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Bonivert v. City of Clarkston

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

November 17, 2014

RYAN J. BONIVERT, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CLARKSTON, et al., Defendants.

ORDER RE: MOTIONS FORPARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DISMISSAL

THOMAS O. RICE, District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT are the following motions: Defendants Ken Bancroft, Jane Doe Snyder, and Jane Doe Snyder's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Dismissal (ECF No. 26); Defendants Joel Hastings, Jane Doe Combs and Jane Doe Purcell's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Dismissal (ECF No. 29); Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss Defendants Joel Hasting, John H. Singleton, Ken Bancroft, and Jane Doe Snyder (ECF No. 32); and Plaintiffs' Motion to File Amended Complaint (ECF No. 36). These matters were heard with oral argument on November 13, 2014. Samual T. Creason and Theodore O. Creason appeared on behalf of Plaintiff. Thomas P. Miller, Ann E. Trivett, and Frieda K. Zimmerman appeared on behalf of various Defendants. The Court has reviewed the briefing and the record and files herein and heard from counsel, and is fully informed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his initial Complaint in this action on February 25, 2014, alleging that Defendants violated 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 when they, inter alia, entered and searched Plaintiff's home without a warrant, applied excessive force, and subjected Plaintiff to degrading treatment while in custody. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff has sued several County of Asotin and City of Clarkston officials in their individual capacities, as well as their spouses. Id. Plaintiff has also sued the County of Asotin and the City of Clarkston. Id.

Currently before the Court are several motions regarding which individuals are properly named as defendants in this action. Defendants move to dismiss, with prejudice, (1) Defendants Ken Bancroft and Joel Hastings on the ground that Plaintiff's claims against these defendants are duplicative and redundant of Plaintiff's claims against the City and County; and (2) Defendant Jane Does Snyder (spouse of Gary Snyder), Snyder (spouse of Joseph Snyder), Purcell (spouse of Paul Purcell), and Combs (spouse of Daniel Combs) on the ground that these spouses had no involvement in the incident that gave rise to this action and thus are improper defendants under section 1983. ECF Nos. 26, 29.

Plaintiff voluntarily moves to dismiss, without prejudice, Defendants Ken Bancroft, Joel Hastings, Jon H. Singleton, [1] and Jane Doe Snyder (spouse of Gary Snyder). ECF No. 32. Plaintiff also moves to amend his Complaint to name the following parties, previously only identified as Does: Claudia A. Combs, Teresa R. Purcell, Jennifer L. Snyder, Deputy Shawn Rudy, and Deputy Grimm. ECF No. 36.

DISCUSSION

A. Motions for Partial Summary Judgment and Voluntary Dismissal

1. Legal Standard for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment may be granted to a moving party who demonstrates "that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of any genuine issues of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The burden then shifts to the non-moving party to identify specific genuine issues of material fact which must be decided by a jury. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986). "The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff." Id. at 252.

For purposes of summary judgment, a fact is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Id. at 248. A dispute concerning any such fact is "genuine" only where the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could find in favor of the non-moving party. Id. In ruling upon a summary judgment motion, a court must construe the facts, as well as all rational inferences therefrom, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). Only evidence which would be admissible at trial may be considered. Orr v. Bank of Am., NT & SA, 285 F.3d 764, 773 (9th Cir. 2002).

2. Legal Standard for Voluntary Dismissal

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2), "an action may be dismissed at the plaintiff's request only by court order, on terms that the court considers proper... Unless the order states otherwise, a dismissal under this paragraph (2) is without prejudice." Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(2). "A district court should grant a motion for voluntary dismissal under Rule 41(a)(2) unless a defendant can show that it will suffer some plain legal prejudice as a result." Smith v. Lenches, 263 F.3d 972, 975 (9th Cir. 2001). The decision to grant or deny a motion pursuant to Rule 41(a)(2) is within the sound discretion of the court. Sams v. Beech Aircraft Corp., 625 F.2d 273, 277 (9th Cir. 1980). District courts have broad discretion in deciding whether to dismiss actions with or without prejudice. WPP Luxembourg Gamma Three Sarl ...


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