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Vermillion v. Lacey Police Department

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

March 8, 2018

SCARLETT VERMILLION, Plaintiff,
v.
LACEY POLICE DEPARTMENT AND CITY OF LACEY, CHRIS PACKARD, and THURSTON COUNTY, Defendants.

          SECOND ORDER ON DEFENDANT CITY OF LACEY AND LACEY POLICE DEPARTMENT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          ROBERT J. BRYAN United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant City of Lacey and Lacey Police Department's Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 39. The Court has considered the motion and the remainder of the file herein.

         The narrow issue presented by the motion is whether the City of Lacey was involved with Plaintiff's negative encounter with law enforcement on July 4, 2014. Because there has been no showing that any City of Lacey entity or agent, including the Lacey Police Department, was involved with the incident, summary judgment of dismissal should be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         A. The Amended Complaint and named parties.

         Plaintiff e-filed her 28 U.S.C. §1983 Complaint on July 5, 2017, the last day to file the case under the applicable three year statute of limitations, given the July 4th holiday. Dkts. 1-2, 1-9. See discussion, Dkt. 24 at 3-6. The Complaint named as defendants Lacey Police Department and “Chris Packard c/o Lacey Police Department, ” both with the same mailing address of 420 College St. SE, Lacey, Washington. Dkt. 1-2 at 1.

         On November 2, 2017, the Court issued an Order finding that “Lacey Police Department” was not a proper defendant. Dkt. 24 at 8. The Court gave Plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended complaint naming the City of Lacey, not Lacey Police Department, as a defendant. Id. Plaintiff filed the Amended Complaint on November 20, 2017. Dkt. 28. The Amended Complaint names a defendant, “Lacey Police Department and City of Lacey, ” as one entity (hereinafter, “The City of Lacey Defendant”). Dkt. 28 at 2. Also named are “Chris Packard c/o - Officer, ” and “Thurston County a Political subdivision of the State of WA (Sheriff's Depart.).” Id. The Amended Complaint alleges substantially the same set of facts about the July 4, 2014 law enforcement incident. See Dkts. 1-2 and 28.

         B. The City of Lacey Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         The City of Lacey Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on December 7, 2017. Dkt. 39. The motion seeks summary judgment of dismissal on the basis that no City of Lacey officer or entity was in any way involved in the July 4, 2014 incident. The City of Lacey Defendant substantiated its motion with the declaration of Joe Upton, Commander with the Lacey Police Department, who represented under penalty of perjury that, after a thorough review of all Lacey Police Department records, “I have determined that no Lacey Police Department officers were involved in any way with the July 4, 2014 incident.” Dkt. 40 at 1. A detailed 911 log for a July 4, 2014 police event references Chris Packard (id. at 3) and Plaintiff (id. at 4), but not the Lacey Police Department. The City of Lacey Defendant also referred the Court to a declaration by Chris Packard, a named defendant, who stated that since 2012 he has been continuously employed with Thurston County Sherriff's Office. Dkt. 35 at 1.

         On January 3, 2018, after the both the Court and the City of Lacey Defendant warned Plaintiff of the consequences for failing to respond to a motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 39 at 1; Dkt. 43), Plaintiff filed a Response to another pending motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 44 at 1. Plaintiff filed a Response to the City of Lacey Defendant's motion for summary judgment in paper format on January 16, 2018, but the pleading was not processed by the Clerk's Office until after the Court had already granted the City of Lacey Defendant's motion for summary judgment, on January 24, 2018. Dkt. 52.

         Two days later, on January 26, 2018, the Court vacated its Order and considered the merits of Plaintiff's Response. Dkt. 57 at 1. The Court construed the pleading as a request for additional time to supplement the record in opposition to the motion. Id. at 2. The Court gave Plaintiff a deadline of February 12, 2018, to file supplemental materials. At Plaintiff's request, the Court extended the deadline to February 26, 2018. Dkt. 71. The City of Lacey Defendant has supplemented their showing with a City of Lacey map and accompanying declaration, to show that the July 4, 2014 incident occurred in unincorporated Thurston County, not within the City of Lacey. Dkt. 83.

         C. Plaintiff's showing.

         As relevant to the issue presented, whether the City of Lacey was involved with the July 4, 2014 incident, Plaintiff has stated in prior pleadings, “I am just not that knowledgeable in all the different departments and ranks of the law enforcement . . . I also believe that the Lacey Police Department was in fact present that day [of July 4, 2014].” Dkt. 44 at 6.

         Since Plaintiff's request for an extension of time, Plaintiff has made multiple filings, all of which the Court has considered. Plaintiff has not requested more time for discovery. Plaintiff has not filed any police reports, affidavits, or other evidence, other than her own ...


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