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Young v. Young

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

September 27, 2018

ELIZABETH YOUNG and NICHOLAS KETRON, Plaintiffs,
v.
JESSE COLE YOUNG, a Monticello City Police Officer, in his individual and official capacities; KENT ADAIR, Former Monticello City Chief of Police, in his individual and official capacities; CLAYTON BLACK, Monticello City Chief of Police, in his individual and official capacities; TY BAILEY, Monticello City Manager, in his individual and official capacities; RICK M. BAILEY, San Juan Administrator, in his individual and official capacities; SUE REDD, San Juan County Dispatcher, in her individual and official capacities; JOSEPH HARRIS, a San Juan County Sheriff's Deputy, in his individual and official capacities; MONTICELLO CITY; SAN JUAN COUNTY and JOHN DOES 1-5, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING [71] DEFENDANT KENT ADAIR'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          DAVID NUFFER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Former Monticello Police Chief Defendant Kent Adair moved for summary judgment (the “Motion”)[1] on the causes of action that Plaintiffs Elizabeth Young and Nicholas Ketron (collectively “Plaintiffs”) brought against him: the first, fourth, fifth, and seventh causes of action of the Complaint.[2] Plaintiffs responded to the motion.[3] Defendant Adair replied in support.[4]

         As the following Memorandum Decision explains, the Motion is GRANTED as to the first cause of action, the only cause of action involving a federal question. That cause of action is dismissed with prejudice. The Motion is also GRANTED as to the fourth, fifth, and seventh causes of action. Dismissal of these causes of action is without prejudice because pendant jurisdiction will not be exercised over these Utah state law causes of action.

         Contents

         BACKGROUND ............................................................................................................................ 3

         STANDARD OF REVIEW ............................................................................................................ 4

         UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS ............................................................................................ 5

         DISCUSSION ................................................................................................................................. 7

         Plaintiffs' First Cause of Action Does Not Allege a Constitutional Violation by a Municipal Officer for Which Monticello City Could Be Held Liable or for Which Defendant Adair Could Be Held Liable in an Individual Capacity ........................ 7

         1. Defendant Young's Actions Are Not Actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Because He Was Not Acting Under the Color of State Law ...................... 9

         2. The First Cause of Action Does Not Specify a Constitutional Violation by Defendant Redd that could impose liability on Monticello City through Defendant Adair. . ...................................................................................... 10

         3. The First Cause of Action Does Not Specify a Constitutional Violation by Defendant Adair for which he could be individually liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ........................................................................................................ 12

         The District Court Will Not Exercise Pendent Jurisdiction over the Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Causes of Action Against Defendant Adair ........................ 12

         ORDER ......................................................................................................................................... 14

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs allege that on the night of December 2, 2015, Defendant Jesse Cole Young, then an officer with the Monticello Police Department, attempted to enter the home of Plaintiff Young without notice or invitation.[5] Although the home was the marital home of Plaintiff Elizabeth Young and Defendant Jesse Cole Young, they were separated at the time and were abiding by a tacit agreement that they maintain separate residences.[6] Upon entering the home, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant Young assaulted Plaintiff Ketron by throwing Plaintiff Ketron into a sectional sofa, causing Plaintiff Ketron to hit his head on the nearby wall.[7] Defendant Young is also alleged to have shoved Plaintiff Ketron.[8]

         Plaintiff Young then called 911 and informed the dispatcher, Defendant Redd, of the incident.[9] Plaintiffs then left the home and retreated to an outdoor pavilion on the grounds of a nearby church building.[10] Plaintiffs allege that no emergency responders arrived in the 30 minutes following the call to 911.[11] Plaintiffs allege that Plaintiff Young called 911 a second time and spoke with Defendant Redd once more.[12] Defendant Redd's alleged response to this second call was that emergency services would be dispatched the following morning since it was after midnight.[13] Plaintiffs then got into a vehicle and drove into the nearby mountains to hide for the night.[14] Plaintiffs allege that they did not receive emergency assistance until 10:00 a.m. the following morning.[15] Plaintiffs allege that it was Defendant Adair, the Chief of the Monticello Police Department at the time, who was directly responsible for the delay in sending emergency services.[16]

         Plaintiff's Complaint names Defendant Adair in four causes of action: the first cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failure to supervise and/or train Defendant Young and Defendant Redd;[17] the fourth cause of action for due process violations under the Utah Constitution as to Plaintiff Young;[18] the fifth cause of action for due process violations under the Utah Constitution as to Plaintiff Ketron;[19] and the seventh cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress.[20] Defendant Adair seeks the dismissal with prejudice of each of these causes of action against him.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is appropriate if “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”[21] A factual dispute is genuine when “there is sufficient evidence on each side so that a rational trier of fact could resolve the issue either way.”[22] In determining whether there is a genuine dispute as to material fact, the court should “view the factual record and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom most favorably to the nonmovant.”[23] The moving party “bears the initial burden of making a prima facie demonstration of the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and entitlement to judgment as a matter of law.”[24]

         UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS[25]

         1. At the time Defendant Young entered the Plaintiff's Young's home on December 2, 2015, he was not on duty.[26]

         2. Defendant Young had driven his personal truck and not his patrol car to the home.[27]

         3. Defendant Young was not wearing his uniform or any other police attire.[28]

         4. Defendant Young did not threaten Plaintiff Ketron or Plaintiff Young with a weapon.[29]

         5. He did not purport to cite or arrest Plaintiff Ketron or Plaintiff Young.[30]

         6. Defendant Young did not say anything about being a police officer.[31]

         7. Defendant Young did he show his badge or reference any police business.[32]

         8. Plaintiff Ketron or Plaintiff Young were not placed under arrest.[33]

         9. Defendant Redd called Defendant Adair.[34]

         10. Defendant Redd informed Defendant Adair that she had already spoken to an officer on call as well as the county Sherriff.[35]

         11. Defendant Adair then confirmed that he wanted the county to handle anything between Mr. and Ms. Young to avoid any conflict of interest.[36]

         12. Defendant Adair then asked what Ms. Young wanted.[37]

         13. Defendant Redd responded, “Well she wants him. . . she wants it to stop.”[38]

         14. Defendant Adair directed Defendant Redd to “see if Avery [the officer on duty] can find [Defendant Young] and tell him to go home and leave her alone.”[39]

         15. In response, Defendant Redd stated that the officer on duty had already been to Defendant Young's house and confirmed he was at home.[40]

         16. Since Ms. Young's stated need, to get Defendant Young to stop, had been addressed, Defendant Redd determined that she would “leave [the call] and have it pop open in the morning and then you can . . . if she calls back I'll tell her that an officer will get with her tomorrow.”[41]

         17. Defendant Adair did not object to Defendant Redd's stated course of action.[42]

         18. At the time that Defendant Redd received Plaintiff Young's 911 call, Defendant Redd was employed by San Juan County.[43]

         19. Defendant Adair did not control or supervise Defendant Redd's conduct.[44]

         DISCUSSION

         For the purposes of the following discussion section, the first cause of action will be analyzed before the other claims since it is the only cause of action which invokes federal question jurisdiction. Following the analysis of that cause of action, the Utah state law based causes of action, the fourth, fifth, and seventh, will be discussed.

         Plaintiffs' First Cause of Action Does Not Allege a Constitutional Violation by a Municipal Officer for Which Monticello City Could Be Held Liable or for Which Defendant Adair Could Be Held Liable in an Individual Capacity

         Plaintiffs' first cause of action alleges that Monticello City, through Defendant Adair, is liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because it failed to “institute[] a training program for its officers and instructed them about the impropriety and illegality of unlawful detention or other misconduct against citizens during citizen encounters.”[45] As Defendant Adair points out in the Motion, although he is identified in the body of the first cause of action, it is unclear from the caption whether the cause of action is being specifically asserted against Defendant Adair in his official or his individual capacity.[46] Because of this ambiguity, ...


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