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Arakji v. Hess

United States District Court, D. Colorado

December 2, 2015

MAZEN ARAKJI, Plaintiff,
v.
CLIFF HESS, ANDREW MARTINEZ, ROBERT BREWER, CHRISTOPHER FAYLES, TRACEY LEESE, JASON LINGLE, BRENDA SORRELES, STEVE AUSTIN, DAN McQUEEN, ERIC FREDRICK, NEIL MARTINEZ, VINCENT LOPEZ, DESHAWN ABRAM, John Doe 6 and John Doe 7, HERMAN HEARD, PAUL SEGURA, KARL FORD, SHAWN LAUGHLIN, MARK THOMPSON, ANDREW JOHNSON, DWITAMA SUMARSAM, SCOTT LAFLEUR, HEIDI WALTS, JASON HEBRARD, STEVE FRANZ, CHRIS KEARNS, HEIDI SCOTT, and BROOMFIELD CITY AND COUNTY, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT CITY AND COUNTY OF BROOMFIELD’S MOTION TO DISMISS

CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

The matter before the Court is Defendant City and County of Broomfield’s (“Broomfield”) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 102.) Plaintiff’s state-law claims are barred by Colorado’s sovereign immunity, but Plaintiff has sufficiently pled a claim for municipal liability as a matter of law.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is 34 years old and is both academically and professionally successful.[1](Doc. # 84 at ¶¶ 1-2.) Due to a failed business venture, however, Plaintiff was “forced” out of his apartment due to an inability to pay rent. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Plaintiff moved his belongings to a rental storage facility and slept in his car, which was parked outside the storage unit holding his belongings. (Id.) The storage facility has a locked gate, and customers are required to enter a code on a keypad to gain access. (Id.)

On the evening of April 29, 2014, two police officers-Defendants Cliff Hess and Andrew Martinez-jumped over the fence to enter the storage facility and approached Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 5.) Plaintiff produced his license and opened his storage unit upon request, but did not comply when the officers ordered him to vacate the premises. (Id.) A third officer-Defendant Eric Fredrick-was called, and the officers arrested Plaintiff for trespass. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that all three officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights and conspired to violate his federal rights; he also sues them for false imprisonment under a state criminal statute. (Id. at ¶¶ 7-20.) Plaintiff further alleges that Broomfield is liable under respondeat superior for the false imprisonment claim. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-22.)

Upon arrival at the Broomfield Detention Center, a fourth officer-Defendant Tracey Leese-violently manhandled Plaintiff while placing him in a solitary cell, treatment Plaintiff alleges violated his Due Process rights. (Id. at ¶¶ 23-26.) Plaintiff’s detention was delayed until 12:30 p.m. the following afternoon, which amounted to a total detention of approximately thirteen hours. (Id. at ¶¶ 28-29.) Plaintiff sues the supervising officer on duty-Defendant Neil Martinez-for violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 5 and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Id. at ¶¶ 30-36.)

No charges were filed against Plaintiff when he was released; however, Plaintiff was told that the police had spoken to the owner of the storage facility and asked him to put up signs forbidding overnight stays. (Id. at ¶¶ 37-38.) The owner did not put up any such signs, and Plaintiff continued to sleep in his car at the storage facility. (Id. at ¶ 39.) At some point in May of 2014, Plaintiff began staying in motels, when he could afford it, or sleeping in his car, which would be parked in various parking lots. (Id. at ¶¶ 39-40.) In June of 2014, the storage facility put up signs forbidding overnight parking and delivered a notice to vacate to Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 41.) Plaintiff moved his belongings to a different rental-storage facility nearby. (Id.)

On June 22, 2014, Defendant Officer Andrew Martinez confronted Plaintiff while he was sleeping in his car in the parking lot of a city park. (Id. at ¶ 45.) Although there was no sign indicating that no parking was allowed in the evenings, Officer Martinez ordered Plaintiff to leave the parking lot or he would arrest Plaintiff for trespassing. (Id. at ¶¶ 45-48.) On July 1, 2014, Defendant Officer Chris Kearns confronted Plaintiff as he slept in his car, which was parked on the side of a city street. (Id. at ¶ 54.) Officer Kearns banged on the car window and shouted for approximately thirty minutes; Plaintiff did not acknowledge him, but did record the incident on his cell phone. (Id. at ¶¶ 54- 56.) Similar incidents occurred on July 5, 2014, with Defendants Officers Andrew Martinez and Vincent Lopez; July 31, 2014, with Defendant Officer Chris Kearns; and August 21, 2014, with Defendant Officer Deshawn Abram and a John Doe defendant. (Id. at ¶¶ 66-68; 96-98; 106-08.) Plaintiff sues these officers under a Due Process theory and for menacing under a state criminal statute. (Id. at ¶¶ 49-51; 57-60; 67-72, 75-76; 99-103; 109-15.) Plaintiff alleges that Broomfield is liable under respondeat superior for the menacing claims. (Id. at ¶¶ 52-53; 61-62; 73-74; 77-78; 104-05; 116- 17.)

Following the July 5, 2014 incident, Defendant Officer Martinez left a criminal summons and a citation for trespass on Plaintiff’s windshield; the form indicated that Plaintiff was personally served, but that Plaintiff refused to sign the form. (Id. at ¶¶ 79- 81.) Plaintiff sues, arguing that the summons was not authorized by statute and that the service-and-signature statements were false, in violation of his Due Process rights. (Id. at ¶¶ 82-83; 88-91.) He also sues for forgery under a state criminal statute and for an unlawful summons under a state statute authorizing summonses for misdemeanors and petty offenses. (Id. at ¶¶ 84-85; 92-93.) Plaintiff alleges that Broomfield is liable under respondeat superior for the forgery and unlawful summons claims. (Id. at ¶¶ 86-87; 94-95.)

On August 25, 2014, Plaintiff was stopped after running a stop sign and arrested for failure to appear with respect to his July 5, , 2014 trespass citation. (Id. at ¶¶ 118- 20.) Because of the infirmities with the underlying July 5, 2014 citation alleged by Plaintiff, Plaintiff also states that this August 25, 2014 arrest violated his rights. (Id. at ¶¶ 121-25.) He sues the officers who arrested him-Defendants Christopher Fayles and Andrew Martinez-under the Fourth Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and a state criminal statute for false imprisonment. (Id. at ¶¶ 126-35.) Plaintiff alleges that Broomfield is liable under respondeat superior for the false imprisonment claim. (Id. at ¶¶ 136-37.) In the course of Plaintiff’s arrest, the officers allegedly used unnecessary force, for which Plaintiff sues under the Fourth Amendment. (Id. at ¶¶ 138-46.) Officer Martinez’s police report states that Plaintiff violently kicked the cage in the back of the police cruiser; Plaintiff alleges that this is false. (Id. at ¶¶ 226-28.) He sues Officer Martinez on a Due Process theory for forgery and filing a false report to authorities under state criminal statutes; he further alleges that Broomfield is liable under respondeat superior for the state-law claims. (Id. at ¶¶ 229-39.)

Upon arrival at the Broomfield Detention Center, Defendant Officer Christopher Fayles refused to show Plaintiff a copy of the arrest warrant. (Id. at ¶¶ 147-48.) A John Doe defendant took Plaintiff’s eyeglasses from him and refused to return them, for the specific purpose of disorienting Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶¶ 151-53.) As with Plaintiff’s previous arrest, his detention was delayed. (Id. at ¶¶ 155-57.) Plaintiff sues for these purported legal violations on various legal theories. (Id. at ¶¶ 149-50; 154; 158-64.)

At approximately 1:00 p.m. on August 26, 2014, Defendant Officer Herman Heard entered Plaintiff’s cell at the Broomfield Detention Center. (Id. at ¶¶ 165-67.) Plaintiff stated that he was being unlawfully detained and was free to leave; Plaintiff attempted to leave, but was physically stopped by Officer Heard. (Id.) Because Plaintiff attempted to continue to move past Officer Heard, several other officers-Defendants Paul Segura, Shawn Laughlin, and Steve Franz-entered the cell and violently subdued Plaintiff, including tasing him. (Id. at ¶¶ 167-69.) Plaintiff was later strapped to a chair and placed in a solitary cell, with the assistance of Defendants Officers Karl Ford and Heidi Scott. (Id. at ¶¶ 172-74.) Plaintiff sues most of these officers under a Due Process theory. (Id. at ¶¶ 170-71; 175-80.)

Plaintiff’s detention lasted for a second night, into August 27, 2014, at which point he asked to make a phone call. (Id. at ¶¶ 181-82.) Defendant Officer Tracey Leese told Plaintiff he had to sign a document first; he refused to do so and, therefore, was denied a phone call. (Id.) He sues Officer Leese on Equal Protection and Due Process theories, as well as for violation of a state statute granting him the right to a phone call. (Id. at ¶¶ 183-89.) Plaintiff alleges that Broomfield is liable under respondeat superior for the state-law claim. (Id. at ¶¶ 190-91.) Also, Officer Leese offered Plaintiff food, but, when Plaintiff did not respond, did not provide the food. (Id. at ¶¶ 192-93.) Plaintiff sues on a Due Process theory for not being provided food. (Id. at ¶¶ 194-95.)

As part of Plaintiff’s release from detention, he was asked to sign two Appearance Bond Documents. (Id. at ¶¶ 196-98.) Plaintiff refused to sign the document concerning his trespass charge and alleges that Defendant Officer Shawn Laughlin falsified the documents by making it appear as though he signed both forms when he Dated:ly the form concerning his interference charge. (Id. at ¶¶ 198-202.) Plaintiff sues Officer Laughlin on a Due Process claim and a state felony forgery statute and alleges that Broomfield is liable on the forgery claim under respondeat superior. (Id. at ΒΆΒΆ 203-09.) Further, during some sort of altercation related to the allegedly falsified bond paperwork, four officers-Defendants Herman Heard, Andrew Johnson, Dwitama Sumersam, ...


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