United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
matter comes before the Court upon Defendants Collins and
Garcia's Motion for Summary Judgment (Motion for Summary
Judgment), filed May 2, 2016, in which Defendants Taos Police
Officers Michael Collins and Lloyd Garcia (collectively, TPD
Defendants) request dismissal of all of Plaintiff's
claims against them. (Doc. 34). Plaintiff filed a response on
May 27, 2016; TPD Defendants filed a reply on July 1, 2016;
and Plaintiff filed a surreply on August 2, 2016. (Docs. 36,
42, and 47). Having considered the Motion for Summary
Judgment and the accompanying briefing, the Court (1) grants
the Motion for Summary Judgment, in part, and (2) enters an
order requiring Plaintiff to show cause why the Court should
not dismiss the Fourteenth Amendment claims without prejudice
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.
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 which Defendants
emergency medical technicians Lenny Quintana and Christopher
Medina (collectively, EMT Defendants) responded to as did 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 TPD
Defendants in Count I of the Complaint. In Count II,
Plaintiff brings Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment excessive
force claims against TPD Defendants. Finally, in Count III,
Plaintiff brings Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment unlawful
search claims against TPD Defendants for the blood draw at
the hospital. TPD Defendants now move for summary judgment on
all of Plaintiff's claims against them.
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). Defendants did not
express any concern to Plaintiff about cardiac
issues. (Doc. 36-1) at ¶ 17. Plaintiff is
5'10” tall and, at the time of the incident,
weighed about 170 pounds. (Doc. 36-1) at ¶ 13.
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
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 at about
3:13 p.m. Id. at ¶ 10; (Doc. 42-1) at 2.
Plaintiff recognized Defendant Garcia, who Plaintiff
personally knew for several years. (Doc. 36-1) at ¶ 33.
Defendant Collins arrived at the restaurant, he spoke with
EMT Defendants and bystanders about Plaintiff. One person
stated that Plaintiff “[t]otally came unglued”
while another stated that Plaintiff was “having a
breakdown.” (Doc. 42-3) at 2, pgs. 2-3 of
transcript.Another person, possibly an EMT Defendant,
told Defendant Collins that Plaintiff is “obviously a
medical risk” and will hurt himself if he is released.
Id. at 4, pg. 12 of transcript. That person noted
that when “we got” there ten people were holding
Plaintiff. Id. The person told Defendant Collins
that Plaintiff did not know where he was and “kind of
passed out a little bit” before “swinging.”
Id. at 4, pg. 13 of transcript. According to an
individual, Plaintiff was yelling and kicked him in the ankle
a few times. Id. at 5, pg. 15 of transcript.
Individuals also stated to Defendant Collins that Plaintiff
was “not in his right mind, ” “just lost
it, ” was “freaking out, ” and
“spaced out for a while.” Id. at 5, 6,
and 8, pgs. 17, 18, and 24 of transcript.
the TPD Defendants, at some point, accused Plaintiff of being
on drugs. (Doc. 25-2) at ¶ 10.
Defendant Collins finally told Plaintiff that he could
voluntarily see a doctor, but, if he did not, Defendant
Collins would sign a paper authorizing that Plaintiff be kept
for up to 72 hours for an evaluation. (Doc. 42-3) at 7, pg.
26 of transcript. Defendant Collins explained to Plaintiff
that he felt that Plaintiff was going to hurt himself or
others. Id. Plaintiff refused to voluntarily see a
doctor saying he would not be a danger to himself or others.
Id. at 7, pgs. 27 and 28 of transcript. Plaintiff
then threatened to beat Defendant Collins when Defendant
Collins told Plaintiff that he can either ride in the
ambulance or be handcuffed and ride in the back of the patrol
car. Id. at 7, pg. 28 of transcript.
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 Defendant Collins jerked
Plaintiff's right arm up to handcuff him. Id. at
¶ 6; (Doc. 25-2) at ¶ 12; (Doc. 36-1) at ¶ 30.
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.
the ambulance left the scene, Defendant Collins completed a
“Certification of Emergency Mental Health Evaluation
for Psychiatric Hospitalization (‘7-day').”
(Doc. 34-3). Defendant Collins noted in the Certification
that it was unknown whether Plaintiff was medically stable.
Id. Defendant Collins further noted that (1)
Plaintiff had a “sinkable” episode and when he
came to Plaintiff was disoriented and combative; (2)
Plaintiff was argumentative and claiming he was under
“a lot of pressure;” (3) Plaintiff stated he was
“overworked, taxed, and can't slow down;” (4)
Plaintiff's extremities were twitching, he was
“sweating profusely, ” and he was “verbally
challenging;” and (5) Plaintiff admitted to
“losing it for a while, ” and refused a voluntary
evaluation. Id. Defendant Collins further noted that
Plaintiff had poor eye contact; was hostile, agitated,
anxious, loud, irritable, and angry; and had impaired
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 facedown 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. Plaintiff admitted to Defendant Collins that he
“lost it for a minute.” (Doc. 42-3) at 10, pg. 37
of transcript. According to the Emergency Room report,
Plaintiff stated that he was not combative and that
Defendants “jumped him.” (Doc. 36-3) at 2. The
Emergency Room report, nonetheless, noted a combative and
“verbally bellicose” general appearance, an
initial impression of “agitation, ” and reference
to a “psychotic break.” Id. at 1-2. The
Emergency Room report also noted an injury to Plaintiff's
right shoulder. Id. at 2. While at the hospital,
Plaintiff told Defendant Collins that Rick Trujillo, a
bystander, twisted his arm while holding him onto a gurney.
(Doc. 42-3) at 13, pg. 46 of transcript. Plaintiff suffered
sprains and strains of his right shoulder and upper arm.
one of the TPD Defendants spoke with hospital staff, a nurse
drew Plaintiff's blood without his consent. (Doc. 25-2)
at ¶ 18. TPD Defendants, however, did not
“request, order, or authorize a blood
draw….” (Doc. 34-1) at ¶ 13; (Doc. 34-2) at
¶ 11. Plaintiff was subsequently released from the
hospital about an hour later. (Doc. 25-2) at ¶ 19. At