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Bolden v. City of Portland

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division

March 19, 2014

NATAYA V. BOLDEN, Plaintiff,
CITY OF PORTLAND, a municipal corporation; TODD GRADWAHL; and MEGAN BURKEEN, Defendants.


ANCER L. HAGGERTY, District Judge.

On February 7, 2013, Nataya Bolden (plaintiff) filed a complaint alleging that the City of Portland, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Detective Todd Gradwahl and PPB Detective Megan Burkeen (collectively "defendants") violated her rights by unlawfully searching her home, seizing her person, and seizing her property on June 28, 2012. Plaintiff also alleges that defendants violated her rights by unlawfully seizing $8, 510.00 and unlawfully arresting and imprisoning her on August 10, 2012. On February 6, 2014, defendants filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [22]. The court finds oral argument unnecessary to rule on the current motion. For the following reasons, defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in part.


On March 30, 2012, defendant Gradwahl initiated a criminal investigation of Juwuan Polk, involving the promotion of prostitution, illegal drug possession, and unlawful firearm possession. Plaintiff has known Polk for many years and was pregnant with Polk's child when Polk was imprisoned for charges related to drugs and firearms. Polk's bond was set at $8, 500.00.

In the course of investigating Polk's activities, defendant Gradwahl discovered plaintiff's Facebook page. On April 24, 2012, defendant Gradwahl applied for a warrant to search and analyze five Facebook accounts, including plaintiff's. To support his warrant application, defendant Gradwahl described information that he received from Multnomah County Sheriff's Officer Sgt. Jesse Luna. Sergeant Luna listened to phone calls from Polk, who was incarcerated at the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC), to various females, including plaintiff. According to defendants, those calls demonstrated that Polk was operating a prostitution business and that plaintiff was promoting the business. That search warrant was signed by a Multnomah County Judge on April 24, 2012.

On June 27, 2012, defendant Gradwahl applied for a warrant to search the residence of Polk's mother and father, Julane Johnson and Joshua Polk, Jr. To support this warrant application, defendant Gradwahl explained that several women, who he suspected to be prostitutes, gave money to Polk's mother and father, as directed by Polk. Those search warrants were signed on June 27, 2012 and served on the same date.

On June 28, 2012, defendant Gradwahl and Defendant Burkeen arrived at plaintiff's apartment with at least three other PPB officers. Defendants encountered plaintiff sitting outside of her apartment. Defendants' and plaintiffs accounts of the ensuing interaction differ. Defendants allege that they obtained plaintiffs consent to question her and search her apartment. Plaintiff alleges that she repeatedly proclaimed that she did not want to speak with the police officers and that she did not want them in her home. Defendants drove plaintiff and her children to a friend's house so that the interview and search could be conducted out of the children's view. Upon returning to plaintiff's apartment, defendants questioned plaintiff about Polk and her involvement in his prostitution business. Plaintiff denied being involved with prostitution at the time. Other officers searched her apartment and seized documents, bank records, and a computer tower with a power cord.

On August 10, 2012, plaintiff, then seven months pregnant, went to MCDC with $8, 510.00 to pay the bond for Polk's release. The staff at MCDC notified defendants of plaintiff's attempt to post bail, and defendants Gradwahl and Burkeen arrested plaintiff in the lobby. Gradwahl and Burkeen immediately seized the money and handcuffed plaintiff. Plaintiff claims that she was injured during the arrest. Gradwahl and Burkeen escorted plaintiffto the thirteenth floor and placed her in a holding cell while they prepared an interview room. Because she was handcuffed and pregnant, plaintiff claims that she was unable to sit while in the holding cell and was unable to use the bathroom, though she desperately needed to. Defendants then interviewed plaintiff for approximately one hour before releasing her without charges.

On January 24, 2014, defendants returned plaintiff's computer tower to her without the power cord, but defendants have not returned the remainder of the seized property, including the $8, 510.00.


Summary judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Summary judgment is improper if material factual issues exist for trial. Warren v. City of Carlsbad, 58 F.3d 439, 441 (9th Cir. 1995).

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact for trial, but it need not disprove the other party's case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986). Once the moving party meets its burden, the adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleading, but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine dispute for trial. Id. at 248-49. A nonmoving party cannot defeat summary judgment by relying on the allegations in the complaint, or with unsupported conjecture or conclusory statements. Hernandez v. Spacelabs Medical, Inc., 343 F.3d 1107, 1112 (9th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted).

The court must view the evidence submitted on summary judgment in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Campbell v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, 642 F.3d 820, 824-25 (9th Cir. 2011). All reasonable doubt as to the existence of a genuine factual dispute should be resolved against the moving party. MetroPCS, Inc. v. City & County of San Francisco, 400 F.3d 715, 720 (9th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted).


Defendants argue that the court should grant summary judgment in defendants' favor on several of plaintiff's claims. Specifically, defendants contend that:

I) Plaintiff's Third and Sixth Claims for Relief should be dismissed because those claims allege a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, but only the Fourth Amendment applies to those claims.
2) Plaintiffs Seventh Claim for Relief should be dismissed because plaintiff has set forth no evidence to support her Monell claim.
3) Plaintiffs Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Claims for Relief, brought pursuant to Oregon common law, should be dismissed because plaintiff failed to comply with the ...

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