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Young v. Pena

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

December 19, 2019

DANIEL YOUNG, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PATRICK PENA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ADOPTING IN PART AS MODIFIED AND REJECTING IN PART REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JAMES L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the court on the Amended Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Michelle L. Peterson (R&R (Dkt. # 79) (“Report and Recommendation”) and Defendants Travis Hauri and Sergeant David Johnson's (collectively, “Defendants”)[1] objections thereto (Obj. (Dkt. # 80)). Plaintiff Katherine Wren Katzenjammer[2] filed a response to Defendants' objections. (See Resp. (Dkt. # 82).) Having carefully reviewed all of the foregoing, along with all other relevant documents, and the governing law, the court ADOPTS in part as modified and REJECTS in part the Report and Recommendation.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The remaining claims in this case relate to the actions of Bellingham Police Officer Travis Hauri and his superior, Sgt. David Johnson, at the hospital on the evening of June 2, 2016. On that date, Ms. Katzenjammer was involved in an incident with Bellingham Police Officers and others at her father's apartment on Maplewood Avenue. (See Sturlaugson Decl. (Dkt. # 12) ¶¶ 3-5; Peña Decl. (Dkt. # 13) ¶¶ 3-5.) She was tased twice by officers after she failed to comply with their directives. (See Sturlaugson Decl. ¶¶ 9-11; Peña Decl. ¶¶ 8-11.) Although Ms. Katzenjammer's father, Richard Young, was arrested for assaulting an officer and booked into the Whatcom County Jail, Ms. Katzenjammer was never arrested or booked into jail. (See Sturlaugson Decl. at ¶ 17; Peña Decl. ¶ 19.)

         Ms. Katzenjammer was sedated by medics and transported to the hospital for treatment. (See 1st Hauri Decl. (Dkt. # 17) ¶ 11.) After their investigative duties on Maplewood Avenue were completed, Sgt. Johnson and Officer Hauri went to the emergency department at St. Joseph Hospital to speak with Ms. Katzenjammer about the incident. (See 1st Johnson Decl. (Dkt. # 18) ¶ 11.) Officer Hauri asserts that his purpose in going to the hospital was to “possibly discuss the incident if [Ms. Katzenjammer] was willing and to document via photograph any physical injuries he suffered from the incident.” (See 2d Hauri Decl. (Dkt. # 65) ¶ 7.) Sgt. Johnson similarly asserts that his purpose in going to the hospital was to complete the use of force investigation, which would have included speaking with Ms. Katzenjammer about the incident and documenting via photography any physical injuries she suffered from the incident. (See 2d Johnson Decl. (Dkt. # 62) ¶ 7.)

         Hospital staff allowed Defendants to see Ms. Katzenjammer, who was unconscious, and to photograph her injuries. (2d Decl. ¶ 12; 2d Decl. ¶ 12.) Photographic evidence in the record shows that Ms. Katzenjammer's hospital gown was manipulated to reveal her bare torso, shoulder, and thigh. Both officers assert that they do not recall moving or manipulating the hospital gown that Ms. Katzenjammer was wearing. (2d Johnson Decl. ¶ 16; 2d Hauri Decl. ¶ 16.) Both officers assert that if Ms. Katzenjammer's gown “was moved or manipulated in some way, that would have been done by or with the supervision of the hospital staff on scene.” (2d Johnson Decl. ¶ 16; 2d Hauri Decl. ¶ 16.) After taking the photographs, Sgt. Johnson and Officer Hauri left the hospital. (Id. ¶ 18.)

         Ms. Katzenjammer's remaining claims in this case are for unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment, and a claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (“IIED”), also referred to as the tort of Outrage. Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that they are entitled to qualified immunity, and entitled to summary judgment on the merits of Ms. Katzenjammer's Fourth Amendment and IIED claims. (See MSJ (Dkt. # 61) at 6, 21-25.)

         Magistrate Judge Peterson recommended denying Defendants' summary judgment motion in full. (See R&R at 27.) Magistrate Judge Peterson concluded that Defendants are not entitled to summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds or on the merits of Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claim, because when viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs, Defendants' unauthorized search of Ms. Katzenjammer's body violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from such an invasive search, and that right was clearly established. (See R&R at 18-19; 25.) Magistrate Judge Peterson also recommended denying summary judgment on Plaintiffs' IIED claim because, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs, Defendants “should have been aware of a high probability that such conduct would cause severe emotional distress.” (See R&R at 26-27.)

         Defendants submitted objections to the court. (See Obj.) Defendants contend that the Report and Recommendation errs in denying summary judgment on qualified immunity, the merits of the Fourth Amendment claim, and the merits of the IIED claim. (See generally id.) Ms. Katzenjammer filed a response to the objections that largely mirrors the conclusions in the Report and Recommendation. (See generally Resp.)

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A district court has jurisdiction to review a Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation on dispositive matters. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). “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). The court reviews de novo those portions of the report and recommendation to which specific written objection is made. United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. Qualified Immunity and ...


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