United States District Court, D. Minnesota
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Magnuson United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgement (Docket No. 242) and Defendants'
Motions to Exclude Expert Testimony (Docket Nos. 245, 250,
256). For the following reasons, the Motion for Summary
Judgment is granted and the Motions to Exclude Expert
Testimony are denied.
is a longtime Minnesota Vikings fan from Midland, Texas. He
traveled to Minnesota to attend a Vikings game at U.S. Bank
Stadium on December 1, 2016. Lopez had at least two drinks
before the game, and at least two or three beers at the game.
(Robertson Decl. (Docket No. 244) Ex. A (Lopez Dep.) at
40-41, 51-52; Ex. B (Herrera Dep.) at 36.) At around 9:30 pm,
fans signaled to a security guard on the field that there was
a disturbance in their section. The security guard, Andrew
Hodynsky, testified that Lopez was pushing and shoving past
other fans. (Robertson Decl. Ex. D (Hodynsky Dep.) at 23.) A
stadium employee told Hodynsky that he thought Lopez was
going to fight someone because Lopez was drunk and unruly.
(Id. at 23.)
approached Lopez and asked him to step into the aisle. Lopez
refused to go with him, so Hodynsky radioed Minneapolis
police to request that they eject Lopez from the stadium.
(Id. at 54.) Minneapolis police officers Anthony
Rodin and Russell Cragin arrived and began leading Lopez to a
holding cell, followed closely by Hodynsky.
Lopez has no memory of the events following his removal from
the stands (Lopez Dep. at 55), the majority of the remaining
facts come from the individual Defendants' testimony and
security video of the events. The officers told Lopez that
they would walk him to a holding cell and then escort him out
of the stadium. (Robertson Decl. Ex. F (Trial Tr.) at 69; Ex.
G (Rodin Dep.) at 51-52.) Throughout the walk to the holding
cell, Lopez repeatedly stopped to talk to members of the
public. (Rodin Dep. at 53.) Each time he stopped, the
officers took hold of his elbow and guided him forward.
trio passed through double doors and entered a hallway. Lopez
began turning, so Rodin again took his elbow to lead him
forward. (Id. at 53-54.) Rodin testified that as he
did this, Lopez said, “If you touch me again, I will
put your face into the concrete.” (Id. at 54.)
A hallway security camera captured the rest of the
interaction. Lopez rolled his shoulder away from Rodin, and
Rodin tried to regain control of Lopez. (Robertson Decl. Ex.
H (Security Video) at 0:58.) Lopez turned to face Rodin, the
two struggled slightly, and then Lopez reached for
Rodin's chest. (Id. at 0:59-1:00.) Rodin decided
to take Lopez to the ground to handcuff him. (Rodin Dep. at
55.) Rodin attempted to tackle Lopez, and they ran into a
nearby wall before falling onto the floor. (Security Video
1:01-1:03). Seeing Rodin struggling to control Lopez, Cragin
got onto the floor and used his body weight to control
Lopez's upper half. (Trial Tr. at 86.) Lopez then began
wrestling with Cragin and reaching for Cragin's belt.
Hodynsky and the officers testified that at different stages
of the struggle, Lopez attempted to grab Cragin's
flashlight, taser, and firearm. (Hodynsky Dep. at 58-59;
Robertson Decl. Ex. E (Cragin Dep.) at 36; Trial Tr. at 89;
Rodin Dep. at 57-58.)
Lopez struggled with Cragin, Rodin struck Lopez in the
abdomen four times with his knee and punched him in the
shoulder twice, trying to remove Lopez's arm from
Cragin's belt area. (Security Video at 1:06-1:14.) Lopez
then used his free arm to grab the firearm on the right side
of Cragin's toolbelt. (Id. at 1:19.) Hodynsky
stepped in and pulled Lopez's hand away from the gun.
(Id. at 1:20). Hodynsky testified that Lopez had his
hand on the handle of Cragin's firearm. (Hodynsky Dep. at
58-59.) At some point during the altercation, Lopez also
grabbed Cragin's flashlight with such force that he broke
one of the leather straps holding the flashlight in place.
(Trial Tr. 126-27.) Lopez continued struggling, and Rodin
delivered two blows to Lopez's face. (Security Video at
1:20.) Cragin then told Rodin he was going to use his taser.
(Cragin Dep. at 37.)
fired his taser at Lopez's abdomen, but the probes were
ineffective. (Id. at 38.) He fired a second round
and the probes lodged in Lopez's hand, but Lopez
continued to struggle. (Id. at 38-39.) Cragin then
used the “touch stun” feature of the gun, which
incapacitated Lopez. (Id. at 39.) After the stun
took effect, Lopez raised his hands upward in a
“surrender” position and the officers handcuffed
him. (Security Video at 1:32.) The officers then activated
their body cameras and led Lopez to the holding cell, where
paramedics removed the probes from his hand and checked him
for additional injuries. (Robertson Decl. Ex. J (Rodin Body
Cam Video) at 7:35-8:28.) Although Lopez claims that he
suffered broken bones, medical reports indicate that he only
suffered fairly minor head and hand injuries. (See
generally Robertson Decl. Ex. M (Medical Records).)
Amended Complaint contains 14 counts: (1) § 1983 claim
for excessive use of force; (2) § 1983 Monell
claim for improper training and supervision; (3) § 1985
claim for conspiracy to deprive Lopez of constitutional
rights; (4) assault; (5) battery; (6) negligence; (7)
negligent supervision and training; (8) intentional
infliction of emotional distress; (9) negligent infliction of
emotional distress; (10) false arrest; (11) false
imprisonment; (12) malicious prosecution; and (13 and 14)
respondeat superior in negligence against other Defendants
for Rodin and Cragin's conduct. (Docket No. 93). In
Lopez's Opposition Memorandum, Lopez concedes that
summary judgment on his excessive force claim is proper as to
four of the named officers (Grahn, Fossum, McCarty, and
Moore), and that there is no genuine issue of material fact
as to his Monell, conspiracy, negligent
training/supervision, and malicious prosecution claims.
(Docket No. 267 at 35, 39, 40).
remaining Defendants are the City of Minneapolis, the former
Minneapolis Chief of Police Janeé Harteau, and six
Minneapolis police officers. They now move for summary
judgment, arguing that qualified immunity defeats Lopez's
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper if there are no disputed issues of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Court must view the
evidence and inferences that “may be reasonably drawn
from the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party.” Enter. Bank v. Magna Bank of
Mo., 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party
bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of
material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). A party opposing a properly supported motion for
summary judgment may not rest on mere ...