United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's unopposed
motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 13). Having thoroughly
considered Defendant's motion and the relevant record,
the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS
Defendant's motion for the reasons explained herein.
proceeding pro se, alleges that Defendant Seattle
Police Department violated several Washington criminal
statutes and federal constitutional provisions based on how
its officers allegedly responded to Plaintiff's report
that she had been assaulted. (See generally Dkt. No.
1-2.) Plaintiff's claims arise out of an
incident that occurred on October 8, 2017. (Id. at
7.) Plaintiff was involved in a verbal and physical
altercation with a group of men in Seattle's Capitol Hill
neighborhood. (Dkt. No. 5-3 at 43-46.) A witness called 911
and reported that Plaintiff had been assaulted by the men.
(Id.) Several Seattle Police officers responded and
made contact with the suspects. (Id.) After speaking
with the suspects, the officers made contact with Plaintiff.
(Id.) A portion of Plaintiff's interaction with
the police officers was captured on a officer-worn body
camera. (Dkt. No. 17.)
speaking with all involved parties, the officers decided to
not make an arrest or refer any charges. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 9.)
Based on the officers' conduct, Plaintiff alleges the
following causes of action against Defendant: (1) official
misconduct in violation of Revised Code of Washington §
9A.80.010; (2) false reporting in violation of Revised Code
of Washington § 42.20.040; (3) failure to perform a duty
to investigate a claim of malicious harassment in violation
of Revised Code of Washington §§ 42.20.100,
9A.36.080; (4) failure to perform a duty to investigate a
claim of first degree assault in violation of Revised Code of
Washington §§ 42.20.100, 9A.36.011; (5) violation
of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution; and (6) violation
of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
(Id. at 22-31.) Defendant moves for summary judgment
on all claims. (Dkt. No. 13.)
Summary Judgment Standard
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
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). In making such a determination, the Court
must view the facts and justifiable inferences to be drawn
therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 255 (1986). Once a motion for summary judgment is
properly made and supported, the opposing party “must
come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is
a genuine issue for trial.'”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).
Material facts are those that may affect the outcome of the
case, and a dispute about a material fact is genuine if there
is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a
verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 248-49. While courts liberally construe the claims in a
pro se civil rights complaint, courts may not
“supply essential elements of claims that were not
initially pled.” Ivey v. Bd. of Regents of the
Univ. of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982).
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
initial matter, Plaintiff has only named the Seattle Police
Department as a Defendant in this lawsuit. The Seattle Police
Department, as an entity of the City of Seattle, is not
legally capable of being sued. See Streit v. Cty. of
L.A., 236 F.3d 552, 565 (9th Cir. 2001) (state law
controls the issue of whether a police department may be sued
as a separate entity apart from a city); see also Lee v.
City of SeaTac Police Dep't., No. C12-0194-RSL, Dkt.
No. 25 at 2 (W.D. Wash. 2013) (citing Nolan v. Snohomish
Cty., 802 P.2d 792, 796 (1990)) (“[I]n a legal
action involving a county, the county itself is the only
legal entity capable of being sued.”).
Plaintiff did not name any individual police officers as
defendants, and thus is precluded from asserting
constitutional or statutory violations pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1983. “A plaintiff must allege facts, not
simply conclusions, that show that an individual was
personally involved in the deprivation of his civil
rights.” Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193,
1194 (9th Cir. 1998). “Liability under § 1983 must
be based on the personal involvement of the defendant.”
Id. (citing May v. Enomoto, 633 F.2d 164,
167 (9th Cir. 1980)). For a municipality to be held directly
liable for a § 1983 violation, a plaintiff must allege a
“policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or
those whose edicts or acts may be fairly said to represent
official policy.” Monell v. Department of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658-690-91(1978). Plaintiff has not
alleged that Defendant had an official policy or custom that
caused her alleged injury. Indeed, Plaintiff's
allegations against the individual officers emphasize that
they failed to follow Defendant's established protocols
and procedures. (See Dkt. No. 1-2 at 9)
(“Through this action, Isabelle Kerner, seeks to hold
the Seattle Police Department collectively accountable for
failing to enforce the law and for failing to follow the SPD
guidelines pursuant to RCW 9A.36.080, for knowingly
falsifying the police report pursuant to RCW 42.20.040, for
failing to uphold their duties pursuant to RCW 42.20.100, for
violating their code of conduct and failing to investigate
pursuant to RCW, for Official Misconduct pursuant to RCW
Court explains below, even if Plaintiff could assert her
claims against Defendant, without naming the City of Seattle
or the individual officers, each cause of action fails as a
matter of law.
Washington Revised Code §§ 9A.80.010,
42.20.040, 42.20.100, 9A.36.080, 9A.36.011
asserts four causes of action based on violations of
Washington criminal statutes. (See Dkt. No. 1-2 at
22-28.) For example, Plaintiff asserts that the officers
committed official misconduct by engaging in biased policing,
failing to complete a thorough investigation, and
discrediting the statements of an independent witness.
(Id. at 23) (citing RCW § 9A.80.010).