United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Central Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Leonard T. Strand, Chief Judge.
case is before me on defendant's motion (Doc. No. 21) for
summary judgment. Plaintiff Matthew Parrish has filed a
resistance (Doc. No. 37) and the defendants have filed a
reply (Doc. No. 44). I find that oral argument is not
necessary. See N.D. Ia. L.R. 7(c).
filed this action in the Iowa District Court for Hamilton
County on August 19, 2016. His state court petition (Doc. No.
3) includes claims against Hamilton County, Iowa (the
County), Jason Dingman, a jailer at the Hamilton County Jail,
and Dennis Hagenson, the Hamilton County Sheriff. Counts I,
II and III are brought against Dingman pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and assert violations of Parrish's rights
under the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution. Counts IV and V, also brought
pursuant to § 1983, assert that Hagenson and the County
are liable for Dingman's alleged conduct. Counts VI and
VII assert state law tort claims against Dingman. Count VIII
asserts a state law negligence claim against Hagenson and the
County and Count IX asserts a respondeat superior claim
against the County.
filed a notice (Doc. No. 2) of removal to this court on
September 7, 2016, and filed an answer (Doc. No. 5) on
September 14, 2016. Defendants generally deny Parrish's
allegations and assert various defenses. Defendants filed
their motion for summary judgment on July 21, 2017.
otherwise noted, the parties do not dispute the following
time of the events at issue, Parrish was 46 years old and on
Social Security disability because of injuries sustained in a
2010 motorcycle accident. Doc. No. 24 at 5-6, 10. He was 5
feet, 8 inches in height, and weighed 170 pounds. Doc. No.
37-4 at 6. Despite being on disability, Parrish was able to
maintain a part-time job at an automobile dealership. Doc.
No. 24 at 6, 20-21.
injuries Parrish suffered as a result of the motorcycle
acceding included a broken right femur and right arm. Doc.
No. 24 at 10. Because of these injuries, Parrish walks with a
limp. Id. Parrish also has physical limitations in
his wrist and double vision as a result of the accident.
Id. Although Parrish used a walker or a cane
immediately after the motorcycle accident, he was no longer
using either on August 7, 2015. Id. at 10. However,
he still wears orthopedic shoes and special glasses.
was hired as a jailer at the Hamilton County Jail in 2006.
Doc. No. 24 at 24. When he was hired, Dingman received
training in the use of pepper spray and tasers. Id.
In 2007, Dingman completed the basic 40-hour jail training at
the State of Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. Id. at
25. Dingman takes a 20-hour re-certification course through
the Law Enforcement Academy each year. Id. Dingman
completed training in defensive tactics in 2008 and repeated
the course in 2011 and 2015. Id.
Hamilton County Jail maintains a policy regarding the use of
force against inmates. Doc. No. 24 at 67-68. The policy
states that “Jail Officers are so authorized and should
use appropriate force when an escape is in progress, and it
is evident that escape may ensue, or that danger to persons,
or damage to property may ensue.” Id. at 67.
“Empty Handed Tactics” such as the use of hands,
compliance holds or decentralizing are specifically
authorized where the inmate shows passive or defensive
physical resistance. Id. at 68. Intermediate weapons
(such as pepper spray or a taser) are further authorized
where an inmate demonstrates active physical resistance.
August 7, 2015, Parrish was arrested by Officer J. Johnson of
the Iowa State Patrol after being stopped at an OWI
checkpoint on Highway 17 near Stanhope, Iowa. Doc. No. 24 at
8. Parrish denies that he was under the influence of
marijuana or alcohol at the time he was arrested, but admits
that he was taking prescription narcotics, including
hydrocodone. Id. at 7. Johnson ultimately
transported Parrish to the Hamilton County Jail after a
search of his car revealed marijuana and open beer cans.
Id. at 9.
arrival, Parrish had to sit on a chair in the jail's
garage for approximately 45 minutes until he could be booked
into the jail. Id. at 11. Eventually, he was moved
to booking and Dingman began the process of checking him into
the jail. Doc. No. 24 at 11. Parrish testified that he knew
Dingman prior to August 7, 2015, because their mothers went
to nursing training together. Doc. No. 24 at 10. However,
they had never socialized. Id. Dingman testified
that he knew of Parrish from the time he was a child and was
aware that Parrish suffered serious injuries due to the
motorcycle accident. Id. at 26. Dingman also
testified that he noticed that Parrish walked with a limp.
Id. at 31.
booking, Parrish requested permission to keep his orthopedic
shoes and his glasses, which was granted. Doc. No. 24 at 11.
Parrish also requested to be placed in isolation, as he
believed he would be unable to defend himself if housed with
another inmate due to his various conditions. However,
Parrish is not certain that he made the reason for his
request clear to Dingman. Specifically, Parrish testified
that he recalled telling Dingman that he wanted to “be
in isolation because of [his] physical injuries, ” but
does not “recall saying [he wanted to be in isolation]
so [he] could protect [himself].” Doc. No. 24 at 12.
Dingman does not recall Parrish making this request during
the booking procedures. Dingman testified that Parrish was
cooperative at this time (Doc. No. 24 at 27-28) and Parrish
testified that Dingman was polite and professional during the
booking process (Doc. No. 24 at 11).
was given a mattress to carry, which he was able to do. Doc.
No. 24 at 12-13. Dingman directed Parrish to a cell with
another inmate already in it. A video recording (Video),
submitted as an exhibit to defendants' motion, depicts
the events that occurred next. Parrish walked through the
open door of the cell while Dingman was behind him. Video,
11:45-11:46. Parrish was carrying the foam mattress at this
time. Id. Although there is no audio, it is plain
from the video that Parrish walks into the cell, notices that
it is occupied by a sleeping person, and then turns around to
face Dingman. Id. Dingman is seen to be shaking his
head “no.” Id.; see also Doc.
No. 24 at 15. Dingman and Parrish testified that this was in
response to a request to be put in isolation. Doc. No. 24 at
who was not far from the door, stepped forward into the door
frame with his mattress in front of him. Video at 11:46; Doc.
No. 24 at 30. Dingman testified that the mattress made
contact with his chest, although admittedly not with much
force. Doc. No. 24 at 28. While Dingman and Parrish both
testified that at least the mattress was through the door,
from the video it also appears that Parrish himself was
within the door frame. Video at 11:46; Doc. No. 24 at 14-15
(“Q. The mattress was outside the doorway, and that was
in front of you; correct? A. Yes. . . . I made motion towards
the doorway to get the jailer's attention . . . .
”); Id. at 30 (“I could not close the
door because the mattress got into the door frame). Dingman
testified that he believed the mattress was “being used
as a shield to interfere with my ability to stop [Parrish]
from leaving the cell . . . . [I]t interferes with my ability
to protect myself.” Id. at 30. Dingman
testified that he believed Parrish intended to exit the cell
at this time. Id.; see also Doc. No. 37-4
at 4 (“Inmate Parrish then thrust his mattress forward
towards me and tried to shove his way past me in an attempt
to extricate himself from the holding cell.”).
stepped into the cell, pushing Parrish against the wall
briefly before leveraging him to the ground, with his hands
on Parrish's arm and neck, and cuffing his wrists behind
his back. Video at 11:46-47; Doc. No. 24 at 15 (“Q. He
never just threw you down and let go; correct? A. No. He was
right on top of me the whole time.”); Doc. No. 37-4 at
4. Parrish agrees that Dingman never tased him, used pepper
spray on him or physically hit him. Doc. No. 24 at 17.
Instead, the sole basis for his complaint is the takedown
seen on the video at 11:46-47. Id.
testified that he injured his lower back as a result of this
incident. Doc. No. 24 at 17. Specifically, four ribs were
“out on one side” requiring chiropractic
treatment. Id. Parrish saw a chiropractor, Dr. Lee,
weekly for six months following the incident but testified
that his injuries were resolved in “about a month or a
little less.” Doc. No. 24 at 19-20. Parrish also states
that his wrists, particularly the right wrist, were swollen
and bruised as a result of being handcuffed (id.),
and that he suffered emotional trauma (Doc. No. 37-4 at 25).
of Parrish's wrist, taken August 8, 2015, were normal.
Doc. No. 24 at 17-18. Parrish testified that he returned to
physical therapy to treat his right wrist-the same wrist that
required treatment after the motorcycle accident.
Id. Parrish missed a couple of weeks of work
following his arrest. Id. at 21. Finally, Parrish
testified that he took Clonazepam, an anti-anxiety
medication, for a few months after the arrest. Id.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS
party may move for summary judgment regarding all or any part
of the claims asserted in a case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Summary
judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is ...