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Roupe v. Strickland

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

December 15, 2014

CAMERON G. ROUPE, Plaintiff,
JAMES STRICKLAND, et al., Defendants.


BRIAN A. TSUCHIDA, Magistrate Judge.

In this 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 civil-rights action, Plaintiff Cameron G. Roupe alleges that Defendant Strickland violated his constitutional rights when he unlawfully tased him in the scrotum and that Defendant Veach violated his constitutional right when he stood by and failed to report Defendant Strickland's use of the taser. Dkt. 9. Defendants move for summary judgment. Dkt. 128. The Court recommends GRANTING Defendants summary judgment motion and dismissing Plaintiff's claims with prejudice.


A. Events Prior to Involvement of Defendants Strickland and Veach

On March 26, 2012, Marysville police officers, who are not parties to this matter, responded to a domestic violence assault call at T&T Upholstery. According to the police report of Officer Young, he and Officer Rusch responded to a domestic violence assault at T&T Upholstery. They had been advised by dispatch that Cameron Roupe had assaulted Jennifer Walker at another location, followed her to T&T Upholstery, and continued to assault her there. Dispatch also advised that there was a served protection order in place protecting Ms. Walker from Mr. Roupe. Dkt. 134, Exhibit A, p. 5 (ECF numbering).

Officers found Mr. Roupe on top of Jennifer Walker and pinning her down on a couch. Police detected an overwhelming odor of intoxicants coming from Mr. Roupe. When police attempted to get Mr. Roupe away from Ms. Walker and take him into custody, Mr. Roupe fought with police officers. Police officers used force on Mr. Roupe including an arm bar takedown, closed fist strikes to his right shoulder, and a knee strike to his right shoulder which glanced off and hit his head. During this altercation with police, Mr. Roupe's chin hit the floor and he began bleeding in his face. He also vomited during the struggle. Id., p. 6.

After finally getting handcuffs on Mr. Roupe, police officers called for medics to provide medical assistance to Mr. Roupe. Mr. Roupe turned his head towards one of the medics and spit vomit, blood and phlegm on a medic, so police officers put a spit hood on him. Id., see also Dkt. 134, Kugler Decl, Exhibit D, Cody Hamblin Sworn Statement, p. 16 ("When I squated [sic] down to evaluate the patient's chin, he proceeded to spit all over my left arm and hand. The patient then commented your [sic] exposed' and then proceeded to laugh.")

Mr. Roupe became enraged by the placement of the spit hood and he thrashed and flailed more vigorously. Police officers decided to place him in a 4-point restraint chair to allow medics to treat him. Id., Exhibit A, pp. 6-7. When Mr. Roupe refused to cooperate in getting him into the restraint chair, police officers took him to the ground again. During the process, Mr. Roupe thrashed and kicked a Detective. Officer Young delivered two more knee strikes, this time to Mr. Roupe's solar plexus, but this had no affect on Mr. Roupe's resistance. Officer Young then delivered three to four closed fist strikes to his right thigh, with no effect, followed by two knee strikes to Mr. Roupe's right thigh, also with no effect. Id., Exhibit A, p. 7. Officer Young then removed the taser cartridge from his taser and applied a five second drive stun to Mr. Roupe's right thigh. Id. After the five seconds ended, Mr. Roupe relaxed his leg and the officers were able to place him in the restraint chair. Id.

Mr. Young had a partially healed cut on his thumb that was torn open in the process of arresting Mr. Roupe and Mr. Young was later tested for potential blood born pathogen exposure. Officers and medics were exposed to Mr. Roupe's blood, vomit, and spit. Id. Mr. Roupe suffered a fracture to a fifth finger. Id., Kugler Decl., Exhibit F (Providence ER record), p. 22; Dkt. 9, p. 11.

Ms. Walker reported to police that Mr. Roupe had been drinking and had assaulted her and forced her to have sex with him over the previous two days. She fled for her safety and he had called her and threatened to knock her teeth out. Dkt. 134, Exhibit B, Walker Sworn Statement, p. 12. She reported that when Mr. Roupe found her at her place of employment (T&T Upholstery) on March 26, 2012, he threw her on the couch, punched her in the face, and choked her. Id., p. 10. A witness at T&T Upholstery (Bonnie Follestad) also reported seeing Mr. Roupe throw Ms. Walker on the couch, punch her in the face and choke her. Dkt. 134, Exhibit C, Sworn Statement of Bonnie Follestad, p. 14.

Mr. Roupe acknowledges that he had been in an argument with Ms. Walker, had gone to a bar and began drinking alcohol, and then decided to go to her place of employment to confront her, where he became irate and assaulted her. He acknowledges that he "struggled" with officers when they were trying to arrest him. Dkt. 9, pp. 8-10. Mr. Roupe was subsequently convicted of assault and violation of a protection order, a class C felony, and is serving a five year prison sentence for this offense. Dkt. 134, Kugler Decl., Exhibit I, p. 47.

B. Involvement of Strickland and Veach

Defendant James Strickland is a Custody Sergeant and the supervisor of the City of Marysville Jail. Dkt. 130, Declaration of James Strickland, p.p. 1-2. At the time of Mr. Roupe's arrest, Defendant Veach was a Custody Officer at the jail. Dkt. 131, Declaration of Adam Veach, p. 1. (Officer Veach is now a City of Burlington police officer). Id. After Mr. Roupe was brought to the city jail in the restraint chair and spit mask following his arrest, Officers Strickland and Veach transported Mr. Roupe to Providence Everett Medical Center ("Providence EMC") for treatment of the injuries he received during his arrest. Dkt. 130, Strickland Decl., p. 2; Dkt. 131, Veach Decl., p. 2.

Assisted by security officers from Providence EMC, Officers Strickland and Veach moved Mr. Roupe into the hospital while he was still restrained in the restraint chair. Id. Officer Strickland and Chad Lisenby, Providence EMC's security supervisor, determined that it was necessary to keep Mr. Roupe fully restrained while he received medical treatment due to Mr. Roupe's erratic behavior, statements about his anger and verbal threats, and concern about the safety of hospital medical staff and security officers. Dkt. 130, Strickland Decl., p. 3; Dkt. 132, Declaration of Chad Lisenby, p. 2. All on-the-job hospital security officers were called in to assist in transferring Mr. Roupe from the ...

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