United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
JAMES W. DUNN, Plaintiff,
PIERCE COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL
SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff James Dunn's
(“Dunn”) motion for partial summary judgment
(Dkt. 23) and Defendants Pierce County, Angela Steben, and
Ara Steben's (“Defendants”) motion for
summary judgment (Dkt. 27). The Court has considered the
pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the
motions and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as
February 2, 2016, Dunn filed a complaint against Defendants
in Pierce County Superior Court for the State of Washington.
Dkt. 1-2. Dunn asserted violations of his Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights as well as his rights under the
Washington constitution and tort laws. Id.
February 24, 2016, Defendants removed the matter to this
Court. Dkt. 1.
March 2, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Dkt. 7.
On April 15, 2016, the Court granted the motion as to
Dunn's claim for outrage, denied the remainder of the
motion, and granted Dunn leave to amend his outrage claim.
April 22, 2016, Dunn filed an amended complaint asserting
causes of action “for false arrest, false imprisonment,
and violation of civil rights against Defendants Steben only
(state law, Article 1 § 3 and Article 1 § 7 of the
Washington State Constitution, and the Fourth Amendment and
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution).” Dkt. 14, ¶ 3.1. Dunn did not
allege outrage in the amended complaint. On May 5, 2016,
Defendants answered and asserted a counterclaim for malicious
prosecution. Dkt. 15.
January 18, 2017, Dunn filed a motion for partial summary
judgment. Dkt. 27. On February 13, 2017, Defendants
responded. Dkt. 33. On February 17, 2017, Dunn replied. Dkt.
January 18, 2017, Defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment. Dkt. 27. On February 6, 2017, Dunn responded. Dkt.
29. On February 10, 2017, Dunn replied. Dkt. 30. On
February13, 2017, Dunn filed a surreply requesting that the
Court strike certain material as hearsay. Dkt.
days before February 13, 2014, a strong wind storm
“wreaked havoc” on the area surrounding
Dunn's residence. Dkt. 25, Declaration of James Dunn
(“Dunn Dec.”), ¶ 1. On February 13, 2014,
Dunn was raking and cleaning wind-downed branches and leaves
around his residence. Id., ¶ 2. Dunn claims
that the branches and debris were also strewn across a
“30-foot-wide private gravel easement road that crosses
[his] property for the benefit of [himself] and [his]
neighbors.” Id., ¶ 4. After cleaning up
the debris, Dunn took a break and went inside his garage,
“closing the door behind [him].” Id.,
same day, Pierce County Deputy Ara Steben received
notification that police officers were needed out at the Dunn
property. Dkt. 28-1, Deposition of Ara Steben (“Steben
Dep.”) at 36. Deputy Steben was aware of and had
personally responded to numerous complaints between Dunn and
his neighbors, some involving violence. Id. at
26-29. Based on these previous interactions, Deputy Steben
was aware of the gravel easement. Id. at 39. Upon
arriving at the scene, Deputy Steben first went to Dunn's
neighbors, the Bowers, because the Bowers had placed the call
for help. Id. at 40. Deputy Steben remembers the
Bowers informing him that Dunn had been throwing debris into
the roadway on the easement and, when Mrs. Bowers drove down
the easement earlier that day, she thought Dunn had struck
her car with a rake. Id. at 43. Deputy Steben
inspected the car and observed scratches on the wheel.
Id. at 45.
speaking with the Bowers, Deputy Steben approached the Dunn
residence. Id. at 47. Dunn and Deputy Steben provide
differing accounts of ...