United States District Court, E.D. Washington
LILIANA M. MESKE, Plaintiff,
AMANDA RENZELMAN, individually and in her official capacity; DON W. ANDERSON, individually and in his official capacity; ASOTIN COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Washington, and JOHN DOE 1-10, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
SALVADOR MENDOZA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
late afternoon on January 5, 2015, Plaintiff Liliana Meske
was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and taken
to the Asotin County Jail. At the jail, Ms. Meske was
restrained, forcibly stripped of her clothing, and placed in
a suicide smock. She suffered serious injuries in this
process, including a broken rib and a contusion on her head.
The officers involved in booking Ms. Meske, Deputy Amanda
Renzelman and Sgt. Don Anderson, assert that Ms. Meske was
belligerent, suicidal, and refusing to comply with their
directions. They insist their use of force was necessary and
reasonable. They also assert that Ms. Meske's injuries
resulted from her falling and hitting her head on the wall
and hitting her chest on a stool. Ms. Meske acknowledges
having limited memory of what happened.
Meske alleges that Deputy Renzelman and Sgt. Anderson used
excessive force in violation of her Fourth, Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. ECF No. 1 at 6-7. She also makes
state-law battery and emotional distress claims. ECF No. 1 at
7-8. Defendants move for summary judgment on each of these
claims, arguing that (1) Ms. Meske has not alleged a basis
for municipal liability against Asotin County under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983; (2) the use of force by corrections officers was
reasonable; and (3) even if the use of force was a
constitutional violation, the officers are entitled to
qualified immunity. For the reasons discussed below, Ms. Meske
has alleged a basis for municipal liability against Asotin
County, the individual defendants have not, on the present
record, demonstrated that they are entitled to qualified
immunity, and issues of fact preclude summary judgment on
each of Ms. Meske's claims. Accordingly, Defendants'
motion for summary judgment is denied.
January 5, 2015, in the late afternoon, Ms. Meske was
arrested for DUI and transported to the Asotin County Jail,
where she was booked. ECF No. 37 at 4-5; ECF No. 36 at 2. The
corrections officers involved in booking Ms. Meske, Deputy
Renzelman and Sgt. Anderson, aver that she appeared
intoxicated, was uncooperative, and said she was suicidal.
ECF No. 36 at 2; ECF No. 39 at 2. Ms. Meske refused requests
to submit a breath sample. ECF No. 70 at 6.
Meske told the officer who arrested her and Sgt. Anderson at
the jail that she had recently tried to commit suicide and
wanted to talk to her attorney about her will. Id. at
6. She also made suicidal statements such as “just
shoot me now.” Id. at 7. Sgt. Anderson made
the decision to put Ms. Meske in a suicidal smock, and he
directed a female officer, Deputy Renzelman, to place Ms.
Meske in the smock. ECF No. 38 at 9; ECF No. 39 at 2.
officers provide the following version of events after Sgt.
Anderson directed Deputy Renzelman to place Ms. Meske in the
Renzelman states that when she approached Ms. Meske, Ms.
Meske attempted to force her way out of the cell by walking
into Deputy Renzelman. ECF No. 38 at 2. Deputy Renzelman then
directed Ms. Meske to sit down; Ms. Meske initially refused,
but eventually sat after being directed to do so by Sgt.
Anderson. Id. Next, Deputy Renzelman directed Ms.
Meske to remove her jewelry. Id. Ms. Meske refused
and, according to Deputy Renzelman, said “I am a big
important person. You are all done, done, I am going to sue
you.” Id. at 3. Deputy Renzelman told Ms.
Meske several more times to remove the jewelry, to which Ms.
Meske responded “come on and do it” and
“come on and take it then.” Id. Deputy
Renzelman states that Ms. Meske then began to stand up, at
which time Deputy Renzelman put Ms. Meske's right arm in
a wrist lock and placed her on the south wall of the cell.
Id.; ECF No. 39 at 3. Sgt. Anderson came in and
assisted, controlling Ms. Meske's left arm while Deputy
Renzelman controlled her right. ECF No. 38 at 3.
Ms. Meske was restrained, Deputy Renzelman removed Ms.
Meske's bracelets. Id. Deputy Renzelman states
that during this time Ms. Meske continued to try to keep her
arm from Deputy Renzelman and said “you are a fat ugly
bitch, ” and “you are only doing this to make
yourself feel better.” Id. Another corrections
officer, Deputy MacArthur, then stepped into the cell and
removed the rest of Ms. Meske's jewelry. Id. at
4; ECF No. 39 at 3. Deputy Renzelman then removed Ms.
Meske's belt, and Ms. Meske allegedly said “you
like that, huh” and flicked her tongue at Deputy
Renzelman. ECF No. 38 at 4.
Anderson and Deputy Renzelman escorted Ms. Meske to a
changing room. Id.; ECF No. 39 at 3. Sgt. Anderson
instructed Ms. Meske that if she did not follow Deputy
Renzelman's directions he would assist in changing her
clothing. ECF No. 38 at 4; ECF No. 39 at 3. After Sgt.
Anderson stepped out, Deputy Renzelman instructed Ms. Meske
to remove her shirt and bra. ECF No. 38 at 4. Ms. Meske
followed these instructions, then turned to Deputy Renzelman
and reportedly said “do you like my titties? They are
real unlike yours.” Id. Rezelman next
instructed Ms. Meske several times to remove her pants and
boots. Id. at 5. Ms. Meske refused and said
“do you like what you see” several times.
Id. Deputy Renzelman states that Ms. Meske then said
“come and get it, bitch, ” at which time Deputy
Renzelman grasped Ms. Meske's left arm in escort
Meske, who was wearing high-heeled shoes, began to lose her
balance and stagger forward, ultimately tripping on a stool
in the changing room. Id. According to Deputy
Renzelman, as Ms. Meske fell, she hit her head on the wall,
hit her side on a stool, and fell to the floor. Id.
After Ms. Meske fell, she began screaming on the floor.
Anderson says that at this time he heard Ms. Meske yell,
followed by a thumping noise, and then Deputy Renzelman
yelling at Ms. Meske to stop resisting. ECF No. 39 at 4. Sgt.
Anderson then entered the changing room because he was
concerned about Deputy Renzelman's safety. Id.
He observed Deputy Renzelman in a prone position with Ms.
Meske on the floor face down. Id. Sgt. Anderson
assisted Deputy Renzelman by holding Ms. Meske's lower
body while Deputy Renzelman tried to control Ms. Meske's
arms. ECF No. 38 at 5; ECF No. 39 at 4. Deputy Renzelman
instructed Ms. Meske to stop fighting, but she refused. ECF
No. 38 at 5. After multiple orders, Ms. Meske eventually put
her right arm behind her back and she was handcuffed.
Id. at 6. After Ms. Meske was restrained, Sgt.
Anderson removed her pants, shoes, and socks. Id.;
ECF No. 39 at 4. Deputy Renzelman attempted to remove Ms.
Meske's underwear, and eventually cut them off using
scissors. ECF No. 38 at 6; ECF No. 39 at 4.
Ms. Meske's clothing was removed, Deputy Renzelman placed
Ms. Meske in a suicide smock, and Deputy Renzelman and
MacArthur escorted her to the booking room. ECF No. 38 at 7.
Medics examined Ms. Meske and advised the corrections
officers to keep an eye on her and call them if she would not
wake up or if her pupils were uneven. ECF No. 39 at 5. Deputy
Renzelman had no further interaction with Ms. Meske. ECF No.
38 at 7. Deputy MacArthur and Sgt. Anderson escorted Ms.
Meske to a hold cell and removed her handcuffs. There were no
further incidents. ECF No. 39 at 5.
Meske provided the following information:
she does not remember many specifics from the event and
denies any memory of (1) trying to leave the room or making
physical contact with Deputy Renzelman when Deputy Renzelman
initially told her to sit down; (2) purposefully refusing
Deputy Renzelman's directions; (3) being told to stop
fighting; (4) making threatening statements or calling the
officers names; (5) Sgt. Anderson speaking to her; or (6)
that she was examined by medics. ECF No. 50 at 3. She does