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PBSO Nurse Arrest Ruling

PBSO Nurse Arrest Ruling

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Published by: rabdill on May 21, 2012
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Case No.1 1-80374-Civ-Hopkins
KENNETH E. NOEL, et al.,Defendants.
F $ L C- C- th ) DC .
At 1 1 2 B ! 2
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CI-ERK tJ .Sf.1 Ci 1 . CT.S .D .OF FLA
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THIS CAUSE is before this Courtuponthe pmies' consentto magistratejudgejmisdiction
and an Order referring the instant case to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for tlnal
disposition. (DE 27, 28).Presently beforethe Courtarethe parties' cross-motions for summojudgment. Defendantsfiled their motion for summary judgment on December 15, 201 1. (DE 16). Plaintiff tsled her
response to Defendants' motion and a cross-motion for partial summaryjudgment on December 26,
201 1 . (DE 22). Thereafter, Plaintiff filtd a statement of facts (DE 45), and Defendants Gled
response/reply papers. (DE 58, 59, 60).These motions are now ripe for this Court's review.
Plaintiff initiated this civil rights lawsuit following an incident that occurred on the evening
of June 17, 2009, while she was working as a nurse at the U
S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Medical Center in Palm Beach County, Florida ($çV.A.''). See Amended Complaint (DE 12). On that
evening, a patient was admitted to the V
A. for injtuies he sustained in a car accident. Shortly
Case 9:11-cv-80374-JMH Document 61 Entered on FLSD Docket 05/11/2012 Page 1 of 27
thereafter, at approximately 10:00 p
m., Defendant Noel, a deputy sheriff with the Palm BeachCounty Sheriff s Department
arrived at the V.A. to conduct an impairment assessment of the
patienvdriver. See Defendant Noel's Dep
Tr. at p. 18-19, 21 (DE 17-1). After interviewing thepatient, Defendant Noel suspected that he had been driving under the intluence (($DUI'')
Defendant Noel wanted to take a blood ssmple right away in order to confirm his suspicion
Noel Dep. Tr. at p. 24-25.
At approximately 10:30 p.m., DefendantNoel approached the nurses' station and demandedthat someone collect a blood sample from the patient
See Noel Dep Tr. at pages 26
28; Plaintifps
Dep. Tr. at pages 39-40 (DE 17-5). Plaintiff and another nurse
Linda Denison, explained toDefendant Noel that the V.A.'S policy precluded them from collecting the blood
See Noel Dep. Tr.
at pages 43, 44; Plaintifps Dep. Tr. at pages 28
35, 44, 93. Defendant Noel then advised Plaintiffand Nurse Denison that he needed the blood snmple for his DUI investigation and that if they failedto comply with his order, they would be obstructing his investigation
in violation of Florida Statute
j 843.02, and he would arrest them. See Noel Dep. Tr. at pages 28-30) Plaintiffs Dep
Tr. at pages
47, 49. Defendant Noel again directed Plaintiff to draw the patient's blood
See Noel Dep. Tr. at
page 30. According to Defendant Noel
he asked Plaintiff, ç$$ galre you going to draw this blood, yes
or no,' and she stated tNo.''' See Noel Dep
Tr. at page 30. However, according to Plaintiff
sheadvised Defendant Noel that: çfWe're waiting for the doctor
The doctor has to make that decision
We're waiting for the doctor to see if he gives an order to get the blood
We cannot take blood from
the patient without a doctor's order'' See Plaintiff s Dep. Tr. at pages 44-45
In any event, it is undisputed that Defendant Noel placed Plaintiff in handcuffs and escorted
her outside to his patrol car
See Noel Dep. Tr. at pages 30-31; Plaintiffs Dep
Tr. at pages 50, 52
Case 9:11-cv-80374-JMH Document 61 Entered on FLSD Docket 05/11/2012 Page 2 of 27
54, 57.1 When Defendant Noel rettmwd to the V
A., he handed Nurse Denison the blood collectionkit and she drew the blood from the patient
See Noel Dep. Tr. at pages 34-35
38. Thereafter,
Defendant Noel released Plaintiff from custody and issued her a notice to a
ppear in court on the
obstruction charge. See Noel Dep
Tr. at page 42; Plaintiffs Dep Tr
at page 61. Ultimately, the
Palm Beach County State Attomey's Office declined to prosecute the charge
(DE 12 at ! 34, 91).
ln her Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges two counts of false arrest (Counts I and Il) andtwo counts of false imprisonment (Cotmts Il1 and IV) against Defendant Noel
based on purportedviolations of he Fourth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of he FourteenthAmendment.
(DE 12).2 Plaintiff also alleges a violation of htr Fourth Amendment right to be protected from a
unreasonable seizure against Defendant Bradshaw
in his official capacity as the Palm Beach CountySheriff. Plaintiff contends that the Sheriff s Department promulgated an unlawful policy directingdeputies to çlobtain blood samples from medical staffs by any means
including arrest or
imprisonment.'' tcount VIIDE 12 at ! 92).Plaintiff alleges a claim of inadequate training and
supervision againstDefendant Bradshaw
whom she claims was deliberately indifferentto her Fourth
The smveillance video of the nurses' station from that evening (submitted by Plaintiff
in support of her motion), shows Defendant Noel attempting to hand Plaintiff something
(presumably, a blood collection kit) at 1 1:06 p.m. One minute later
at 1 1:07 p.m., the video
shows Defendant Noel behind tht nurses' station
physically removing Plaintiff from her deskchair and handcuffing her
The video shows that Defendant Noel immediately escorted Plaintifffrom the emergency room
See DVD recording of V.A. emergency room surveillance video on
Jtme 17, 2009. (DE 37).
2 According to the Amended Complaint
Plaintiff is ç:a Black U.S. Citizen of Haitian
origin.'' (DE 12 at !3). In her motion papers, she claims that there is çça genuine issue of fact ms
to whether Defendant Noel selected Plaintiff for arrest based on her race
'' (DE 22 at paje 14).laintiff alleges th
at drefendant Noel treated (herl differently than similarly situated whlte
persons, and Plaintiffs race or national origin was the motivating factor in Defendant Noel'sseledion of Plaintiff for arrest
'' (DE 22 at page 16).
Case 9:11-cv-80374-JMH Document 61 Entered on FLSD Docket 05/11/2012 Page 3 of 27

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