United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
O. RICE Chief United States District Judge.
THE COURT are Defendants Chelan County and Douglas
County's Motions for Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 47; 51.
This matter was submitted for consideration without oral
argument. The Court has reviewed the record and files herein,
and is fully informed. For the reasons discussed below,
Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (ECF Nos. 47;
51) are GRANTED.
action arises out of the underlying criminal conviction of
Plaintiff Edwin Troy Hawkins. Defendants previously moved to
dismiss all federal and state law claims in Plaintiff's
original Complaint, which the Court granted excluding the
malicious prosecution claims. ECF No. 21. Plaintiff then
filed a First Amended Complaint and Defendants moved to
dismiss. ECF Nos. 22; 23; 24. The Court granted
Defendants' motions and allowed Plaintiff's request
for leave to amend. ECF No. 33.
Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, the Chelan and Douglas County entities
and officers maliciously pursued charges and a conviction
against him in violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. ECF No. 35 at 20. The Court granted the
parties' Stipulated Motion to Dismiss Defendants Steven
M. Clem and John Does 15-25 with the Douglas County Deputy
Prosecuting Attorney's Office. ECF No. 41. Plaintiff
never timely identified the John and Jane Doe Defendants, ECF
No. 46 at 2, and therefore, they are dismissed. In the
instant motions, the remaining Chelan County defendants and
Douglas County defendants move for summary judgment with
prejudice on all claims. ECF Nos. 47; 51.
following are the undisputed facts unless otherwise
noted. Hawkins is an orchardist in Eastern
Washington. ECF No. 59 at ¶ 3. In early 2006, Bob
Morrison, manager of Beebe River Orchard, offered to have
Hawkins lease the orchard. ECF No. 35 at ¶ 2.3. Hawkins
had several agents investigate the equipment on the orchard
and ultimately declined the lease offer. Id. at
¶¶ 2.4-2.5. As a result, Hawkins contends that
Morrison and Charlie Myers, the orchard's irrigator, lost
their full-time employment. Id. at ¶ 2.5.
in the spring of 2006, Morrison reported to the Douglas
County Sheriff's Office that two sprayers, a Kubota
tractor, and a Landini tractor were missing. ECF Nos. 35 at
¶ 2.6; 59 at ¶ 9. Hawkins asserts that Morrison
testified at the criminal trial that he received a call from
Len England, who said he knew where the missing sprayers were
and had photographs. ECF Nos. 35 at ¶ 2.7; 59 at ¶
11. Hawkins has a long-standing feud with his in-laws,
including Len, Doug, and Dale England. ECF No. 35 at
¶ 2.2. Morrison reported to the Douglas County
Sherriff's Office that the missing orchard sprayers were
located on property Hawkins leased from Sandcastle Orchard
and provided the photographs taken by Len England. ECF Nos.
35 at ¶ 2.7; 52 at ¶¶ 7-8; 59 at ¶ 12.
The parties dispute whether Bill Black, an officer with the
Douglas County Sheriff's Office, knew that Len England
was Hawkins' uncle. ECF Nos. 52 at ¶ 9; 59 at
¶¶ 12-13. Officer Black visited Sandcastle Orchard,
along with Charlie Myers. ECF No. 35 at ¶ 2.8. The
sprayers were eventually located on property Hawkins'
leased. ECF Nos. 52 at ¶ 20; 59 at ¶ 20.
answering Deputy Black's questions, Hawkins visited the
neighbors of Sandcastle Orchard, Don and Gloria Bailey. ECF
No. 35 at ¶ 2.9. Hawkins states that Ms. Bailey
testified at trial that several days before the sprayers were
found, she witnessed a blue Ford pickup-Morrison drove a blue
Ford Ranger-with a loaded trailer drive on to the Sandcastle
Orchard property and then drive away with an empty trailer.
Id.; 59 at ¶¶ 9, 17. At deposition, Ms.
Bailey testified that two police officers questioned her
about the equipment. ECF Nos. 59 at ¶ 18; 60-7 at 4 (Ex.
G). Deputy Bo Allen of the Douglas County Sheriff's
Office testified he did not follow up with Ms. Bailey's
statement. ECF No. 60-6 at 4 (Ex. F).
October 2006, Deputy Randy Lake of the Chelan County
Sheriff's Office visited Hawkins' home and inspected
his farm equipment. Deputy Lake did not find any signs of the
missing Kubota and Landini tractors. ECF Nos. 35 at ¶
2.11; 48 at ¶ 22; 59 at ¶ 21. The day after this
search, Hawkins asserts that tools, equipment, and equipment
records were stolen from one of Hawkins' shops. ECF No.
35 at ¶ 2.12; 59 at ¶ 22.
Hawkins brought his Kubota tractor to East Wenatchee for
repair. ECF No. 35 at ¶ 2.17. The mechanics noticed that
the serial number on the tractor had been ground off and the
identification plate was missing. Id. The mechanics
determined that this Kubota tractor was one of the pieces of
equipment previously reported missing and contacted the
police. Id.; 52 at ¶ 15.
8, 2007, Hawkins was arrested for possession of stolen
property when he went to pick up the tractor from the
mechanics. ECF No. 35 at ¶ 2.18. After he was released
on bail, Hawkins returned to the mechanic to pick up the
tractor. Id. While driving home with the tractor,
Hawkins was pulled over by a Chelan County Sheriff's
deputy who had been in communication with the Douglas County
Sheriff's Office. Id. There was confusion over
whether this tractor was the missing tractor. Id.
Ultimately, deputies from both Douglas and Chelan County,
including Deputy Lake, took pictures of the tractor and then
helped Hawkins lock the tractor in his shed. Id.; 48
at ¶ 22. On June 11, 2007, several Douglas and Chelan
County deputies arrived at Hawkins' home and arrested him
for possession of stolen property, the stolen property being
the Kubota tractor Hawkins brought home three days earlier.
ECF No. 35 at ¶ 2.19.
September 2007, Hawkins asserts that his employee was twice
pulled over by a Douglas County Sheriff's deputy for
transporting the allegedly stolen Landini tractor and that
Deputy England was present for the second stop. Id.
at ¶ 2.24. Hawkins contends that Deputy Dean Schlaman of
the Douglas County Sheriff's Office stopped a truck and
the Landini tractor on the highway based upon a call by
Deputy England. ECF No. 53-1 at 65 (Ex. D); 52 at ¶ 38.
Hawkins states that Deputy Schlaman then waited for an hour
and fifteen minutes for the arrival of Deputy England to
inspect the tractor, and they found no evidence that it was
stolen. ECF No. 53-1 at 65-66 (Ex. D). Additionally, Hawkins
claims that Deputy England, along with Deputy Allen,
threatened one of Hawkins' employees with deportation if
he did not tell them who stole the tractors. ECF No. 35 at
¶ 2.24. In October 2007, Deputy Schlaman drafted a
search warrant for the Landini tractor, which was then
located on Hawkins' property. ECF No. 52 at ¶¶
21-22. Hawkins also alleges that Deputy Schlaman trespassed
on his property and failed to disclose he was a police
officer. ECF Nos. 35 at ¶ 2.25; 52 at ¶ 38; 53-1 at
65 (Ex. D).
was ultimately charged with four crimes related to the stolen
farm equipment: one count of first degree possession of
stolen property for the sprayers; one count of first degree
possession of stolen property for the Landini tractor; one
count of first degree attempted possession of stolen property
based on Hawkins' attempt to pick up the Kubota tractor
from the mechanic; and one count of first degree possession
of stolen property based on when Hawkins obtained possession
of the Kubota tractor from the mechanic. ECF No. 35 at ¶
was convicted on the two counts related to the Kubota
tractor. Id. at ¶ 2.37; 52 at ¶ 26.
Hawkins appealed the convictions, and while the appeal was
pending, successfully moved the trial court for a new trial
based on newly discovered evidence. ECF No. 35 at ¶
2.38. The state appealed the trial court's grant of a new
trial, and the Washington State Supreme Court ultimately
ruled in Hawkins' favor. Id. On December 19,
2014, the Douglas County Superior Court entered a stipulated
order of dismissal with prejudice as to the charges against
Hawkins. Id. at ¶ 2.39.
September 16, 2015, Hawkins initiated this case. ECF No. 1 at
Standard of Review
judgment is appropriate when “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). For
purposes of summary judgment, a fact is
“material” if it might affect the outcome of the
suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A material fact is
“genuine” where the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could find in favor of the non-moving party.
Id. The moving party bears the initial burden of
showing 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 facts showing there is a genuine issue of material
fact. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256.
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court views 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). The court must only
consider admissible evidence. Orr v. Bank of America, NT
& SA, 285 F.3d 764 (9th Cir. 2002). There must be
evidence on which a jury could reasonably find for the
plaintiff and a “mere existence of a scintilla of
evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be
insufficient.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
Under Color of Law
42 U.S.C. § 1983, a cause of action may be maintained
“against any person acting under color of law who
deprives another ‘of any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, ' of the
United States.” S. Cal. Gas Co. v. City of Santa
Ana, 336 F.3d 885, 887 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting 42
U.S.C. § 1983). “Under color of law”
requires a showing of “personal participation in the
alleged rights deprivation, ” not merely membership in
a group without showing individual participation in the
unlawful conduct. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930,
934-35 (9th Cir. 2002) (citing Chuman v. Wright, 76
F.3d 292, 294 (9th Cir. 1996)). “A person deprives
another ‘of a constitutional right, within the meaning
of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates
in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act
which he is legally required to do that causes the
deprivation of which the plaintiff complains.'”
Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 633 (9th Cir. 1988)
(brackets and emphasis omitted) (quoting Johnson v.
Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978)).
County Defendants assert that Randy Lake's involvement in
the case was limited to a consensual search of Mr.
Hawkins' property where Deputy Lake found no evidence of
stolen equipment. ECF Nos. 47 at 7; 35 at ¶ 2.11; 48 at
¶ 22; 59 at ¶ 21. Almost a year later, Deputy Lake
inspected a Kubota tractor that had been reported stolen by
the mechanics and helped Hawkins take pictures of the
tractor. ECF Nos. 35 at ¶ 2.18; 48 at ¶ 22.
Therefore, Chelan County Defendants argue that Hawkins'
malicious prosecution claim cannot be maintained against
Deputy Lake. ECF No. 47 at 7. Plaintiff provides no further