El v. Crain, Case No. ED CV 05-00174 DDP (RZ).

Decision Date04 June 2008
Docket NumberCase No. ED CV 05-00174 DDP (RZ).
Citation560 F.Supp.2d 932
CourtU.S. District Court — Central District of California
PartiesAnkhenaten Ra EL, Plaintiff, v. Michael CRAIN, et al., Defendants.

Christopher D. Lockwood, Arias and Lockwood, John M. Porter, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard and Smith LLP, San Bernardino, CA, for Defendants.


DEAN D. PREGERSON, District Judge.

The Court has reviewed the file in this matter, including the March 4, 2008 Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge. The Court has engaged in a de novo review of those portions of the Report to which Plaintiff has objected. The Court (1) accepts the Report and adopts its findings and recommendations, (2) grants in part the two motions to dismiss, as indicated in the Report; and (3) shall enter Judgment, under separate cover, in accordance with the Report and the January 18, 2007 Fourth Interim Report.


RALPH ZAREFSKY, United States Magistrate Judge.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and General Order 05-07 of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the undersigned submits this Report and Recommendation to the Honorable Dean D. Pregerson, United States District Judge. The two groups of remaining defendants, the City Defendants and County Defendant Bob Doyle, have moved for summary judgment. As discussed below, the undersigned recommends that the Court grant Defendants' motions and dismiss the action.


Underlying this civil rights lawsuit is Plaintiffs arrest by Riverside city police on April 25, 2004 and his subsequent booking, brief jailing and partially successful prosecution. Plaintiff asserts 25 claims against various Riverside city officials (the "City Defendants") and one Riverside County defendant, sheriff Bob Doyle ("Doyle"), alleging various violations of his civil rights relating to the arrest and its aftermath.

A. Parties

Plaintiff calls himself Ankhenaten Ra El, although the record indicates that at times he has been known as Daxius Donald Gregory. He sues several defendants, all in their official and individual capacities. Defendant have moved for summary judgment an the following two groups:

1. The City Defendants, namely several employees of the City of Riverside, including:

a. police officers Michael Crain, Juan Munoz, Michael Crawford, Robert Tipre, David Cunningham, John Burnette, Mark Reddick, Aaron Miller and Jeffrey Joseph (collectively "The Crain Defendants"), all of whom Plaintiff sues based on their involvement in his arrest on April 25, 2004;

b. police officers Brian Smith (sued as B. Smith) and Felix Medina (sued as Officer Medina), whom Plaintiff sues for their participation in Plaintiffs arrest on January 8, 2005;

c. Chief of Police Russ Leach, sued for his alleged failure to supervise the aforementioned police defendants; and

d. Deputy City Attorney James Brown, sued for allegedly interfering with and delaying a response to Plaintiffs state-law-based request for city records that Plaintiff wanted to prepare for his trial.

2. Bob Doyle, Sheriff of Riverside County, sued for jailing Plaintiff briefly in the wake of his arrest.

Plaintiff purports to sue ten "Doe" defendants, but he has neither served nor supplied the names of any of them. Also, Plaintiffs operative First Amended Complaint (1AC) continues to list claims that, and additional defendants whom, the Court previously dismissed. Accordingly, the undersigned omits discussion, where reasonably possible, of the Does and the previously-dismissed claims and Defendants and recommends that the Court dismiss the Does from the action.

B. Claims

Plaintiff enumerates the following 25 claims, all based exclusively on federal law (although some make reference to state law, such as the California Public Records Act).1 The first 24 claims, many of the factual allegations within which overlap substantially with one another, arise from Plaintiffs arrest on April 25, 2004 and its aftermath. The final claim asserts retaliatory harassment by means of an arrest occurring on January 8, 2005.

                Claim #      Basis and Targeted Defendants
                   1       False arrest ("racial profiling"), by the
                             Crain Defendants
                   2       False arrest ("neglect of duty to investigate"
                             prior to arrest), by Crain
                   3       False arrest and improper search of
                             Plaintiffs vehicle, by the Crain
                   4       Failure to provide Miranda warnings
                             by Crain.
                   5       Excessive force in arresting Plaintiff,
                             by the Crain Defendants.
                   6       False arrest, by the Crain Defendants.
                   7       Excessive force ("assault and battery"),
                             by the Crain Defendants at
                             the arrest site.
                   8       Excessive force ("assault and
                             battery"), by Munoz.
                   9       "Assault and battery" by Crain and
                             Tipre at the police station, in that
                             they held down Plaintiffs arm to
                             permit a blood sample to be taken.
                  10       Unlawful search and seizure of
                             Plaintiffs person, effects and blood
                             sample, by the Crain Defendants.
                  11       Invasion of privacy.
                  12       Failure to prevent excessive force in
                             the arrest, by Joseph.
                  13       Failure to prevent excessive force in
                             the arrest, by other Crain
                  14       Supervisory liability as to the arrest,
                             by Joseph.
                  15       "Criminal conversion of Plaintiffs
                             Blood," by Crain and Tipre
                  16       False arrest ("kidnapping"), by the
                             Crain Defendants
                  17       False imprisonment based on Plaintiffs
                             post-arrest jailing, by Crain
                             and Sheriff Bob Doyle. Although
                             Plaintiff complains about such jail
                             conditions as being served "chemically-treated
                             food," his principal
                             complaint in Claim 17 appears to
                             be that he was jailed prior to an
                             in-person appearance before a
                  18       (A claim solely against a now-dismissed
                             defendant, Jonathan
                  19       Supervisory liability for the Crain
                             Defendants' violations, by Police
                             Chief Leach.
                  20       "Malicious prosecution and abuse of
                             process," by numerous Defendants.
                             Among other subclaims, this claim
                             includes James Brown's alleged failure
                             to provide Plaintiff, in a timely
                             manner, with documents he requested
                             pursuant to a state public records
                  21       Criminal conversion of Plaintiffs
                             (father's) car based on its
                             post-arrest impoundment, by Crain
                             and Joseph.
                  22       "Mayhem," essentially a restatement
                             of Plaintiffs other claims of excessive
                             force during and immediately
                             after his arrest.
                  23       Tampering with evidence (thereby
                             depriving Plaintiff of a fair criminal
                             trial), i.e., violation of Due Process,
                             by Crain and Munoz.
                  24       Conspiracy to commit most of the foregoing
                             alleged violations, by most of
                             the Defendants.
                  25       "Retaliatory prosecution" consisting of
                             Plaintiff's January 8, 2005 arrest, by
                             Smith and Medina.

Plaintiff seeks millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.

C. Defendants' Arguments For Summary Judgment

The City Defendants and Defendant Doyle present many of the same arguments for summary judgment. Primarily they assert that the undisputed facts entitle them to summary judgment on all of Plaintiffs claims except claims of excessive force during his arrest. They also assert that the excessive force claims are barred by the doctrine of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383 (1994), because a jury convicted Plaintiff of resisting the very arrest during which the excessive force allegedly was used. (Further, Defendants assert that most of Plaintiffs claims are barred by Heck, but the undersigned prefers to limit reliance on Heck to those claims as to which a triable factual issue otherwise would exist.)


Summary judgment should be granted "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED.R.CIV.P. 56(C). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of showing there is no genuine issue for trial, before the nonmoving party must introduce evidence. But the moving party is not initially required to introduce evidence negating an element on which the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial (although the moving party may, and often does, do so). Rather, the moving party need only point out to the Court that, on at least one such element, no evidence supports the non-moving party's case. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 815 (9th Cir.1994).

In some of their arguments here, however, the defendants seek summary judgment on an issue as to which they, not Plaintiff, would bear the burden of persuasion at trial, namely qualified immunity. In such cases, their initial showing must be sufficient for the Court to hold that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the moving party. See Southern Calif. Gas Co. v. City of Santa Ana, 336 F.3d 885, 888 (9th.Cir.2003); see generally 3 WILLIAM A. SCHWARZER, A. WALLACE TASHIMA & JAMES M. WAGSTAFFE, CALIFORNIA PRACTICE GUIDE:...

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    ...respect to his criminal conviction” and, thus, the Heck doctrine barred Robertson's later § 1983 claim). See also Ra El v. Crain, 560 F.Supp.2d 932, 944–46 (C.D.Cal.2008)(describing Nonnette as a “narrow exception limited to plaintiffs (1) who are former prisoners challenging loss of good-t......
  • Gonzales v. Rutledge
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