United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
matter comes before the Court upon Defendants Quintana and
Medina's Motion for Summary Judgment (Motion for Summary
Judgment), filed January 15, 2016, in which Defendants Lenny
Quintana and Christopher Medina (EMT Defendants) request
dismissal of all of Plaintiff's claims against them and
seek an award of costs. (Doc. 22). Plaintiff filed a response
on February 8, 2016, and EMT Defendants filed a reply on
March 14, 2016. (Docs. 25 and 26). Having considered the
Motion for Summary Judgment and the accompanying briefing,
the Court grants the Motion for Summary Judgment in part, and
denies EMT Defendants' request for an award of costs.
The Complaint for Civil Rights Violations and Damages (Doc.
a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights lawsuit. The Complaint
arises from a 911 medical emergency call to which EMT
Defendants responded as did Taos Police Department officers,
Defendants Michael Collins and Lloyd Garcia (TPD Defendants).
The 911 call ultimately resulted in EMT Defendants
transporting Plaintiff by ambulance, against his will, to a
hospital where Plaintiff contends his blood was drawn,
without his consent, for drug testing. (Doc. 1-1) at
¶¶ 9, 10, 14, 18, and 19. TPD Defendants did not
charge Plaintiff with any crimes. Id. at ¶ 21.
to this Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff brings Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendment unlawful seizure claims against EMT
Defendants in Count I of the Complaint. In Count III,
Plaintiff brings Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment unlawful
search claims against EMT Defendants for the blood draw at
the hospital. EMT Defendants now move for summary judgment on
the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment unlawful seizure and
search claims, which would dismiss all of Plaintiff's
claims against EMT Defendants.
Facts Viewed in the Light Most Favorable to Plaintiff
about 3:00 p.m. on September 3, 2012, Plaintiff became upset
and began crying while he was working at his restaurant.
(Doc. 25-2) at ¶ 2. Plaintiff “went outside alone,
and sat down behind the restaurant to collect” himself.
Id. at ¶ 3. He did not lose consciousness and
“remained coherent and alert throughout the incident
….” Id. at ¶ 4.
at about the same time, TPD received an emergency call
wherein the caller stated that a 62 year old male was
“IN A DIABETIC STATE” and was “GOING IN AND
OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS.” (Doc. 25-1). When EMT Defendants
and their ambulance arrived at the restaurant, a few people
had come out of the restaurant to “check on”
Plaintiff and “try to calm” him down. (Doc. 25-2)
at ¶ 6. No one from the restaurant held Plaintiff down
nor did Plaintiff touch any of them. Id.
arriving at the restaurant, EMT Defendants each tightly
grabbed Plaintiff's arms in an attempt to assess
Plaintiff's vital signs. Id. at ¶ 7; (Doc.
22-1) at ¶ 7; (Doc. 22-2) at ¶ 7. Plaintiff
repeatedly asked EMT Defendants to let go, but they refused
to do so. (Doc. 25-2) at ¶ 7. Plaintiff explained to EMT
Defendants that he was “upset” about his son, who
was in jail and facing a murder charge. Id. at
¶ 8. Plaintiff further stated that he needed to go back
to work. Id.
Defendants continued to hold Plaintiff and stated that they
needed to take Plaintiff to the hospital. Id. at
¶ 9. EMT Defendants finally let go of Plaintiff after he
pretended he was going to bite them. Id. While
speaking to EMT Defendants, TPD Defendants arrived.
Id. at ¶ 10. One of the TPD Defendants accused
Plaintiff of being on drugs and threatened Plaintiff with
jail if he lied about taking drugs. Id.
Defendants to leave, Plaintiff allowed EMT Defendants to
check his vital signs and take a blood glucose level test,
which was normal. Id. at ¶ 11; (Doc. 22-1) at
¶ 15. After EMT Defendants examined Plaintiff, he began
to walk back to his restaurant. (Doc. 25-2) at ¶ 12. As
he was walking, one of the TPD Defendants grabbed Plaintiff
and stated that Plaintiff “would have to be tested for
drugs.” Id. After Plaintiff refused to be
tested, one of the TPD Defendants forced Plaintiff into the
ambulance and onto a gurney. (Doc. 25-2) at ¶
sister, Betty Cox, arrived at the scene when Plaintiff was
already in the ambulance. (Doc. 25-4) at ¶ 4. Cox
climbed into the ambulance through the passenger-side door
and saw that Plaintiff was face-down on a gurney.
Id. at ¶ 5. When Plaintiff attempted to get up
from the gurney, a TPD Defendant “slammed”
Plaintiff back onto the gurney with his knee on
Plaintiff's back and jerked Plaintiff's right arm up
to handcuff him. Id. at ¶ 6; (Doc. 25-2) at
¶ 12. This action caused sprains and strains of
Plaintiff's right shoulder and upper arm. (Doc. 25-8).
Cox told Defendants, repeatedly, to leave Plaintiff alone,
that Plaintiff did not want to go to the hospital, and that
she would care for him, but Defendants ignored her. (Doc.
25-4) at ¶ 7.
Defendants then drove Plaintiff to the hospital against
Plaintiff's will. (Doc. 25-2) at ¶ 13. During the
ambulance ride, Plaintiff was handcuffed to the gurney and
strapped face down onto the gurney making it difficult for
him to breathe. Id. at ¶¶ 13 and 16.
Plaintiff stated to EMT Defendants that he was not going to
pay for the ambulance and medical expenses, which he incurred
against his will. Id. at ¶ 15. He did not
threaten to harm himself or others during the entire
incident. Id. at ¶ 14.
the hospital, Plaintiff was seated in a chair and TPD
Defendants handcuffed Plaintiff to a bed. Id. at
¶ 17. After one of the TPD Defendants spoke with
hospital staff, a nurse drew Plaintiff's blood without
his consent. Id. at ¶ 18. EMT Defendants did
not draw Plaintiff's blood at the hospital nor did they
assist in doing so. (Doc. 22-1) at ¶ 14; (Doc. 22-2) at
¶ 14. Plaintiff was subsequently released from the
hospital about an hour later. (Doc. 25-2) at ¶ 19.
Defendants argue first that they are entitled to qualified
immunity for the Fourth Amendment unlawful seizure and search
claims. EMT Defendants further argue that they are immune
from suit on the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims under
the community caretaker doctrine. Should the Court grant the
Motion for Summary Judgment, EMT Defendants seek an award of
costs. Plaintiff opposes the Motion for Summary Judgment.
Fourth Amendment Unlawful Search and Seizure ...