United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
ODER AND MEMORANDUM DECISION
CAMPBELL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
civil rights case began in 2014 when Plaintiff George
Finlinson's family attempted to civilly commit him so he
could get treatment for his paranoid schizophrenia. But what
began as a seemingly simple task for county law
enforcement-to take Mr. Finlinson into custody- quickly
devolved into a thirty-minute slow-speed chase involving
multiple officers and looking at times like a game of
chicken, with Mr. Finlinson ramming his truck into some of
the police cars. The chase ended in the shooting and tasing
of Mr. Finlinson, who was later treated at a hospital and
arrested upon release.
problems did not end there. As a detainee at the Utah County
Jail, Mr. Finlinson was placed on suicide watch for six weeks
and then spent an additional six and a half months in
solitary confinement. He was eventually released to the Utah
State Hospital (which treats patients with mental illnesses)
where he regained competency to stand trial for the charges
brought against him.
asserts multiple civil rights claims against the entities and
individuals involved in the chain of events under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Against the Millard County Defendants and
Defendant Ian Adams, a Utah Adult Probation and Parole
officer-all of whom were involved, in some capacity, with the
chase, shooting, and tasing-he brings § 1983 claims
under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Against Defendant
Utah County he brings a § 1983 municipal liability claim
under the Fourteenth Amendment and a state constitutional
claim, both based on his treatment at the jail.
the Defendants have filed motions for summary judgment,
including assertions of qualified immunity by the individual
officers. They challenge Mr. Finlinson's claims of
liability for the shooting and tasing, failure to intervene,
supervisory liability, implementation of a reckless plan to
civilly commit him, failure to train, and municipal
liability. For the reasons set forth below, all of the
motions are denied at least in part.
to Civilly Commit George Finlinson
summer of 2014, Mr. Finlinson, who suffers from paranoid
schizophrenia, became increasingly withdrawn and eventually
stopped talking to anyone but his father. His family sought
to have him civilly committed, a procedure known as
“blue slipping, ” and contacted the Central Utah
Counseling Center for help.
29, 2014, Anna LaDamus, the Director of Crisis Services at
the Center, called Defendant Morris Burton, a lieutenant with
the Millard County Sheriff's Office, to request that he
pick up Mr. Finlinson and take him to the hospital. Ms.
LaDamus told Lieutenant Burton that Mr. Finlinson needed to
be civilly committed because he was becoming violent and his
family was afraid of him. Although Mr. Finlinson disputes
that he acted violently or that his family was actually in
fear, all parties agree that, at the time, he presented a
substantial danger to himself or others, a requirement for
involuntary commitment under Utah law. See Utah Code Ann.
Burton enlisted five other officers to help him commit Mr.
Finlinson-Deputy Clark Thomas, Sargent Robert Clark, Deputy
Michael Blad, Deputy Steve Mitchell (who was still in
training), and Utah Adult Probation and Patrol Agent Ian
Burton took Ms. LaDamus' call while attending a
retirement party for another police officer in the city of
Fillmore, Utah. Also at the party was Millard County Sheriff
Robert Dekker, Lieutenant Burton's supervisor. Lieutenant
Burton told Sheriff Dekker that he would be blue slipping Mr.
Finlinson, though the full extent of their conversation is
not clear from the record. He did not, at this time, tell
Sheriff Dekker exactly how he planned to apprehend Mr.
Burton left Fillmore and drove to Oak City, where Mr.
Finlinson lived. While driving to Oak City, Lieutenant Burton
called Mr. Finlinson's sister, Jean, and father, Vance.
From these calls, Lieutenant Burton learned that Mr.
Finlinson was not taking his medication, kept guns in his
house, and probably would not answer the door if officers
knocked. Vance told Lieutenant Burton that the best time to
try to take Mr. Finlinson into custody would be when he left
the house for his regular evening drive.
speaking with Jean and Vance, Lieutenant Burton decided that
he would let Mr. Finlinson begin his drive, then pull him
over using the pretext of a traffic stop for driving on a
suspended license (Ms. LaDamus recommended a similar course
of action on their earlier phone call). Agent Adams would
wait near Mr. Finlinson's house in his unmarked black
police car and alert the other officers when Mr. Finlinson
left his house and began his drive. Lieutenant Burton
expected Mr. Finlinson to drive to the nearby city of Delta,
then west to more remote roads. Once outside of Delta, marked
Sheriff's Office trucks would pull Mr. Finlinson over,
and Lieutenant Burton planned to box Mr. Finlinson in with
his car once Mr. Finlinson stopped.
Burton and the other officers anticipated that Mr. Finlinson
would resist being taken into custody. They knew that he was
a large, strong man, and also knew he had resisted arrest a
few months earlier, during a March 13, 2014 traffic stop.
During that earlier stop, Mr. Finlinson became belligerent
after being handcuffed, and a Millard County Sheriff's
deputy and two highway patrol officers used an electric taser
to subdue him.
officers planning to blue slip Mr. Finlinson thought he would
again resist. Despite this, Lieutenant Burton did not
formulate a backup plan. He did not have a strategy to follow
in case Mr. Finlinson refused to pull over. And though he
knew that Mr. Finlinson was suffering from paranoid
schizophrenia, he did not consider Mr. Finlinson's mental
illness when deciding the actions to be taken.
the officers waited for Mr. Finlinson to begin his drive,
Sheriff Dekker called Lieutenant Burton. Sheriff Dekker later
testified that he had encouraged Lieutenant Burton to
intercept Mr. Finlinson before he got into his truck.
Chase on Anderson Lane
Burton stuck with his plan. Mr. Finlinson left his house, got
into his pickup truck, and-trailed by police vehicles-drove a
short distance through Oak City. He then turned north on
Anderson Lane, a rural gravel road that dead-ends after
approximately three miles at a turnaround loop (at this point
he was driving away from Delta, not towards it as Lieutenant
Burton had expected).
caravan of police vehicles initially consisted of four
vehicles: Agent Adams' unmarked police car, Lieutenant
Burton's unmarked white sport-utility vehicle, Sargent
Clark's marked Sheriff's Office pickup truck, and
Deputy Blad's marked pickup truck. Deputy Mitchell rode
as a passenger with Deputy Blad. Deputy Thomas soon joined
the pursuit in his marked pickup truck.
officers tried to pull Mr. Finlinson over soon after he began
driving. Deputy Blad, Sargent Clark, and Agent Adams all
activated their emergency lights. Deputy Blad also briefly
used his siren. But Mr. Finlinson refused to pull over, and,
instead, continued driving north on Anderson Lane at about
five to ten miles per hour.
Mr. Finlinson failed to pull over, Deputy Thomas drove his
truck directly behind Mr. Finlinson and commanded him to pull
over eight separate times using his loudspeakers. He also
tried twice to pass Mr. Finlinson. Both times, Mr. Finlinson
swerved to block his way. For approximately fifteen minutes,
Deputy Thomas and the other officers slowly trailed Mr.
Finlinson down Anderson Lane.
Mr. Finlinson reached the short loop at the end of the road,
he began to drive around it in a clockwise direction. Sargent
Clark and Deputy Blad positioned their trucks in his path,
but Mr. Finlinson weaved slowly through a gap between the two
trucks. His truck grazed Deputy Blad's truck as he
Chase on Anderson Lane
travelling south on Anderson Lane, the officers intensified
their efforts to stop Mr. Finlinson. Deputy Thomas and Deputy
Blad drove past Mr. Finlinson, pulled their trucks abreast of
one another, and braked, again trying to block Mr.
Finlinson's way. Rather than stop, Mr. Finlinson drove
through the narrow gap between the officers' two trucks,
hitting both vehicles and physically forcing them apart. The
impact disabled Deputy Thomas' truck.
Finlinson continued driving south. Deputy Blad again tried to
pass Mr. Finlinson on the left, driving onto a dirt-and-grass
strip between the road and a fence line. As Deputy Blad
passed, Mr. Finlinson swerved into the side of his truck. The
collision shattered Deputy Blad's rear window. Deputy
Blad made it past Mr. Finlinson but quickly abandoned his
effort and let Mr. Finlinson pass.
Sargent Clark tried to pass Mr. Finlinson off-road on the
left, just as Deputy Blad had done. Mr. Finlinson again
swerved and hit Sargent Clark's truck, causing it to veer
sideways and skid across the roadway. Sargent Clark was able
to straighten his truck, then sped past Mr. Finlinson to set
up spike strips farther down the road (he drove back into Oak
City to set up the strips, and the chase would never reach
later, the chase passed Sheriff Dekker, who was driving in
the opposite direction on Anderson Lane in an unmarked black
sport-utility vehicle. Sheriff Dekker allowed the vehicles to
pass, then joined the chase. Four vehicles now trailed Mr.
Finlinson: Deputy Blad's pickup truck (in which Deputy
Mitchell was a passenger), followed by Lieutenant
Burton's sport utility vehicle, then Agent Adams's
car (in which Deputy Thomas rode as a passenger after his
truck was disabled), and finally Sheriff Dekker.
chase again slowed. Deputy Blad asked over the radio whether
he should “hang back, ” and Lieutenant Burton
responded that he should, to allow Sargent Clark to set up
the spike strips. (Blad Outside Dash Cam. at 23:20-23:30, Ex.
J to Millard Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 106-10.)
chase continued at a slow speed for just under a minute. Then
Mr. Finlinson came to a stop and reversed towards Deputy
Blad. Deputy Blad tried to move his truck off the road, but
Mr. Finlinson hit its passenger side. The impact shattered
the passenger window and smashed the passenger door,
preventing Deputy Mitchell from opening it. Deputy Blad got
out of his truck, pointed his handgun towards Mr. Finlinson,
and yelled at him to “get out of the truck.”
(Id. at 24:10-24:30.)
Finlinson accelerated forward and continued down Anderson
Lane. Deputy Blad got back in his truck and resumed his place
at the front of the chase. But just seconds later, Mr.
Finlinson stopped his truck. Deputy Blad and the other
officers also stopped their vehicles behind Mr. Finlinson.
Finlinson remained stopped for nearly a minute. During this
time, Deputy Blad asked Lieutenant Burton over the radio,
“What do you want me do?” (Id. at
24:50.) He also answered a call on his cell phone from
another officer who was not on scene, asking whether Deputy
Blad needed assistance. Deputy Blad told him that he did, and
that he had “just about shot” Mr. Finlinson.
(Blad Inside Dash Cam. at 25:00-25:19, Ex. K to Millard
Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 106-11.) Lieutenant Burton
later testified in a deposition that, at this time, he and
his officers “did not have a specific plan” for
taking Mr. Finlinson into custody. (Dep. of Morris Burton at
170:19-20, Ex. A to Millard Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF
Finlinson then began to slowly reverse towards Deputy Blad.
He paused, then reversed again. Deputy Blad reversed at the
same pace, keeping about the same distance away from Mr.
Finlinson. Deputy Blad again asked Lieutenant Burton,
“What do you want me to do?” (Blad Outside Dash
Cam. at 26:02.) Lieutenant Burton told him to try to
“stay out of his way.” (Id. at
of Mr. Finlinson
Finlinson neared, Deputy Blad stopped, got out of his truck,
and drew and aimed his handgun at Mr. Finlinson. Mr.
Finlinson stopped his truck and drove a short distance
forward. Deputy Blad walked up the shoulder of the road still
aiming his handgun and yelled “Come on, ” at
which point Mr. Finlinson stopped and reversed again, turning
the back of his truck towards Deputy Blad. (Id. at
26:27-26:32.) Deputy Blad fired about seven shots at the rear
tires of Mr. Finlinson's truck. While Deputy Blad was
shooting, Mr. Finlinson stopped, shifted into drive, and
Finlinson began to drive away from Deputy Blad, Deputy Thomas
fired three shots with his AR-15 rifle at the cab of Mr.
officers resumed their chase and trailed Mr. Finlinson, again
at slow speed. Sargent Clark radioed the other officers to
let them know that the spike strips were in place. Lieutenant
Burton radioed that Mr. Finlinson was intentionally trying to
hit the officers and to stay out of his way. Deputy Blad
reported that he had shot out the back tires of Mr.
two minutes later, Mr. Finlinson once again stopped his truck
in the middle of the road and began to quickly reverse.
Deputy Blad stopped and again got out of his truck, thinking
that Mr. Finlinson would ram it and set off its airbag.
Finlinson veered towards Deputy Blad. Deputy Blad fired four
shots as Mr. Finlinson drove towards him, then took cover
behind his truck to avoid being hit.
Finlinson, still reversing, accelerated past the driver's
side of Deputy Blad's truck. Deputy Thomas and Agent
Adams opened fire.
officers' dash camera footage does not show the shooting.
The only video of the shooting was taken by witnesses who
were watching the event from a distance, and the footage is
shaky. (See Witness Video, Ex. R to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n
to Millard Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 122-18.) But
the video does show Mr. Finlinson first reversing past Deputy
Blad's truck, then reversing past Lieutenant Burton's
vehicle (while not clear from the video, the parties agree
that Mr. Finlinson's truck clipped the front corner of
Lieutenant Burton's vehicle). The video shows Deputy
Thomas standing by the road's fence line, firing his
rifle. It also shows Agent Adams getting out of his car and
firing his handgun. Mr. Finlinson testified that when he
heard gun shots, he “laid down on the floor boards, and
pushed the gas as [he] did so.” (Dep. of George
Finlinson at 106:10-:14, Ex. A to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to
Millard Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 122-1.)
Finlinson's truck passed Lieutenant Burton's vehicle,
it veered into a concrete irrigation ditch along the side of
the road and high-centered. The witness video shows Mr.
Finlinson's truck coming to a stop with its driver's
side angled up and its passenger side angled down. Deputy
Thomas, Deputy Blad, and Agent Adams all fired shots as Mr.
Finlinson reversed, but the parties dispute whether Deputy
Thomas and Agent Adams continued shooting after the truck
high-centered. In the witness video, shots are audible for
approximately seven seconds after the truck appears to
high-center. But because of the distance between the
witnesses and the officers, the sound of the shots may lag
behind the images.
officers fired forty shots in total. Mr. Finlinson was hit
five times in the torso and once in the neck. He testified
that he was only shot after his truck became stuck in the
of Mr. Finlinson
Mr. Finlinson had been shot and his truck was high-centered
in the ditch, officers went to the driver's side of the
truck, where they found him sitting passively in the
driver's seat. He “was just sitting in his truck,
he rolled his window up and was just sitting there[.]”
(Excerpt from Tr. of Blad Interview, Ex. Z to Pl.'s Mem.
Opp'n to Millard Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No.
Finlinson was bleeding from his gunshot wounds. He ignored
the officers' questions about how badly he was hurt and
whether he had weapons. He ignored their requests and
commands to get out of the truck. But he did not try to
escape and he was not threatening the officers.
the officers did not receive a response from Mr. Finlinson,
Deputy Blad broke the driver's side window with his
flashlight. Lieutenant Burton reached in and turned off the
engine. They opened the door but, again, Mr. Finlinson just
sat in his seat.
Dekker told the officers to take Mr. Finlinson out of the
truck, so the officers grabbed him and began pulling him out.
At that point, Mr. Finlinson swung at Lieutenant Burton and
punched him in the head. (According to Officer Blad, Mr.
Finlinson swung at him as well.) Deputy Blad then tased Mr.
Finlinson. Deputy Thomas “stepped in, and then
it's, like he's, dog piled, there's like 3 of
them on him. So I stepped back[.]” (Excerpt from Tr. of
Thomas Interview, Ex. W to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to
Millard Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 122-23.)
of the struggle, the tasing, the officers' shouts, and
Mr. Finlinson's cries can be heard on the audio recording
retrieved from Deputy Blad's outside dash cam (there is
no visual recording of the tasing). (Blad Outside Dash Cam.
surrounding Mr. Finlinson continued to yell commands,
including “gimme your goddamn hands, ” at which
time Deputy Blad tased Mr. Finlinson again-this time for a
full five-second cycle. The crackling sound of the taser and
Mr. Finlinson's screams can be heard on the recording.
(Id. at 33:12-33:25.)
officers told Mr. Finlinson to hold still, all while Mr.
Finlinson continued to moan. (Id. at 33:20-33:25.)
Six seconds later, Deputy Blad tased Mr. Finlinson a third
time, again for a five-second cycle while Mr. Finlinson
screamed “no, no, no, no” over the crackling
sound of the taser. (Id. at 33:25-33:31.) After
that, one of the officers told him to “relax.”
(Id. at 33:32- 33:36.) At some point Mr. Finlinson
was handcuffed (neither the audio recording nor other limited
evidence in the record reveal whether that occurred before
the second and third tasing or before Mr. Finlinson was told
to relax). In all, the struggle lasted a little over a
the incident the officers did not tell Mr. Finlinson why they
had tried to pull him over, nor did they tell him he was
under arrest before they pulled him from the truck.
Finlinson was admitted to the Utah Valley Regional Hospital
for treatment of his gunshot wounds.
into the Utah County Jail
Mr. Finlinson was released from the hospital on August 8,
2014, the hospital treating physician prescribed a shot of
the anti-psychotic drug Haldol every four weeks. The hospital
gave him a shot on August 5, 2014. (Aug 8, 2014 Utah Valley
Hospital Discharge Orders, Ex. G to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n
to Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 131-2.)
Accordingly, doses were due September 2, September 30,
October 28, November 25, and every four weeks after that.
he was released from the hospital, Mr. Finlinson was arrested
and taken to the Utah County Jail (the Jail), where he was
charged with two counts of attempted aggravated murder of
police officers, ten counts of aggravated assault against
police officers, assault by a prisoner, failure to stop or
respond to command of police, and interference with arresting
officer. (Apr. 14, 2015 Mins. of Review of
Competency Hr'g at 2, Ex. P to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n
Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 125-16.) He was
detained pending trial,  during which time he was waiting for a
court decision that he was competent to stand trial.
he arrived at the Jail, Utah County Jail Commander Darin
Durfey called Lieutenant Nancy Killian (who oversaw housing
and prisoner classification determinations, including
segregation of pretrial detainees) to relay the list of
charges against Mr. Finlinson.
upon Mr. Finlinson's arrival at the Jail, Lieutenant
Killian classified him as high risk and placed him in
Jail's Administrative Segregation Policy defines
“Administrative Segregation” as “a
non-punitive inmate management tool used to neutralize a
specific, documented, risk. It can be indefinite in duration.
However, once the need for the restriction is resolved, the
inmate should be returned to a general population housing
area.” (Utah Cnty. Jail Policy 321.00, titled
“Administrative Segregation, ” at 2 (emphasis
added), Ex. O to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to Utah Cnty.'s
Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 125-15.) The section titled
“Justification for Restrictions” reads:
Temporary restriction of privileges and/or services may be
imposed when necessary to gain immediate control over an
inmate's dangerous, threatening, or otherwise
unacceptable behavior. Restrictions are also justified to
control any situation which threatens the safety, security,
control, or order of the jail. The justification for imposing
a particular non-punitive restriction shall always be
documented in the inmate file.
(Id. § 321.02 (emphasis added).) An initial
decision to segregate a detainee must be “reviewed as
soon as possible by a supervisor to determine whether the
restrictions should be continued.” (Id. §
321.03.) Lieutenant Killian was the supervisor who made the
final classification decision.
August 12, 2014, Lieutenant Killian affirmed Mr.
Finlinson's designation, citing his charges (the majority
of which were allegations of violence against police
officers) as the reason. The Incident Report said:
Move to [sic] due to current violent charges . [sic] this
[sic] is his first time in jail so his behavior will need to
be watched for a while. After an initial period of
observation, if he shows good behavior, he may be considered
for a more privileged housing unit.
(Aug. 12, 2014 Incident Report (emphasis added), Ex. D to
Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J.,
ECF No. 131-1.) A second incident report identified the
reason for his segregation: “Inmate FINLINSON will be
placed on High Risk status due to his charges and per Lt.
Killian.” (Aug. 13, 2014 Incident Report (emphasis
added).) During Lieutenant Killian's deposition, she
agreed that “the fact that [Mr. Finlinson's]
altercation happened with other law enforcement officers
factored into [her] decision to place him on high risk
status.” (Dep. of Nancy Killian at 23:15-23:18, Ex. N
to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ.
J., ECF No. 125-14.)
fact, according to Lieutenant Killian, detainees are almost
always placed in administrative segregation if their charges
include aggravated violence against a police officer.
(Killian Dep. at 24:11-25:8.) In contrast, when she was asked
whether a detainee's alleged aggravated violence against
a civilian would require administrative segregation, she
equivocated: “It would depend on the situation. Most
likely if they were charged with attempted aggravated murder,
yes, but the situation is looked at about what happened with
the case . . . .” (Id. at 23:1- 23:4.)
addition to Mr. Finlinson's high-risk classification and
his assignment to administrative segregation, the intake
deputy placed him on suicide watch “due to his wounds
and refusal to answer questions” during the intake
interview. (Aug. 8, 2014 Chart Note, Ex. 1 to Decl. of Dale
Bench, ECF No. 110; see also UCSO Intake Questions, Ex. 1 to
Bench Decl.) The deputy, who noted that Mr. Finlinson was
“involved in officer involved shooting, ”
described Mr. Finlinson as “cooperative” with the
exception that he refused to answer questions including
“Are you suicidal?” (UCSO Intake Questions, Ex. 1
to Bench Decl.) Yet, at the same time, on the same intake
form, the deputy answered the question “Is the inmate
thinking about killing him/herself” with the response
“No” and added that Mr. Finlinson “stated
that he was not suicidal when placed in a suicide prevention
gown.” (Id.) Ultimately, he was on suicide
watch for six weeks.
watch is a highly restricted status in which a detainee may
not wear regular clothes but instead must wear a
“suicide smock” (a dress-like garment made of
heavy, quilted material fastened with Velcro at the
shoulders). Detainees on suicide watch may not wear glasses,
even if they are legally blind without them. So, Mr.
Finlinson, who wears glasses, spent the next six weeks with
impaired vision. (See id.)
inmate is placed on suicide watch, the decision to take the
inmate off suicide watch is left to the sole discretion of
the mental health professional with whom the Jail contracts
for treatment of inmates. In this case, Wasatch Mental Health
provided mental health services to the Jail, so Monte
Memmott, a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)
with Wasatch, who was assigned to the Jail and treated Mr.
Finlinson, was the only one authorized to remove Mr.
Finlinson from suicide watch. (Decl. of Dale Bench Decl.
¶ 18, ECF No. 96; see also Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to
Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J. at 12 (Pl.'s Response to
Defs.' ¶ 15), ECF No. 124.)
shown in some detail below, the record created during Mr.
Finlinson's six weeks on suicide watch does not reveal
concerns of staff or Mr. Memmott that Mr. Finlinson had
suicidal thoughts or exhibited behavior suggesting that he
was a threat to himself.
Memmott evaluated Mr. Finlinson a total of six times before
deciding to remove the suicide watch restriction.
Memmott met with Mr. Finlinson for the first time on August
11, three days after Mr. Finlinson was booked into jail and
placed on suicide watch. In his notes, he wrote that Mr.
Finlinson “was in a police shootout with Millard County
officers.” (Aug. 11, 2014 Chart Note.) And although Mr.
Finlinson was reportedly “resistive to questioning and
gave short, irritated, sarcastic responses, ” he was
communicative enough to deny “suicidal ideation.”
(Id.) Nevertheless, Mr. Memmott wrote that even
though Mr. Finlinson “denies suicidal ideation,
… due to his charges and being his frist [sic] time in
jail, he will remain on suicide watch for a longer
observation period.” (Id. (emphasis added).)
As for concerns about medication, Mr. Finlinson, according to
Mr. Memmott's chart notes, said that “he was given
a shot of Haldol while in the hospital but said he [sic]
doesn't do anything for him” and that he did not
want medications. (Id.)
later, Mr. Memmott attempted to speak with Mr. Finlinson, who
was asleep. The deputy said Mr. Finlinson was “not very
social or talkative.” (Aug. 18, 2014 Chart Note.) Mr.
Memmott ordered that Mr. Finlinson “[r]emain on suicide
Memmott followed up with Mr. Finlinson two days later. At
this point, Mr. Finlinson had been on suicide watch for
sixteen days. Mr. Memmott recorded the notes for this second
Inmate was sleeping today but woke up briefly when counselor
attempted to speak to him. He said he was fine and did not
need anything. Mood was not agitated or depressed, but
inmate just wanted to sleep. He does not appear to be a
danger to himself and does not appear to be suicidal, however
he will remain on suicide watch at this time due to
lack of interaction with staff.
(Aug. 20, 2014 Chart Note (emphasis added).)
August 26, 2014 (twenty-two days into Mr. Finlinson's
suicide watch), Mr. Memmott visited Mr. Finlinson a third
Inmate reports he is doing fine and states he is not
suicidal. He reports he is not really depressed and has a
support system. He reports he was taking meds in the hospital
and does not know if he needs those. He will be referred to
the psychiatrist to assess those needs. He will
remain on suicide watch at this time. Counselor [Mr.
Memmott] will follow up next week.
(Aug. 26, 2014 Chart Note (emphasis added).) When Mr.
Finlinson raised the issue of medication that day, Mr.
Memmott referred Mr. Finlinson's case to Travis Hunter,
an APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) at Wasatch
Hunter visited Mr. Finlinson on August 28, 2014. He wrote
that Mr. Finlinson “was very resistant to taking any
medications at this time.” (Aug. 28, 2014 Chart Note.)
But Mr. Finlinson, who had asked about his medication only
two days before (see Aug. 26, 2018 Chart Note), testified
that rather than prescribe the necessary medication, Mr.
Hunter “talked [him] into not getting Haldol.”
(Dep. of George Finlinson at 184:22-185:3, Ex. L to Pl.'s
Mem. Opp'n to Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No.
Mr. Hunter's evaluation of Mr. Finlinson's suicide
watch status, he wrote that Mr. Finlinson denied “any
history of self harm” although “[h]e was somewhat
evasive with information.” (Aug. 28, 2014 Chart Note.)
He added that Mr. Finlinson did “not appear to be at
risk to himself.” (Id.)
despite acknowledging Mr. Finlinson's need to regain
competency, and with a Haldol shot due in five days, Mr.
Hunter's treatment plan did not include administering
Haldol: “[Mr. Finlinson] will wait to see the Judge in
2 weeks in order to see what his possible sentencing
will be before starting medications.”
(Id. (emphasis added).) And although he said Mr.
Finlinson was “very resistant to taking any medications
at this time, ” he did not try to give Mr. Finlinson
any medication. (Id.)
September 2, 2014, Mr. Memmott visited Mr. Finlinson.
According to his note, Mr. Finlinson “said he did not
want to talk at the moment. He will be rescheduled. He
has been in jail for about a month and has not caused any
problems but he appears to mostly sleep.” (Sep. 2,
2014 Chart Note (emphasis added).)
one week later, Mr. Memmott evaluated Mr. Finlinson and made
similar observations. “Inmate states he is not
suicidal, however he states he does not care if
he is on suicide watch or not. He continues to appear very
indifferent about anything so he will remain on full suicide
watch for his safety.” (Sep. 9, 2014 Chart Note
(emphasis added).) The prescribed date for Mr.
Finlinson's next Haldol shot had passed.
weeks went by before Mr. Finlinson, still on suicide watch,
was evaluated again. That day, September 23, 2014, Mr.
Memmott recommended that Mr. Finlinson be released from
Inmate has been in jail for about 6 weeks. He has not
made any efforts to harm himself in any way. He denies
suicidal ideation. When counselor has spoke [sic] to
him, he has answered questions and denied suicidal
ideation. … Reports from staff indicate that
inmate is generally polite and compliant and he has not
done anything around them to indicate a suicide risk.
… Counselor recommends this inmate be cleared for
clothes with 30 minute checks. Counselor will
continue to follow up. Inmate will also continue to be
offered other forms of mental health treatment.
(Sep. 23, 2014 Chart Note (emphasis added).)
Mr. Memmott was asked during his deposition why he kept Mr.
Finlinson on suicide watch for so long, he said it was done
as a “precaution.” (See Dep. of Monte Memmott at
34:9-35:6, 35:22-36:3, Ex. C to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to
Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 125-3.)
Segregation upon Release from Suicide Watch
Mr. Finlinson was cleared from suicide watch on September 23,
2014, Lieutenant Killian again instructed the review team to
keep Mr. Finlinson in administrative segregation. (See Sep.
29, 2014 Incident Report (“To remain in Canyons 1 on
ad-seg Per Lt. Killian”).)
segregation, Mr. Finlinson was isolated in a single cell. He
could see through glass walls and could theoretically talk to
other segregated inmates who were housed there. According to
Mr. Finlinson, “You can talk out, and they can hear
you.” (G. Finlinson Dep. at 167:15-24; see also
Id. at 173:3-16 (discussing very limited interaction
he had with one inmate).) During his eight-month stay, Mr.
Finlinson was allowed one in-person visit (his father and
sister visited him) even though his family members went to
the jail “multiple times” to see him. (Dep. of
Jean Turner at 103:5-25, Ex. M to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to
Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 125-13; Dep. of Vance
Finlinson at 132:25-133:13, Ex. J to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n
to Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 125-10; G.
Finlinson Dep. at 175:6-23.)
months later, Lieutenant Killian reaffirmed her decision to
keep him in administrative segregation. (Nov. 17, 2014
Incident Report (“Remain on ad-seg. He has mental
health issues and his charges are attempted aggrevated [sic]
murder.”) (emphasis added).) At Lieutenant
Killian's direction, Mr. Finlinson stayed in
administrative segregation until his release on April 14,
2015. (See, e.g., Nov. 24, 2014 Incident Report (same
decision, same reason as that given in November 17, 2014
report); Dec. 1, 2014 Incident Report (same) (“He will
remain on ad-seg at least until he has been cleared by the
mental health staff.”); Dec. 8, 2014 Incident Report
Tracy said he heard no complaint about Mr. Finlinson's
housing status and that Mr. Finlinson did not file a
grievance. (Decl. of Jim Tracy ¶ 6, ECF No. 94.) But
according to Jail Commander Darin Durfey, the housing
lieutenant's decision to place a prisoner on suicide
watch or in administrative segregation is not an appealable
issue. (Dep. of Darin Durfey at 74:7-22, Ex. B to
Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to Utah Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J.,
ECF No. 125-2.)
Administration of Medication
Finlinson was detained pending trial but could not go to
trial until he was found mentally competent. To become
competent, he needed regular injections of Haldol.
were times when Mr. Finlinson was “resistant” to
taking the medicine. But the Jail did not administer the
medication as prescribed (that is, it did not offer the
medication to Mr. Finlinson when it was due). Instead, he
received doses sporadically. The medical records from the
Jail do not clearly indicate when those doses were given,
although it is clear that Mr. Finlinson did not receive the
shots as prescribed and that at times it took prompting from
Mr. Finlinson's attorney,  Mr. Finlinson,  and his
family members to get the Jail to administer some of the
to his sister, when Mr. Finlinson did not get his medication
regularly, he denied the need to take the medicine. (See
Turner Dep. at 106:20-24 (“I was aware that he chose
not to take medications after he hadn't had them for two
months.”).) The Jail's failure to properly
administer the medication arguably contributed to Mr.
Finlinson's refusal to take the Haldol, which, in turn,
inhibited his ability to regain competency, all of which
significantly extended his time in jail. (See V. Finlinson
Dep. at 128:21-25 (“At one point when he had not had
[Haldol] for several months . . . he had all the signs that
put him in the problem in the first place”).)
December 5, 2014, approximately four months after he was
booked in the Utah County Jail, a state court held that he
was not competent because he was not receiving his
medication. (See Dec. 5, 2014 Order Committing Def. to Utah
State Hospital, Ex. T to Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n to Utah
Cnty.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 125-20.) The medical
examiners agreed that Mr. Finlinson's “mental
health is affected by his refusal to take medications
prescribed to treat his mental illness.” (Id.
at 2 ¶ 1.) Although the record contains references to
Mr. Finlinson's resistance or refusal, it also
demonstrates that the Jail did not offer Mr. Finlinson his
medication on the prescribed schedule. Even if he refused, he
could only have refused at the times when the Jail offered
the shots, which was erratic.
January 14, 2015, the state court ordered Mr. Finlinson to
check in to the Utah State Hospital where he would receive
treatment to be restored to mental competency. At that point,
he was forty-fifth on the waiting list. (Jan. 14, 2015 Chart
Note.) Finally, on April 14, 2015, the Jail released Mr.
Finlinson has filed suit against the individual officers
involved in his capture, Millard County, and Utah County, for
violating his civil rights. Millard County and the Millard
County officers, Agent Adams, and Utah County have each filed
separate motions for summary judgment. The court will first
address the assertions of qualified immunity by the
individual officers involved in his capture (the
“Officer Defendants”), and then address the
liability of both counties.
Finlinson alleges, under multiple theories, that the Officer
Defendants violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free
from unreasonable search and seizure.
parties, through their briefing, have identified three
discrete, potential constitutional violations: first, that
Deputy Thomas and Agent Adams used excessive force when they
shot Mr. Finlinson at the end of the car chase; second, that
Deputy Blad used excessive force by tasing Mr. Finlinson
after he had been shot; and third, that the officers'
group effort to capture him- both the initial plan and
ensuing chase-were reckless and caused the use of force.
Finlinson contends that all of the Officer Defendants should
be liable for all three possible violations. That is, he
brings claims against the officers who actually used force as
well as those who did not. He argues that the non-shooting
and non-tasing officers participated in the constitutional
violations, and that they failed intervene to stop the
violations. He makes a similar argument about the events
preceding the shooting and tasing-that all ...