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Walden v. Dawson

United States District Court, D. Oregon

November 7, 2014

FRANK WALDEN, personal representative for the Estate of MARK WALDEN, FRANK WALDEN, an individual, Plaintiffs,
v.
Officer DAWSON, Sergeant C. STUBBS, Officer R. SCHACHT, CITY OF EUGENE, by and through the Eugene Police Department, a municipal corporation in the State of Oregon, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. McSHANE, District Judge.

On December 2, 2010, Frank Walden contacted the Eugene Police Department (EPD) non-emergency line seeking assistance from a mobile mental health crisis unit, Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Street (CAHOOTS). When he learned that CAHOOTS was unavailable, he agreed to meet EPD officers at the front of his residence. There he informed the EPD that his son, Mark Walden, was schizophrenic, had discontinued his medication, and had recently begun barricading the front door with items from his room. After consulting with Frank Walden, the officers entered the residence through the back door and contacted Mark Walden. Mark Walden, initially polite, became more agitated as the officers impeded him from moving additional items from his bedroom to the front door. This agitation escalated to the point where Mark Walden threw the items he was carrying, hitting Officer Dawson and Sergeant Stubbs. The officers then handcuffed Mark Walden and transported him to Sacred Heart Medical Center, Riverbend.

On December 3, 2010, Mark Walden was administered an overdose of his medication, resulting in coma and his subsequent death on December 13, 2010.

This Court is asked to consider: (1) whether the officers violated the Fourth[1] or Fourteenth Amendments by entering Frank Walden's residence and seizing Mark Walden; and (2) whether the City of Eugene denied Mark Walden a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-213. Because the officers lawfully entered Frank Walden's residence and lawfully seized Mark Walden, and the City of Eugene neither denied Mark Walden a reasonable accommodation nor intentionally discriminated against him, this Court GRANTS defendants' motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 58.

PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This action arises out of an alleged unlawful search and seizure. On December 2, 2010, at approximately 11:00 a.m., Frank Walden contacted the EPD non-emergency line.[2] Decl. of Ben Miller 6-15, ECF No. 59. Frank Walden indicated that he needed CAHOOTS to assist him with his schizophrenic adult son, Mark Walden. Id. at 6. However, after Frank Walden was informed that the CAHOOTs unit was unavailable until 1:00 p.m., he agreed to meet the responding EPD officers. Id. at 6, 9, 11, 13-14.

A few minutes later, Officer Dawson, Officer Schacht, and Sergeant Stubbs, along with other EPD officers, responded to Frank Walden's home. Id. at 65 ("Q.... How long are you outside before the police show up? A. Three or four minutes...."). Frank Walden alleges that he initially told the responding officers to leave. E.g., id. at 66. However, he subsequently provided the officers with information relating to Mark Walden's condition, and the layout of his home. Id. at 66. After providing this information, Frank Walden led the EPD officers to the back door. Id. at 28, 66.

Officer Dawson, Officer Schacht, and Sergeant Stubbs entered through the back door. E.g., Decl. of Dale Dawson 3, ECF No. 60; Decl. of Rachel Schacht 3, ECF No. 61. Upon entering, they encountered a naked Mark Walden. E.g., Decl. of Dale Dawson 8, ECF No. 60. At that time, Mark Walden was in the process of moving various items, including furniture, from his room and placing these items in a position blocking access to the front door. Decl. of Ben Miller 18, ECF No. 59.

Mark Walden, initially polite, became more agitated as the officers impeded him from moving additional items from his bedroom to the front door. Decl. of Dale Dawson 8, ECF No. 60. Officer Dawson and Sergeant Stubbs blocked Mark Walden from leaving his bedroom while repeatedly asking him to drop held items and put on pants. Decl. of Ben Miller 34, ECF No. 59. Mark Walden raised his hands and threw the items at Officer Dawson and Sergeant Stubbs. Decl. of Dale Dawson 8, ECF No. 60. Those items, some of which hit Officer Dawson and Sergeant Stubbs, id., included closed pocket knives, Decl. of Ben Miller 55-56, ECF No. 59 ("He never used a knife as a weapon but - and he just threw it at us."); Second Am. Compl. 8, ECF No. 30 ("Mark had an armful of presents still in their boxes which the officers told him to drop. The boxes contained small pocket knives Mark was giving as Christmas presents. They were all sealed and closed up."). Shortly afterward, Mark was handcuffed. Decl. of Ben Miller 82, ECF No. 59; Decl. of Carl Stubbs 3, ECF No. 62.

The officers, with assistance from medics on site, wrapped Mark Walden in a tablecloth[3] and transported him by gurney to an ambulance. Decl. of Ben Miller 48, 68, ECF No. 59. Officer Dawson accompanied Mark Walden in the ambulance during transport to the Sacred Heart Medical Center, Riverbend, in Springfield, Oregon. Id. at 69; Decl. of Custodian of Records 3, ECF No. 63. At approximately 3:30 p.m., Mark Walden was admitted on a two-physician mental health involuntary hold at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Decl. of Custodian of Records 3, ECF No. 63. At that time, Scott Williams., M.D., concluded that Mark Walden was a danger to himself or others because of his exhibited "behaviors, " including: "Yelling, hallucinating. Not eating. Unable to follow directions. Threw knives at police. Stopped taking medications 1 week ago." Id.

On December 3, 2010, Mark Walden, while receiving treatment at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Riverbend, was administered an overdose of his medication. Second Am. Compl. 10, ECF No. 30. Mark entered a coma and later died on December 13, 2010. Id.; Decl. of Ben Miller 69, ECF No. 59.

On November 27, 2012, plaintiffs filed this action against Sergeant Solesbee, Sergeant Stubbs, Officer Schacht, and the City of Eugene, asserting various constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a claim under the ADA, and claims under Oregon common law. Compl. 11-21, ECF No. 1.

On May 28, 2013, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, which substituted Officer Dawson for Sergeant Solesbee. Am. Compl. 3, 7-9, ECF No. 17.[4]

On July 3, 2013, plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint. That complaint, much like the original, seeks damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the ADA, and Oregon common law. Second Am. Compl. 10-16, ECF No. 30.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

This Court must grant summary judgment if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). An issue is "genuine" if a reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party. Rivera v. Phillip Morris, Inc., 395 F.3d 1142, 1146 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A fact is "material" if it could affect the outcome of the case. Id. The court reviews evidence and draws inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Miller v. Glenn Miller Prods., Inc., 454 F.3d 975, 988 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 552 (1999)). When the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must present ...


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