United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING HOSPITAL DEFENDANTS' JOINT MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND KING COUNTY DEFENDANTS' JOINT
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
S. Lasnik United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on the joint motion for summary
judgment of defendants Highline Medical Center and Fairfax
Hospital, Dkt. # 64, and on the joint motion for summary
judgment of defendants King County, the King County
Sheriff's Office, King County Sheriff's Deputies
Scott Click, Carlos Bratcher, and Eric White, and King County
Designated Mental Health Professional Gail Bonicalzi, Dkt. #
68. In this case, plaintiff Luci Hood seeks damages for harm
allegedly suffered during her detention and involuntary
treatment by King County, the two hospitals, and their
respective employees. Those defendants ask the Court to
dismiss all of the claims against them with prejudice. Having
reviewed the memoranda, declarations, and exhibits submitted
by the parties,  and having heard oral argument on the
hospitals' motion, the Court finds and rules as follows.
light of the sensitive nature of the facts underlying this
case, the Court has filed the full version of this order
under seal. An abbreviated summary of the facts appears in
this unsealed order.
days leading up to plaintiff Luci Hood's involuntary
treatment, the King County Sheriff's Office received a
series of calls from Ms. Hood's neighbors in White
Center, Washington. After 10:00 p.m. on May 6, 2013, Dean
Smotherman and Robert Tacker separately called 911 to report
that their neighbor, Ms. Hood, was playing loud music in
violation of the local noise ordinance. Dkt. # 73, ¶ 3.
Mr. Smotherman informed the 911 dispatcher that Ms. Hood
owned guns and had been frustrated with recent events in the
neighborhood. Dkt. # 73, ¶ 3; id. at 5.
5:26 a.m. on May 7, 2013, Mr. Tacker called 911 to report
that Ms. Hood was outside mowing her lawn with a gas-powered
lawnmower. Dkt. # 70, ¶ 5; id. at 12. In
response to Mr. Tacker's call, King County Sheriff's
Deputy Juan Gil visited Ms. Hood's house, gave her a
warning, and asked her to wait to mow her lawn until later in
the day. Id. at ¶ 5; Dkt. # 73, ¶¶
6-7. Though Ms. Hood responded with a “tirade, ”
she turned off the lawnmower. Dkt. # 73, ¶ 7. Shortly
after Deputy Gil left, however, Ms. Hood resumed mowing her
lawn, and at 5:40 a.m. Mr. Tacker again called 911. Dkt. #
70, ¶ 6; id. at 14; Dkt. # 72, ¶ 5.
County Sheriff's Deputy Carlos Bratcher drove to the
scene, where Mr. Tacker informed him that Ms. Hood had been
on a “rant” over the past day or so due to
another neighbor's decision to cut down a tree on that
neighbor's property. Dkt. # 70, ¶ 7; id. at
9. Mr. Tacker told Deputy Bratcher that Ms. Hood had been
playing loud music the night before, apparently to disturb
her neighbors. As Deputy Bratcher was speaking to Mr. Tacker,
he heard a woman's voice talking loudly and yelling out,
“fuck you.” Ms. Hood emerged onto her front
porch, but upon seeing Deputy Bratcher she immediately went
back inside. Dkt. # 70, ¶ 7; id. at 9.
King County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Click arrived to
assist, Deputy Bratcher and Deputy Click knocked on Ms.
Hood's door and asked her to open it so they could talk.
Ms. Hood refused. Dkt. # 70, ¶ 8; id. at 9;
Dkt. # 72, ¶ 6. The deputies could hear Ms. Hood yelling
about having been attacked by pit bulls, calling her black
neighbors criminals, and claiming that she had been accused
of being a child molester because of her sexual orientation.
Dkt. # 70, ¶ 8; id. at 9; Dkt. # 72, ¶ 6.
Based on their experience and crisis intervention training,
Deputies Bratcher and Click believed that Ms. Hood was
suffering from mental illness, and Deputy Bratcher called the
King County mental health crisis line to advise them of the
deputies' contact with Ms. Hood. The deputies did not
believe that involuntary treatment was warranted at that
time. After placing this call, Deputy Bratcher and Deputy
Click departed. Dkt. # 70, ¶ 9; id. at 9; Dkt.
# 72, ¶¶ 6-7.
after the deputies left the area, Ms. Hood resumed her
mowing. At 7:02 a.m., Mr. Tacker once again called 911. Dkt.
# 70 at 16. Because it was then past 7:00 a.m., however, the
911 operator informed Mr. Tacker that the noise ordinance no
longer applied. Id. at 17-18.
after 9:00 a.m., 911 received a call from Kenneth Gurley, who
reported that he had been hired to cut down a tree on Ms.
Hood's street and that a woman was yelling at him for
removing the tree. Dkt. # 70 at 19-21. Around the same time,
911 received a call from a woman in the same area reporting
that her neighbors were “fighting over a tree.”
Dkt. # 70 at 23. Deputies Bratcher and Click set out once
again for Ms. Hood's house. Dkt. # 70, ¶ 11; Dkt. #
72, ¶ 8. Before they arrived, Mr. Gurley called 911 to
report that the woman was threatening to break the
tree-cutters' chainsaws with a baseball bat. The
dispatcher told Mr. Gurley that officers were on the way.
Dkt. # 70, ¶ 25.
Hood testifies that on May 6, 2013, she researched the
legality of cutting down the tree, and that a government
employee informed her that the neighbor lacked a permit to
fell the tree. Dkt. # 105, ¶¶ 4-5. The government
employee told Ms. Hood that if workers arrived to take down
the tree, Ms. Hood should take photographs to document this
activity. Id., ¶ 5. When Ms. Hood heard the
workers arrive around 9:00 a.m. on May 7, she opened her
safe, took out her camera, and went outside to take pictures
and video. Id., ¶ 8.
Deputies Bratcher and Click arrived around 9:15 a.m., they
observed Ms. Hood “standing in the street screaming at
the workers.” Dkt. # 72, ¶ 9; id. at 10.
The deputies began interviewing Mr. Gurley and his crew, who
stated that Ms. Hood was trying to stop them from cutting
down the tree and had threatened to break their chainsaws
with a baseball bat. Dkt. # 72, ¶ 9. Ms. Hood soon
intervened and told the deputies that the workers did not
have permission to cut down the tree. Deputy Bratcher noticed
that Ms. Hood's demeanor was “loud and angry”
and that her “statements did not track well.”
Deputy Bratcher testified that Ms. Hood admitted to
threatening the workers, Dkt. # 70, ¶¶ 12-13, and
Deputy Click observed Ms. Hood step toward the workers in an
aggressive way, Dkt. # 72, ¶ 9-10; id. at 10.
Ms. Hood denies threatening the workers or their equipment.
Dkt. # 105, ¶¶ 9, 16-17.
that Ms. Hood's behavior “corroborated her prior
threats, ” the deputies determined that they had reason
to believe Ms. Hood's mental condition made her a danger
to herself or others and initiated involuntary commitment
proceedings under the Involuntary Treatment Act
(“ITA”), RCW §§ 71.05.010-71.05.950.
Dkt. # 70, ¶ 13; Dkt. # 72, ¶ 10. The deputies
handcuffed Ms. Hood and called an ambulance. Dkt. # 70,
¶¶ 13-14; Dkt. # 72, ¶¶ 10-11;
id. at 10.
the ambulance arrived, Ms. Hood placed several calls to 911.
She told the 911 dispatcher that the police were not helping
her, that her house was open, and that she was “going
to take a shit” and was “taking off [her]
pants.” Dkt. # 70 at 27-31. While Ms. Hood was placing
these calls, Deputies Bratcher and Click observed Ms. Hood
“attempting to defecate.” Dkt. # 70, ¶ 14;
Dkt. # 72, ¶ 11; id. at 10. Ms. Hood testifies
that she had asked to go inside to use the bathroom, but that
the deputies had ignored this request, and so she wet her
clothes. She testifies that, to keep the urine from touching
her skin, she “shimmied her pants down a bit, ”
but that she never attempted to pull her pants down to
defecate. Dkt. # 105, ¶¶ 14-15.
10:34 a.m., after an ambulance had taken Ms. Hood to Highline
Medical Center, animal control collected Ms. Hood's dogs.
Deputies Bratcher and Click confirmed that the door to Ms.
Hood's house was locked and then departed. Dkt. # 70,
¶ 16; Dkt. # 72, ¶ 12.
ambulance brought Ms. Hood to Highline Medical Center, where
she was evaluated and treated pursuant to the Involuntary
Treatment Act (ITA), RCW §§ 71.05.010-71.05.950.
8:32 p.m., while Ms. Hood was detained at the hospital, Ms.
Hood's neighbors, Christine and Dean Smotherman, called
911 to report that they had seen a strange vehicle parked in
front of Ms. Hood's house, with a woman sitting inside.
They saw an unknown man run toward the car with an object in
his hands, and then saw the car speed away. Dkt. # 69, ¶
3. When King County Sheriff's Deputies responded to the
call, they discovered that someone had made a forced entrance
into Ms. Hood's house. They also discovered several of
Ms. Hood's belongings on the ground in Ms. Hood's
yard. Presuming that these items had been dropped by a
burglar, the deputies collected the belongings and brought
them back to the Sheriff's Office for cataloguing. Dkt. #
69, ¶ 4.
11:30 p.m., King County Sheriff's Deputy Adam Easterbrook
came to the hospital and informed Ms. Hood that her home had
been burglarized. Dkt. # 105, ¶ 20. Hospital staff
permitted Ms. Hood to accompany Deputy Easterbrook to her
house to secure her belongings, including her safe and her
firearm. Dkt. # 105, ¶ 21. Deputy Easterbrook then
brought Ms. Hood back to the hospital, where she remained
overnight. The burglary investigation was assigned to Deputy
next day, Ms. Hood was transported in an ambulance to Fairfax
Hospital, where she remained under the involuntary detention
order until May 10, 2013.
13, 2013, Deputy White contacted Ms. Hood to arrange to
return the catalogued property. Dkt. # 69, ¶ 7. Ms. Hood
was extremely upset and claimed that she was missing hundreds
of thousands of dollars' worth of property. Id.
Later that same day, Ms. Hood visited the precinct to give
Deputy White a crowbar that Ms. Hood claimed had been used to
break into her house. This crowbar was logged into evidence
for fingerprint testing. Dkt. # 69, ¶ 8; id. at
May 14 and May 17, 2013, Ms. Hood called and emailed Deputy
White multiple times about his investigation. In these
communications, Ms. Hood described additional property
damage, which she valued at $5, 000, and suggested that the
Sheriff's Office and her neighbors were complicit in the
burglary. Ms. Hood mentioned a pending lawsuit against the
Sheriff's Office and claimed that King County was liable
for her property losses. Dkt. # 69, ¶¶ 9-14;
id. at 28-32, 35-37. Deputy White continued to
investigate the burglary and interviewed the Smothermans'
daughter, whom Ms. Hood had alleged was involved. Dkt. # 69,
¶¶ 11-12; id. at 15-19.
21, 2013, Deputy White received a voicemail that Ms. Hood had
left on May 17. In this voicemail, Ms. Hood accused the
Sheriff's Office of stealing her property and instructed
Deputy White not to contact her again. Dkt. # 69, ¶ 14;
id. at 41-43. In light of this message, Deputy White
decided to inactivate the investigation on the grounds that
he could not proceed without Ms. Hood's cooperation. Dkt.
# 69, ¶ 15; Dkt. # 107 at 20. In August 2013, at the
request of Ms. Hood's counsel, Deputy White reactivated
the investigation but was unable to develop the case any
further. Dkt. # 69, ¶ 16.
2015, Ms. Hood filed this suit in King County Superior Court
against King County, the King County Sheriff's Office,
Deputies Click, Bratcher, and White, and DMHP Bonicalzi
(collectively, “King County”); the two hospitals;
and multiple unidentified employees of the county and the
hospitals. Dkt. # 1-1. Ms. Hood claims that the defendants are
jointly and severally liable for:
1. Violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983;
2. “Violation of [their] own policies prohibiting the
restraint of individuals unless they are gravely disabled or
a danger to themselves or others”;
3. “Restraining plaintiff, and continuing to restrain
plaintiff, without probable cause”; 4. “Forcing
medical services upon plaintiff without permission of the
5. “Assault and invasion of plaintiff's personal
privacy without her permission when no medical emergency
6. Negligence and negligent supervision;
7. “Restraining and retaining plaintiff under medical
care in violation of her rights to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness”;
8. “Restraining and holding plaintiff contrary to
reasonable professional judgment”;
9. “Purposeful withholding of police protection and
police investigation ...