United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DISMISS
COUNTERCLAIM; MOTION TO STRIKE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES
O. RICE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Plaintiff Melissa Paul's Motion to Dismiss
Defendants' Counterclaim (ECF No. 3) and Motion to Strike
Defendants' Affirmative Defenses (ECF No. 4). The Motions
were submitted for consideration without a request for oral
argument. The Court has reviewed the record and files herein,
and is fully informed. For the reasons discussed below, the
Motions (ECF Nos. 3; 4) are denied.
instant case arises out of a tragic accident. On January 1,
2017, at approximately 4:05 a.m., Plaintiff Melissa Paul
struck and killed a bicyclist on the side of the road. ECF
No. 1-3 at 4-5, ¶ 16-17. Washington State Patrol Trooper
Leibrecht arrived on the scene at approximately 4:40 a.m. and
contacted Plaintiff. ECF No. 1-3 at 5, ¶ 20. Apparently,
Plaintiff fled the scene of the accident, but her car become
inoperable thereafter and the police found her at that
location. See ECF No. 6 at 7. After locating and
speaking with Plaintiff, “Trooper Leibrecht thought
that he might have smelled alcohol in the vehicle but [was]
not sure where it was coming from”; Plaintiff's
passenger advised the trooper that he had been drinking and
that Plaintiff was his designated driver. ECF No. 1-3 at 5,
approximately 4:54 a.m. and 5:01 a.m., Trooper Leibrecht
performed the standardized field sobriety tests (FST) on
Plaintiff; according to Plaintiff, Trooper Liebrecht reported
“that [n]o obvious signs of impairment were
observed[.]”. ECF No. 1-3 at 5, ¶¶ 21-22.
According to Plaintiff, “[a]t approximately 5:03 a.m.,
. . . [t]he troopers decided that based on the lack of
impairment, that a Portable Breath Test (PBT) would not be
administered.” ECF No. 1-3 at 5-6, ¶ 23.
approximately 6 a.m., Sgt Davis arrived at Plaintiff's
location and instructed Trooper Spencer to perform FST's
[sic] on Plaintiff again.” ECF No. 1-3 at 6, ¶ 25.
According to Plaintiff, “[a]fter Plaintiff successfully
and satisfactorily completed the FST's [sic] for the
second time, Trooper Spencer approached [Plaintiff] with a
Portable Breath Test (PBT) and instructed her to blow. The
PBT was .067, which is below the legal limit of alcohol
influence in Washington.” ECF No. 1-3 at 7, ¶ 27.
Plaintiff was not given any explanation that the PBT was
voluntary or what the test was for, as required under
Washington Administrative Code 448-15-030. ECF No. 1-3 at 7,
¶ 28. “Following the PBT, Sgt. Davis instructed
Trooper Spencer to apply for a blood warrant to take
Plaintiff's blood. Trooper Spencer submitted an affidavit
for a blood warrant which was signed by Spokane County
Superior Court Judge Annette Plese based on Trooper
Spencer's sworn affidavit.” ECF No. 1-3 at 7,
¶ 31. “Plaintiff was arrested and charged with
vehicular homicide and booked into the Spokane County
Jail[.]” ECF No. 1-3 at 10, ¶ 37.
about December 19, 2017, the State of Washington stipulated
to certain findings of fact, including:
(1) The PBT is inadmissible for purposes of obtaining a
search warrant for blood because the required protocols under
WAC 448-15-030 were not followed when administering the test
to Ms. Paul.
(2) The facts provided in the probable cause affidavit are
not supported by the conversations between the officers on
the scene, as contained and readily observable in the dash
(3) Absent the PBT result, the facts supporting probable
cause do not rise to the level of impairment.
(4) Because impairment cannot be established by the probable
cause affidavit, the warrant for blood is therefore invalid.
ECF No. 1-3 at 10, ¶ 38. The criminal charges were then
dismissed with prejudice. ECF No. 1-3 at 11, ¶ 39.
brought suit against Defendants in Spokane County Superior
Court on February 28, 2019 asserting claims for (1) unlawful
seizure / false arrest under the Fourth Amendment and state
law; (2) false imprisonment under the Fourth Amendment and
state law; (3) Malicious prosecution under the Fourth
Amendment and state law; (4) excessive force under the Fourth
Amendment; (5) supervisor liability against Sgt. Davis; (6)
civil conspiracy against Sgt. Davis and Troopers Leibrecht
and Spencer; (7) infliction of emotional distress; (8)