United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
OPINION & ORDER
Michael McShane United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment. ECF No. 16. The Court heard oral argument
on July 28, 2017. ECF No. 29. For the reasons discussed
below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.
City of Medford is an Oregon municipality. Defendants Paul
Mellgren (“Mellgren”) and Patrick Dennis
(“Dennis”) are police officers employed by the
Medford Police Department.
The Initial Stop
approximately 11:00 p.m. on December 5, 2014, Plaintiff
Ronald Doyle left a bar in downtown Medford. Burrows Decl.
Ex. 12, at 2; Ex. 24, at 2. Officer Paul Mellgren observed
Doyle making an improper turn while leaving the bar's
parking lot and initiated a traffic stop. Burrows Decl. Ex.
12, at 2; Ex. 24, at 5. When Mellgren approached Doyle's
vehicle, he detected a strong odor of alcohol. Mitton Decl.
Ex. 2, at 6. Mellgren also observed that Doyle had watery,
bloodshot eyes. Burrows Decl. Ex. 17; Ex. 24, at 13. During
the encounter, Mellgren observed that Doyle spoke with a
slight slur. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 6. Doyle denied
having consumed any alcohol. Burrows Decl. Ex. 24, at 13.
Mellgren asked Doyle to perform Field Sobriety Tests
(“FSTs”), but Doyle declined. Burrows Decl. Ex.
12, at 2-3; Ex. 24, at 29. At this point, Mellgren believed
that Doyle was impaired by alcohol. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 4.
Mellgren did not suspect that Doyle was under the influence
of drugs during the initial encounter. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at
the encounter, Doyle stated repeatedly that he was the
retired city attorney for Medford. Burrows Decl. Ex. 12, at
2-3. Doyle told Mellgren that he believed the stop was
unlawful and that Mellgren was proceeding inappropriately
with the investigation. Burrows Decl. Ex. 24, at 14.
placed Doyle under arrest for Driving Under the Influence of
Intoxicants (“DUII”) and ordered Doyle to get out
of the vehicle. Doyle argued with Mellgren for some time
about the lawfulness of the stop and Mellgren had to repeat
that Doyle was under arrest several times. Burrows Decl. Ex.
12, at 3; Ex. 24, at 43-44. Doyle continued to refuse to get
out of his vehicle, despite Mellgren's repeated orders.
Burrows Decl. Ex. 12, at 3. Before finally exiting the
vehicle, Doyle spent some time rummaging for his jacket.
Doyle disregarded Mellgren's repeated orders to leave the
jacket behind and did not exit the vehicle until he had the
jacket in hand. Burrows Decl. Ex. 24, at 18-19. Mellgren
observed Doyle moved slowly while exiting the vehicle.
Burrows Decl. Ex. 24, at 67. Mellgren has consistently
testified that, at this point in the encounter, he believed
that Doyle was impaired by alcohol. See, e.g.,
Burrows Decl. Ex. 24, at 20, 41.
placed Doyle in handcuffs and called for the assistance of a
second officer to transport Doyle. After he was placed in
handcuffs, Doyle said that he didn't want to go to jail
and asked if there was anything he could do for Mellgren to
“make this right.” Mellgren Decl. Ex. 1, ECF No.
19 (dashboard-mounted audio and video or “MAV”)
while later, MPD Officer James Barringer arrived and placed
Doyle into his patrol car for transport to the Moore Center
(for the sake of clarity, the Court will follow the practice
of the parties and refer to the Moore Center as
“Detox”). Burrows Decl. Ex. 12, at 3. Barringer
also observed that Doyle smelled strongly of alcohol. Mitton
Decl. Ex. 5, at 2; Burrows Decl. Ex. 26, at 3.
Detox and the Application for the Search Warrant
Detox, Doyle agreed to provide a breath sample for the
Intoxilyzer 8000. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 7-8. His first
sample returned blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of
0.017 and his second sample returned a result of 0.015.
Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 8; Burrows Decl. Ex. 12, at 11.
BAC result will not automatically end a DUII
investigation. Mitton Decl. Ex. 4, at 11-12. Nor does a
low BAC result necessarily rule out alcohol intoxication.
Mitton Decl. Ex. 4, at 14 (describing the additive effects of
alcohol and other substances). In a typical DUII
investigation, if a person is arrested for DUII based on
probable cause and his or her breath sample shows a BAC of
less than 0.08, a Drug Recognition Expert (“DRE”)
will be called to perform an evaluation of the individual.
Mitton Decl. Ex. 3, at 2; Ex. 4, at 11-12. The DRE attempts
to assess whether the individual is actually impaired and, if
so, whether he or she is impaired by something other than
alcohol. Mitton Decl. Ex. 3, at 2. If the individual refuses
to submit to a DRE evaluation, or no DRE is available, the
police will apply for a search warrant for a urine sample.
Mitton Decl. Ex. 4, at 12-13. Urine testing is requested only
if the police suspect that the individual is impaired by
something other than alcohol, or by the interaction of
alcohol and another substance. Mitton Decl. Ex. 4, at 13-14.
Certain drugs will be detected only by special testing, and
will not be detected by the general urinalysis screening
performed by the Oregon State Police lab. Mitton Decl. Ex. 4,
at 13-14; Ex. 9.
Doyle's case, Mellgren testified that he was unable to
reconcile his observations at the roadside with the low BAC
result. Burrows Decl. Ex. 24, at 42, 80. Mellgren
called his supervising police sergeant and informed him that
Doyle's breath sample was below 0.08 and that the result
was inconsistent with Mellgren's roadside observations.
Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 9. Mellgren requested the assistance
of a DRE. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 9. The sergeant instructed
Mellgren to call the DRE directly and to proceed with the
investigation. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 9. Mellgren contacted
the on-duty DRE, who instructed Mellgren to ask Doyle if he
would submit to a DRE examination and/or provide a urine
sample. Burrows Decl. Ex. 7, at 16; Ex. 12, at 3. Doyle
declined both requests. Mitton Decl. Ex. 1, at 9; Ex. 2, at
his time at Detox, Doyle demanded that Mellgren call the
chief of police, who Doyle believed would vouch for his
character. Mitton Decl. Ex. 1, at 6-7, 12; Burrows Decl. Ex.
12, at 3. Doyle testified that he believed that the chief of
police would personally intervene and mediate some sort of
resolution to Doyle's detention. Mitton Decl. Ex. 1, at
7, 12. Doyle also discussed calling Mellgren's father,
another former employee of the City of Medford, but opted
against doing so. Mitton Decl. Ex. 1, at 6; Burrows Decl. Ex.
12, at 3.
Patrick Dennis was at Detox on an unrelated call. Mitton
Decl. Ex. 2, at 2. During his time at Detox, Dennis observed
that, while Doyle was not aggressive, he was argumentative,
“erratic, ” and “just had bizarre
behavior.” Burrows Decl. Ex. 25, at 9-10, 14-15. Dennis
is qualified as a DRE and Mellgren spoke to him about his
investigation of Doyle. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 2; Ex. 3, at
4. Mellgren described his roadside observations to Dennis and
noted the low BAC result. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 2. Mellgren
expressed the view that “everything at that point just
didn't make sense. It wasn't adding up.” Mitton
Decl. Ex. 2, at 2. Dennis spoke with Doyle, although he did
not perform a DRE examination, nor did he explicitly express
an opinion as to whether or not Doyle was under the influence
of drugs. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 2; Ex. 3, at 5-7. Dennis
advised Mellgren of the existence of categories of fast-
dissipating drugs, such as inhalants, which might explain a
sudden change in observable levels of impairment, as well as
a low BAC. Mitton Decl. Ex. 3, at 8; Burrows Decl. Ex. 25, at
17. Based on the information Mellgren received from Dennis,
Mellgren came to believe that Doyle had been under the
influence of drugs. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 3-4, 12; Burrows
Decl. Ex. 24, at 37, 41. Mellgren asked Dennis if he should
seek a search warrant and Dennis replied
“Absolutely.” Mitton Decl. Ex. 3, at 5, 10.
prepared a search warrant affidavit, which he submitted
telephonically to a Jackson County Circuit Court judge.
Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 10. In his application, Mellgren
described the smell of alcohol on Doyle's breath, his
watery, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and slow movements,
as well as Doyle's low BAC result and refusal to perform
FSTs or submit to a DRE examination. Mitton Decl. Ex. 7, at
4. Mellgren raised the possibility of fast-dissipating
controlled substances or inhalants and stated that he had
probable cause to believe that evidence of controlled
substances or inhalant use would be found in Doyle's
urine. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 13; Ex. 7, at 4. Mellgren
requested that the judge issue a search warrant for the
collection of urine, on the basis that Mellgren had probable
cause to believe that it would reveal evidence of the crime
of DUII. Mitton Decl. Ex. 7, at 4-5. The judge found that
probable cause did exist and issued a warrant for the
collection of the urine sample. Mitton Decl. Ex. 6; Ex. 7, at
presented with the search warrant, Doyle initially refused to
provide a urine sample. Mitton Decl. Ex. 1, at 11; Ex. 2, at
14. Mellgren and Dennis transported Doyle to the hospital so
that the urine sample could be collected by catheter. Mitton
Decl. Ex. 1, at 13-14; Ex. 2, at 14. Doyle ultimately agreed
to provide the urine sample and no catheter was necessary.
Mitton Decl. Ex. 1, at 15; Ex. 2, at 14. Mellgren then issued
citations for misdemeanor DUII, refusing to provide a urine
sample, and improper right turn. Burrows Decl. Ex. 1-3. Doyle
was lodged at the jail and released the following morning.
Burrows Decl. Ex. 12, at 1.
urine sample was tested by the Oregon State Police laboratory
and yielded a positive result for marijuana metabolites.
Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 16; Ex. 9. Doyle's case was
submitted to the Jackson County District Attorney's
Office, which declined to proceed with charges. Burrows Decl.
The DMV Hearing
driver's license was suspended by the DMV based on
Doyle's refusal to provide a urine sample. Doyle
challenged the suspension and a hearing was held before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”) on December 24,
2014. Burrows Decl. Ex. 5.
appeared at the administrative hearing and testified without
the assistance of counsel. Mitton Decl. Ex. 2, at 17.
Mellgren testified that when he arrested Doyle, he believed
Doyle to be under the influence of alcohol, rather than
drugs, and that this belief persisted for at least some of
the time Doyle was at Detox. Mitton Decl. Ex. 10, at 4.
Mellgren also testified that, at the time he initially asked
Doyle to provide a urine sample or submit to a DRE exam, he
did not believe Doyle was under the influence of a controlled
substance or inhalant. Mitton Decl. Ex. 10, at 2-3; Burrows Decl.
Ex. 7, at 29. Mellgren stated that once Doyle's breath
sample showed a low BAC, he had no choice but to continue
with the investigation because he was unable to reconcile his
roadside observation of impairment with the low BAC result.
Mitton Decl. Ex. 10, at 3; Burrows Decl. Ex. 7, at 18-19.
determined that Mellgren lacked probable cause to arrest
Doyle and reversed the suspension of Doyle's driver's
license. Burrows Decl. Ex. 8, at 3-4.
judgment is appropriate when “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Wash. Mut. Inc. v.
United States, 636 F.3d 1207, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party must show the absence of
a dispute as to a material fact. Rivera v. Philip Morris,
Inc., 395 F.3d 1142, 1146 (9th Cir. 2005). In response
to a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the
nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and show there
is a genuine dispute as to a material fact for trial.
Id. “This burden is not a light one. . . . The
non-moving party must do more than show there is some
‘metaphysical doubt' as to the material facts at
issue.” In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627
F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted).
dispute as to a material fact is genuine “if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Villiarmo v.
Aloha Island Air, Inc., 281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir.
2002) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). The court must draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Sluimer v.
Verity, Inc., 606 F.3d 584, 587 (9th Cir. 2010).
“Summary judgment cannot be granted where contrary
inferences may be drawn from the evidence as to material
issues.” Easter v. Am. W. Fin., 381 F.3d 948,
957 (9th Cir. 2004). A “mere disagreement or the bald
assertion that a genuine issue of material fact exists”
is not sufficient to preclude the grant of summary judgment.
Harper v. Wallingford, 877 F.2d 728, 731 (9th Cir.
1989). When the non-moving party's claims are factually
implausible, that party must “come forward with more
persuasive evidence than otherwise would be
necessary[.]” LVRC Holdings, LLC v. Brekka,
581 F.3d 1127, 1137 (9th Cir. 2009) (quotation marks and
substantive law governing a claim or defense determines
whether a fact is material. Miller v. Glenn Miller Prod.,
Inc., 454 F.3d 975, 987 (9th Cir. 2006). If the
resolution of a factual dispute would not affect the outcome
of the claim, the court may grant summary judgment.
brings claims against Mellgren and Dennis for false arrest
and false statements to a judicial officer, along with state
law claims for assault, battery, and false imprisonment.
Doyle has also brought Monell claims against the
City of Medford based on number of its policies, which Doyle
asserts are unlawful. Defendants have moved for summary
also initially brought claims against Mellgren and Dennis for
excessive use of force, based on the use of handcuffs, as
well as a Monell claim against the City of Medford
for its handcuff policies. Doyle has conceded these claims
and moves to dismiss them in his Response. The Court accepts
Doyle's concession and all claims related to excessive
force or the City of Medford's handcuff policy are
42 U.S.C. § 1983 “provides a federal cause of
action against any person who, acting under color of state
law, deprives another of his federal rights.” Conn
v. Gabbert, 526 U.S. 286, 290 (1999). To maintain a
claim under § 1983, “a plaintiff must both (1)
allege the deprivation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or statutory law, and (2) allege that the
deprivation was ...