United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
JAMES D. GRIEPSMA, Plaintiff,
CHARLES M. WEND, et al, Defendants.
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on the Report and
Recommendation ("R&R") of United States
Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler (R&R (Dkt. # 95)) and
Plaintiff James D. Griepsma's objections thereto (Obj.
(Dkt. # 97)). Also before the court are Mr. Griepsma's
motions filed after his objections: a motion for
reconsideration of the court's previous order (Mot. for
Recons. (Dkt. # 98)), a motion for Supreme Court
discretionary review of his case (Mot. for S.Ct. Rev. (Dkt. #
99)), and a motion to compel (MTC (Dkt. # 106)).
court has considered the parties' submissions, the
relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law.
Being fully advised,  the court ADOPTS the R&R, DISMISSES
Mr. Griepsma's complaint with prejudice, and DENIES Mr.
Griepsma's remaining motions.
Griepsma is proceeding in forma pauperis in this
action, in which he alleges civil rights violations under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (See generally Compl. (Dkt. #
4).) He asserts a variety of claims relating to his
confinement in 2G16 as a pre-trial detainee at the Skagit
County jail. (See generally id.) Specifically, Mr.
Griepsma brings suit against a number of current and former
Skagit County employees and alleges the following
constitutional violations: (1) failure to protect him from
assault; (2) deliberate indifference to his serious medical
needs; (3) use of excessive force; (4) interference with his
right of access to court; (5) interference with his right to
send and receive mail; (6) harassment and death threats; (7)
denial of his due process rights; and (8) unconstitutional
punishment through his confinement conditions. (See Id.
response, Defendants filed four dispositive motions seeking
dismissal of Mr. Griepsma's claims (MTD Eleven Defendants
(Dkt. #15); MTD Three Defendants (Dkt. # 38); MTD Five
Defendants (Dkt. # 50); MTD Sue Baerg (Dkt. # 67)), as well
as a motion to find Mr. Griepsma's complaint frivolous
(Mot. to Find Compl. Frivolous (Dkt. # 70)). Mr. Griepsma
opposed all of these motions. (1st Resp. (Dkt. # 77); 2nd
Resp. (Dkt. # 79); 3rd Resp. (Dkt. # 80); 4th Resp. (Dkt. #
81); 5th Resp. (Dkt. # 82).)
September 14, 2017, Magistrate Judge Theiler issued an
R&R granting Defendants summary judgment on all of Mr.
Griepsma's claims, denying Defendants' motion to find
Mr. Griepsma's complaint frivolous, and dismissing the
action with prejudice. (See R&R at 6, 35.) In
the R&R, Magistrate Judge Theiler thoroughly recounts
background facts for each of Mr. Griepsma's claims, and
the court does not repeat those facts here. (See Id.
at 2-5.) However, because the court focuses on the medical
and excessive force claims below, the court briefly
summarizes Magistrate Judge Theiler's reasoning for
dismissing those two claims.
Mr. Griepsma alleges a series of constitutional violations
regarding the medical care he received, including deliberate
indifference by Ms. Baerg for denying him access to his
x-rays, denying him over-the-counter ("OTC")
medications and icepacks, providing him OTC medications in
crushed form, ignoring his complaints about chest pain, and
failing to provide him medical approval to see a hand
specialist. (See Id. at 13-16 (citing Compl. at 3-4,
6-7).) Magistrate Judge Theiler found that the evidence does
not support that Ms. Baerg "acted in conscious disregard
of an excessive risk to [Mr. Griepsma's] health[, ]"
as set forth in Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847
(1994). (See R&Ratl2, 17.)
Mr. Griepsma alleges the use of excessive force against him
on May 19, 2016, when he asserts that four or five deputies
held him down while Deputy Eichman punched him in the ribs
and Sergeant Mcintosh grabbed his hand, thereby
hyperextending and breaking his immobile fingers.
(Id. at 3, 19 (citing Compl. at 4).) Magistrate
Judge Theiler found that "the medical evidence refutes
[Mr. Griepsma's] contention of one or more broken fingers
or more than de minimis injury to his hands or
ribs." (Id. at 21 (citing Baerg Decl. (Dkt. #
26) at 21-24, 56-59; Randall-Secrest Decl. (Dkt. # 27) at
10).) Before the altercation, several defendants and
witnesses observed Mr. Griepsma touch Sergeants Mcintosh and
Storie while they were transporting him and then
"advance on, kick at, and back [Sergeant] Mcintosh
towards a set of stairs, pulling [Sergeant] Storie ... along
with him." (Id. at 20.) They state that
"[Deputy Eichman], who had been watching from the lower
floor ... radioed for assistance, ran up the stairs, and used
his weight to take [Mr. Griepsma] to the floor, but landed on
his back with [Mr. Griepsma] on top of him, punching,
spitting, and yelling." (Id.) Further,
"[Sergeant] Mcintosh tried to control [Mr.
Griepsma's] arms, while [Sergeant] Storie attempted
control of his waist chains with one hand and grabbed his
hair with the other." (Id.)
Judge Theiler dismissed Mr. Griepsma's excessive force
claim against Sergeant Storie, Sergeant Mcintosh, Deputy
Eichman, and Chief Deputy Wend due to "an absence of
significant and probative evidence supporting [Mr.
Griepsma's] version of events." (Id. at
22.) Despite Mr. Griepsma's claim that he never touched
Deputy Eichman or Sergeant Mcintosh, Magistrate Judge Theiler
found that "[t]he evidence demonstrates the objective
reasonableness of the force employed"-the standard
provided by Kingsley v. Hendrickson, - U.S. -, 135
S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015). (R&R at 18, 20, 22.)
Specifically, Magistrate Judge Theiler found that "[Mr.
Griepsma] engaged in a physical altercation with multiple
correctional officers[, ]" and "[t]he severity of
the security problem and threat was clear ...."
(Id. at 20, 22 (citing 3rd Resp. at 7).) Magistrate
Judge Theiler additionally noted that "[t]he evidence
... supports the conclusion [Mr. Griepsma] actively resisted
the efforts of a large number of officers to end the
altercation[J" and "[t]hese circumstances do not
support [Mr. Griepsma's] allegation of excessive
force." (Mat 22.)
October 2, 2017, Mr. Griepsma timely filed objections to the
R&R and attached a new medical record that offers a
summary of a medical appointment he had on September 28,
2017. (See generally Obj.) Later that same day, Mr.
Griepsma filed two additional motions and a declaration: (1)
a motion for reconsideration of the court's order denying
his August 17, 2017, motion to amend his complaint
(see Mot. for Recons.), (2) a motion requesting that
the Supreme Court review his case (see Mot. for
S.Ct. Rev.), and (3) a declaration from Terrance Jon Irby, a
fellow inmate at the time of the alleged excessive force
incident. (See Irby Decl. (Dkt. # 100).) In the
declaration, Mr. Irby states that he "agree[s] to those
facts present in the attached motion" and offers his
account of the altercation between Mr. Griepsma and the
Defendants on May 19, 2016. (See Id. at 1-2.)
Finally, on November 22, 2017, Mr. Griepsma filed a motion to
compel the time clock records of specific defendants.
court now evaluates Mr. Griepsma's objections and
motions. First, the court addresses Mr. Griepsma's
objections in light of the new evidence he submitted. Next,
the court turns to his motion for reconsideration, motion for
Supreme Court discretionary review, and motion to compel.
Objections to R&R
district court has jurisdiction to review a Magistrate
Judge's report and recommendation on dispositive matters.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). "The district judge must
determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's
disposition that has been properly objected to."
Id. "A judge of the court may accept, reject,
or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1). In addition, because Mr. Griepsma is
proceeding pro se9 this court must
interpret his complaint and objections liberally. See
Bernhardt v. L.A. Cty., 339 F.3d 920, 925 (9th Cir.
court first addresses Mr. Griepsma's objections to the
dismissal of his claims not impacted by the new evidence. The
court then turns to Mr. Griepsma's objections to the
dismissal of his remaining claims-the excessive force and
medical claims-and what, if any, impact Mr. Irby's
declaration and the new medical record had.
Claims with No New Evidence
Griepsma details a litany of objections to the dismissal of
his claims not relating to the new evidence,  including the
following: objections to Magistrate Judge Theiler's legal
conclusions; objections to statements of the law; objections
to statements citing Defendants' declarations and other
evidence; and objections to statements citing his own
complaint. (See generally Obj.) Defendants contend
that "[Mr.] Griepsma's objections are not supported
by citation to the record or any admissible evidence"
and "often allude to immaterial matters that are not
in the record." (Resp. to Obj. (Dkt. # 101) at 2.) The
court agrees with Defendants.
Griepsma's objections restate arguments he made in his
complaint and responses, thereby failing to raise any novel
issues not addressed by the R&R. (See generally
R&R; Obj.) Moreover, none of Mr. Griepsma's
objections specifically address Magistrate Judge
Theiler's analysis or reasoning. (See generally
Obj.) Based on an independent examination of the record, the
court concurs with Magistrate Judge Theiler's
recommendation of dismissal.