidence, and the law, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART the Deputy Defendants' MS J and OVERRULES AS MOOT the Deputy Defendants' Evidentiary Objections.


I. Factual Background

On the evening of March 12, 2016, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Plaintiff drove to the George Bailey Detention Facility (“GBDF”), located on Alta Road in San Diego, California, to visit his incarcerated son. Pl.'s Statement of Genuine Issues of Material Fact in Dispute (“SGIMFID”) 1 [2] During his deposition, Plaintiff stated that he had consumed no alcohol or other drugs prior to arriving at GBDF on the evening in question. Transcript of Feb. 19, 2021 Videotaped Deposition of William [sic] Richard Stroud, Jr. (Pl.'s Depo. Tr.) 55:23-56:7.[3] Plaintiff had been to GBDF many times before-“upwards of a hundred times”-to visit his son, at different hours of the day. SGIMFID 2; Pl.'s Depo. Tr. 57:11-13, 58:23-59:23. Prior to each visit, Plaintiff would drive up Alta Road, park in the parking lot, walk into the lobby, and go through a metal detector. SGIMFID 3.

Signs on Alta Road inform visitors that they and their vehicles are subject to search prior to entering GBDF. Id. ¶ 4. The English portion of the signs reads:


Defs.' NOL Ex. B (emphasis in original). Plaintiff claims that he was unaware of what the signs stated. Pl.'s Depo. Tr. 57:25-58:22, 60:1-6. Signs in the parking lot also inform visitors that alcohol is not permitted on the premises. SGIMFID 4. Parking lot signs state in red lettering: “ALL PERSONS, PROPERTY AND VEHICLES ARE SUBJECT TO SEARCH.” Defs.' NOL Ex. C (emphasis in original).

The Detentions Investigation Unit was conducting an enforcement operation in the GBDF parking lot between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. on the day in question, seeking to contact as many visitors as possible before they entered the lobby to ensure they were not in possession of contraband, such as drugs or weapons. SGIMFID 5. GBDF inmate workers have access to the visitor lobby and parking lot, and the visitor lobby has bathrooms that visitors can use prior to checking in for visits and going through metal detectors. Id. ¶ 7; see also Defs.' NOL Ex. E. Deputies believed that prison visitors were hiding contraband in the parking lot or in the visitor lobby bathrooms for inmate workers to smuggle in. SGIMFID 7. During the enforcement operation, deputies were also checking that visitors did not have prior prison sentences that would preclude their visit pursuant to California Penal Code section 4571. Id. ¶ 8.

The Deputy Defendants were among the team that was conducting the enforcement operation. Id. ¶ 9. Sergeant Michalke was supervising the operation. Declaration of Defendant Sergeant Paul Michalke (“Michalke Decl., ” ECF No. 86-2) ¶ 4. There were six to eight deputies working on the operation. Id. Sergeant Michalke has conducted six such enforcement operations. Id. ¶ 6. Given the signage on Alta Road and in the parking lot, [m]ost visitors to the facility are not surprised when we tell them that they will be searched prior to entering the facility.” Id.

Visitors to GBDF park their cars under solar panels. SGIMFID ¶ 10. There are lights in the parking lot, id., although the Parties dispute the brightness thereof. Plaintiff claims that when he arrived at GBDF it was dark outside and the parking lot was lit with “some amber lights” that are “not bright.” Pl.'s Depo. Tr. 73:17-19; SGIMFID 10. The Deputy Defendants claim “it was becoming dark” when Plaintiff arrived but that the parking lot is “well lit.” See Michalke Decl. ¶ 7; see also Defs.' NOL Ex. F. About halfway between Plaintiff's car and the lobby, several persons wearing tactical uniforms that identified them as being with the Sheriff's Department approached Plaintiff. Defs.' Statement of Undisputed Facts (“SUF, ” ECF No. 86-7) 11; Opp'n at 5 (noting that Plaintiff was stopped by deputies who “were wearing police uniforms that depicted the Sheriff's Department” “in the middle of the parking lot”); SGIMFID 15 (acknowledging that “Deputy Defendants approached and met Plaintiff halfway between his car and the facility lobby”); Pl.'s Depo. Tr. 67:1-3. Plaintiff claims the Deputy Defendants were part of a group of six to eight deputies. Pl.'s NOL Ex. C (Declaration of Plaintiff Willard Richard Stroud Jr. (“Pl. Decl.”)) 5.[4] The Deputy Defendants claim that only Deputy Lizarraga and Sergeant Michalke approached Plaintiff as a team. Michalke Decl. ¶ 7. Deputy Lizarraga asked if Plaintiff had identification, and Plaintiff gave Deputy Lizarraga his driver's license. SGIMFID 12. The group of deputies asked Plaintiff who he was visiting and whether he'd ever been arrested. Id. ¶ 14. Plaintiff responded that he was visiting a ‘friend' and that he had previously been arrested for ‘street crimes' like ‘gang banging.' Id.

What happened next is heavily disputed. According to Plaintiff, he had his cell phone in his right hand. Pl.'s Depo. Tr. 72:21-22. The Deputy Defendants told Plaintiff that they were going to search him and his car, but Plaintiff declined to be searched and indicated that he did not want to proceed with his visit. Pl. 's Depo. Tr. 68:21-23; Pl. Decl. ¶¶ 5-6. Deputy Lizarraga told Plaintiff that he “was on their property” and that they were going to search Plaintiff “with or without [his] permission.” Pl. Decl. 6. [W]ithin 3 seconds Deputy Defendants went hands on.” Id. Plaintiff claims that the Deputy Defendants “violently and aggressively slammed [him] against the rear of a parked vehicle” and “twisted and tweaked [his wrists] behind [his] back.” Id. ¶ 8. When Plaintiff “was slammed against the car, ” he said, “Please stop, why you doing this, stop.” Pl.'s Depo. Tr. 82:13-17. [Deputy] Lizarraga [w]rapped his arm around [Plaintiff's] neck and shoulders while [Deputy] Shea twisted [Plaintiff's] arms and bent [his] wrist back in awkward positions.” Pl. Decl. 8. Plaintiff “felt the force of several people forcing [his] body against the parked car.” Id. Although Plaintiff may have tensed up at this point because they were grabbing and pulling and choking on [him], it's a natural instinct for a person's body, ” he “did not attempt to flee.” Pl.'s Depo. Tr. 79:17-19.

Then, one deputy “grabbed [Plaintiff's] head and pulled [him] down to the ground in an aggressive manner.” Pl. Decl. 8. When he was on the ground, Plaintiff said, “Stop. It hurts. Why are you doing this? Stop.” Pl.'s Depo. Tr. 82:18-21. The deputies told Plaintiff to [j]ust stop resisting.” Id. 82:22-23. However, Plaintiff claims his hands “were still always behind me, ” and he “never had [his] hands flailing or anything, none of that.” Id. 82:5-6. Plaintiff was being “chok[ed] by the deputies. Id. 79:1-14. Then, one of the deputies tightly handcuffed Plaintiff and “wrenched them down.” Id. 83:22-24. Sometime during the confrontation, Plaintiff noticed his phone was no longer in his hand. Id. 79:1-3. But, after Plaintiff was handcuffed, he did not see his cell phone on the ground. Id. 96:1-3. The deputies stood Plaintiff up and Plaintiff said something along the lines of “My wrist is broken.” Id. 84:20-25. The deputies began to search Plaintiffs pockets, but Plaintiff was crying, so they asked if he needed medical treatment. Id. 84:3-5. Plaintiff replied that he did need medical treatment, and so the deputies called the paramedics. Id. 84:5-12. The paramedics arrived less than five minutes later. Id. 86:4-7. The paramedic confirmed that Plaintiff had no broken bones. Id. 86:8-13. Plaintiff said that his handcuffs were too tight, said that he was in pain, and requested that his handcuffs be loosened. Id. 92:1-16. Plaintiff declares that he asked the Deputy Defendants to please loosen the handcuffs, but they failed to do so. Pl. Decl. ¶ 9.

According to the Deputy Defendants, when they approached and began interacting with Plaintiff, they noticed that Plaintiff's eyes were red and watery and his speech was slurred, which made the Deputy Defendants think that he may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs and therefore a danger to a secure facility like GBDF. SUF ¶ 13; Declaration of Defendant Jesus Lizarraga (“Lizarraga Decl., ” ECF No. 86-4) ¶ 9. Accordingly,...

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