United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. Jones District Judge.
TJ Rhodes, acting pro se, brought this civil rights action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Marion County Fire
District #1 (MCFD) and its employees Terry Riley, Jakob
Beutler, and Aaron Iwaniw (collectively "the MCFD
defendants") and the Marion County Sheriffs Office
(MCSO) and its employees Sheriff Jason Myers and Deputy
Jonathon Gadberry (collectively "the MCSO
defendants"), Rhodes alleges defendants violated his
rights by assaulting and refusing him medical treatment when
they responded to a 911 call from his girlfriend reporting he
was experiencing chest pain. The matter is before the court
on defendants' motions for summary judgment [# 44, # 53].
For the following reasons, the motions are granted as to all
following factual background is undisputed. On December 23,
2014, Rhodes and his girlfriend Cynthia Brown visited
Izzy's restaurant. When they left, plaintiff experienced
chest pain and he told Ms. Brown he thought he was having a
stroke or a heart attack. On numerous previous occasions,
Rhodes had experienced similar symptoms and had been
transported by ambulance for emergency treatment. Ms. Brown
called 911 and reported that Rhodes was experiencing chest
pain and that she and Rhodes were intoxicated.
personnel, including defendants Beutler and Iwaniw, responded
to the call. Ms. Brown led the MCFD responders into
Rhodes's residence and again told them that Rhodes was
intoxicated and experiencing chest pains, The MCFD responders
found Rhodes unresponsive in a fetal position with his shirt
pulled over his head. When they attempted to obtain
information from Rhodes, he exhibited signs of impaired
decision making capacity and alcohol intoxication and
appeared to be in urgent need of medical care.
did not cooperate when the MCFD responders tried to obtain
information from him about his condition. He leaped to his
feet, yelled angrily at them and shoved defendant Iwaniw.
Rhodes then charged at them, swinging his fists. He struck
defendant Beutler several times in the head. Defendants
Beutler and Iwaniw restrained Rhodes on the floor to protect
themselves, but Rhodes bit Beutler on the forearm and spat in
their faces. Defendant Beutler pushed Rhodes's head away
to avoid further spitting. While restrained, Rhodes remained
agitated, yelling threats and racial expletives at the MCFD
responders. Rhodes punched Beutler in the side of the head.
Ms. Brown then reported that Rhodes had hit and threatened
her before the MCFD responders arrived and that she feared
further violence against her if Rhodes were released.
defendant Deputy Gadberry arrived to help the MCFD responders
control Rhodes so that he could be treated. Defendant
Gadberry knew that the MCFD responders had been dispatched to
assist an intoxicated male who was experiencing chest pains.
Gadberry smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from Rhodes.
Rhodes was agitated and continued to scream curses and
threats at the MCFD responders hying to assist him. Defendant
Gadberry placed Rhodes in handcuffs and told him he was being
detained while Gadberry investigated the incident.
defendant Gadberry escorted Rhodes to a patrol vehicle,
Rhodes tried to pull away several times and yelled
profanities, racial expletives and threats at Gadberry.
Defendants Beutler and Iwaniw attempted to complete their
medical assessment while Rhodes was sitting in the patrol
vehicle, but Rhodes continued to be uncooperative and scream
at them. When defendant Iwaniw attempted to place an EKG lead
on Rhodes's chest, Rhodes tried to bite Iwaniw's
hand. Defendant Gadbeny then grasped Rhodes's chin and
pushed it up to prevent him from biting Iwaniw. Ultimately,
Rhodes prevented Iwaniw and Beutler from properly assessing
his possible medical issues. Defendant Gadberry then
transported Rhodes to the Marion County Jail.
on the events described, Rhodes was charged with Assault 3,
Aggravated Harassment, and Attempted Assault 3. On June 7,
2015, Rhodes entered a guilty plea to Assault 3 and
Aggravated Harassment, both Class C felonies. In doing so,
Rhodes confessed that, on December 23, 2014, he had caused
physical injury to a medical service provider acting in the
course of his duties and had propelled saliva on a public
safety officer acting in his official capacity. Based on the
guilty plea, Rhodes was convicted and is now serving a
sentence of incarceration at Santiam Correctional
Institution, LEGAL STANDARD
district court should grant summary judgment if there are no
genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
If the moving party shows that there are no genuine issues of
material fact, the non-moving party must go beyond the
pleadings and designate facts showing an issue for trial.
Celotex Corp, v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). A scintilla of evidence, or evidence that is merely
colorable or not significantly probative, does not present a
genuine issue of material fact. United Steelworkers of
America v. Phelps Dodge, 865 F.2d 1539, 1542 (9th Cir.
1989). Reasonable doubts as to the existence of a material
factual issue are resolved against the moving party and
inferences drawn from facts are viewed in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. T. W. Elec, Serv. v.
Pac. Elec. Contractors, 809 F.2d 626, 630-31 (9th Cir.
first amended complaint, Rhodes brought eight claims alleging
violations of his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendments, as well as claims of negligence and
assault and battery under state law. Of these, three claims
relate to all defendants, one relates only to the MCFD
defendants, and four relate only to the MCSO defendants.
alleges the MCFD defendants violated his constitutional
rights by subjecting him to excessive force, false
imprisonment, cruel and unusual punishment, and failure to
provide appropriate medical care. These claims are barred by
the doctrine of Heck v. Humphrey,512 U.S. 477
(1994). Rhodes entered a plea petition in which he confessed
the factual basis that supported his conviction of Assault 3
and Aggravated Harassment. The aggressive assaultive behavior
that formed the basis of Rhodes's felony convictions is
inextricably intertwined with the MCFD defendants'
defensive actions and futile attempts to provide medical
care. These are the actions that Rhodes alleges violated his
rights and form the basis of his claims under Section 1983.