United States District Court, W.D. Washington
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Barbara Stuart
Robinson's (“Plaintiff”) motion for summary
judgment. Dkt. 15. The Court has considered the pleadings
filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the
remainder of the file and for the reasons stated herein (1)
denies Plaintiff's motion and (2) grants summary judgment
in favor of Defendants.
17, 2017, Plaintiff was charged in Tacoma Municipal Court for
Criminal Trespass and Obstruction of a Law Enforcement
Officer. Dkt. 20 at 6. The prosecutor's probable cause
statement alleged that as police officers were attempting to
conduct a welfare check on a reported subject in a motorized
chair at an Econolodge in Tacoma, Washington, Plaintiff
approached them, identified herself as a federal agent and
told them that they were trespassing on the property.
Id. at 8. As the officers attempted to locate the
subject of their reported welfare check, Plaintiff proceeded
to follow them while yelling that they were trespassing and
that she would place them under arrest. Id. The
on-duty clerk of the Econolodge then informed the officers
that Plaintiff was not a guest of the facility and requested
that they remove her from the property due to her disruptive
behavior. Id. Plaintiff refused to leave upon the
officers' request. Id. Ultimately, the officers
abandoned their original welfare check to address Plaintiff
in light of her refusal to leave the property and the
disturbance she was causing despite repeated instructions to
leave the police alone. Id. Plaintiff was arrested
and booked into the Pierce County Jail for trespassing and
obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
18, 2017, Plaintiff was arraigned in Tacoma Municipal Court.
See Dkt. 20 at 11. Plaintiff was represented by
defense counsel who informed the judge that he was concerned
over Plaintiff's competency to stand trial. Id.
at 13-14. Accordingly, the judge ordered that Plaintiff be
held without bail until July 26, 2017, when a competency
evaluation could be completed pursuant to the procedures
outlined in RCW 10.77. Id. at 12-15. When the
evaluation could not be performed until July 31, 2017, the
hearing was set over until August 2, 2017.
August 2, 2017, Plaintiff again appeared before the Tacoma
Municipal Court. See Dkt. 20 at 30. Based on the
results of the competency evaluation performed by the
Washington Department of Social and Health Services, see
Id. at 49-53, the municipal court determined that
Plaintiff lacked the rational capacity to understand the
nature of the proceedings and to assist in her defense.
Id. at 34-35. The municipal court then dismissed the
charges against Plaintiff and she was referred to health
treatment for a civil commitment evaluation pursuant to RCW
10.77.088. Id. at 38-45. Once the 72-hour period set
forth in RCW 10.77.088(1)(c)(ii) had elapsed without a
determination by a designated mental health professional as
to whether a petition for involuntary commitment should be
filed, Plaintiff was released from custody.
August 15, 2017, Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit in Pierce
County Superior Court. Dkt. 2-3. On August 17, 2017,
Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. Dkt. 1-2. Plaintiff
claims that her arrest and custody violated a variety of
federal and state laws. Id. at 2-13. On September
11, 2017, Defendants removed the case to this court. Dkt. 1.
December 17, 2017, Plaintiff moved for summary judgment. Dkt.
15. On January 8, 2017, Defendants responded. Dkt. 19. In
their response, Defendants argue that the Court should enter
summary judgment in their favor, despite the absence of a
cross-motion for summary judgment. Id. On January 9,
2017, Plaintiff replied. Dkt. 21.
Court denies Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.
Summary judgment is proper only if the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law when the nonmoving
party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential
element of a claim in the case on which the nonmoving party
has the burden of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). There is no genuine issue of fact
for trial where the record, taken as a whole, could not lead
a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (nonmoving party must present
specific, significant probative evidence, not simply
“some metaphysical doubt”). See also
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). Conversely, a genuine dispute over a
material fact exists if there is sufficient evidence
supporting the claimed factual dispute, requiring a judge or
jury to resolve the differing versions of the truth.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 253
(1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors
Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).
determination of the existence of a material fact is often a
close question. The Court must consider the substantive
evidentiary burden that the nonmoving party must meet at
trial-e.g., a preponderance of the evidence in most civil
cases. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254; T.W. Elec.
Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630. The Court must resolve any
factual issues of controversy in favor of the nonmoving party
only when the facts specifically attested by that party
contradict facts specifically attested by the moving party.
The nonmoving party may not merely state that it will
discredit the moving party's evidence at trial, in the
hopes that evidence can be developed at trial to support the
claim. T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630
(relying on Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). Conclusory,
nonspecific statements in affidavits are not sufficient, and
missing facts will not be presumed. Lujan v. Nat'l
Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990).
has failed to produce any evidence in support of her claim.
Instead, she offers only a formulaic recitation that her
16-day detention constituted a “breach of fiduciary
duty” and a violation of her rights. See Dkt.
15. Nowhere in her complaint or exhibits does she allege or
evince a policy, practice, or custom attributable to the
Defendants. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436
U.S. 658, 691-92 (1978). Accordingly, she cannot prevail on
her motion for summary judgment against the City of Tacoma
and its departments for claims of constitutional violations.
importantly however, Plaintiff's pleadings and evidence
fail to attribute any improper conduct to anyone. Plaintiff
merely describes conduct by individuals and agencies that was
authorized under the procedures outlined in RCW 10.77,
without articulating any coherent theory on why these
procedures are unconstitutional or otherwise unlawful. The
closest Plaintiff comes to identifying allegedly unlawful
conduct comes in the form of her declaration that she was
administered forced medication without proper authority or
support for such decision. See Dkt. 8-1 at 17-20.
However, this action was not undertaken by Defendants, but
rather by the Greater Lakes Recovery Center. Moreover,
Plaintiff has failed to articulate how the forced
administration of this medication fell short of the
procedures set forth in RCW 71.05.215, how those procedures
are inadequate, or how such conduct is possibly attributable
to the named Defendants.
Defendants argue that the Court should enter summary judgment
in their favor, even though they have failed to properly file
a cross-motion. “Even when there has been no
cross-motion for summary judgment, a district court may enter
summary judgment sua sponte against a moving party if the
losing party has had a ‘full and fair opportunity to
ventilate the issues involved in the matter.'”
Gospel Missions of Am. v. City of Los Angeles, 328
F.3d 548, 553 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Cool Fuel, Inc. v.
Connett, 685 F.2d 309, 312 (9th Cir. 1982)). See
also Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1176 (9th Cir. 2014)
(“We have long recognized that, where the party moving