United States District Court, D. Colorado
OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
S. KRIEGER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on the
Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
(# 45), the Plaintiff’s Response
(# 50), and the Defendants’ Reply
(# 59). For the following reasons, the
Motion is granted, in part.
Court exercises jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
facts in this matter can be briefly summarized. On March 17,
2017, Plaintiff Siraaj Al-Baaj attended an event at the
Broomfield Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado. Mr. Al-Baaj
had a panic attack and exited the event. The Center’s
private security staff told Mr. Al-Baaj he would be able to
reenter the event, but when he attempted to do so, Defendant
Dean Bennett, an officer with the Broomfield Police
Department, prevented him from doing so.
to Mr. Al-Baaj, Officer Bennett grabbed his arm, put his
hands behind his back, then pushed Mr. Al-Baaj through the
Center’s doors and bodyslammed him to the ground. Then
Officer Bennett flipped Mr. Al-Baaj onto his stomach and
multiple officers held him down while Officer Bennett
handcuffed him in a manner that left red marks on his wrists,
as well as scrapes and lacerations on his elbow and shoulder.
Al-Baaj brought this suit in March 2018. Following a
stipulation dismissing claims against other defendants
(# 41), the Complaint (# 1)
alleges one claim of use excessive force by Officer Bennett
in violation of Mr. Al-Baaj’s Fourth Amendment rights,
brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Officer Bennett moves
for summary judgment on this claim as to the manner of
handcuffing, but not as to the bodyslam (#
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure facilitates the entry
of a judgment only if no trial is necessary. See White v.
York Int’l Corp., 45 F.3d 357, 360 (10th Cir.
1995). Summary adjudication is authorized when there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and a party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
Substantive law governs what facts are material and what
issues must be determined. It also specifies the elements
that must be proved for a given claim or defense, sets the
standard of proof, and identifies the party with the burden
of proof. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. v.
Producer's Gas Co., 870 F.2d 563, 565 (10th Cir.
1989). A factual dispute is “genuine” and summary
judgment is precluded if the evidence presented in support of
and opposition to the motion is so contradictory that, if
presented at trial, a judgment could enter for either party.
See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. When considering a
summary judgment motion, a court views all evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party, thereby
favoring the right to a trial. See Garrett v. Hewlett
Packard Co., 305 F.3d 1210, 1213 (10th Cir. 2002).
movant has the burden of proof on a claim or defense, the
movant must establish every element of its claim or defense
by sufficient, competent evidence. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(c)(1)(A). Once the moving party has met its burden, to
avoid summary judgment the responding party must present
sufficient, competent, contradictory evidence to establish a
genuine factual dispute. See Bacchus Indus. Inc. v. Arvin
Indus. Inc., 939 F.2d 887, 891 (10th Cir. 1991);
Perry v. Woodward, 199 F.3d 1126, 1131 (10th Cir.
1999). If there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact, a
trial is required. If there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact, no trial is required. The court then applies
the law to the undisputed facts and enters judgment.
moving party does not have the burden of proof at trial, it
must point to an absence of sufficient evidence to establish
the claim or defense that the non-movant is obligated to
prove. If the respondent comes forward with sufficient
competent evidence to establish a prima facie claim
or defense, a trial is required. If the respondent fails to
produce sufficient competent evidence to establish its claim
or defense, then the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322–23 (1986).
Court reads the Complaint to allege a single claim for
excessive force against Officer Bennett based on his entire
course of conduct during the parties’ brief
interaction, arguing that the use of any force and
the amount of force used were unreasonable. Without any
amendment to the Complaint, the parties (including Mr.
Al-Baaj) appear to read it differently, with the handcuffing
separate from the bodyslam, focusing only on the amount of
force used. (See## 45at
4-6; 50 at 4-16.) Because the
Complaint does enumerate the manner of handcuffing as a
source of ...