United States District Court, D. Arizona
Douglas L. Rayes United States District Judge.
James and Christine Hamberlin allege that Defendants State of
Arizona and Officer Kriselle Colvin of the Arizona Fish and
Game Department unlawfully searched Plaintiffs' home in
violation of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment Regarding the Binding Effect of Superior
Court Ruling on Lack of Probable Cause. (Doc. 22.) The motion
is fully briefed and neither party requested oral argument.
For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion is granted
in part and denied in part.
Colvin obtained four search warrants related to James
Hamberlin (“Dr. Hamberlin”). A warrant issued for
Dr. Hamberlin's person, home, vehicle, and powered
parachute (“Home Warrant”). (Doc. 22-9.) Warrants
also issued for Dr. Hamberlin's cell phone records and
social media accounts (collectively the “Other
Warrants”). (Docs. 22-6; 22-10; 22-11.) On April 10,
2018, Dr. Hamberlin filed a motion to controvert the Home
Warrant, arguing among other things that it lacked probable
cause and was overbroad. (Doc. 22-13.) Dr. Hamberlin's
motion did not seek to convert the Other Warrants. The
Superior Court held a hearing on the motion to controvert.
(Doc. 22-3 at 8-70; Doc. 23.) Following the hearing, the
Superior Court issued an advisory ruling, granting the motion
to controvert the Home Warrant based on the lack of probable
cause. (Doc. 22-1.) Subsequently, the Superior Court
incorporated its advisory ruling in a final order. (Doc.
22-16.) The State appealed and that appeal remains
pending. (Doc. 22-17 at 54.)
judgment is appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, demonstrates
“that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is material if it
might affect the outcome of the case, and a dispute is
genuine if a reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving
party based on the competing evidence. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986);
Villiarimo v. Aloha Island Air, Inc., 281 F.3d 1054,
1061 (9th Cir. 2002). Summary judgment may also be entered
“against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient
to establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
party seeking summary judgment “bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion and identifying those portions of [the record]
which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact.” Id. at 323. The burden then
shifts to the non-movant to establish the existence of a
genuine and material factual dispute. Id. at 324.
Thus, the nonmoving party must show that the genuine factual
issues “‘can be resolved only by a finder of fact
because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either
party.'” Cal. Architectural Bldg. Prods., Inc.
v. Franciscan Ceramics, Inc., 818 F.2d 1466,
1468 (9th Cir. 1987) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at
argument is two-fold. First, Plaintiffs contend that
collateral estoppel should apply to the Superior Court's
finding that the Home Warrant lacked probable cause. Second,
Plaintiffs assert that the Superior Court's ruling on the
Home Warrant should be extended to the Other Warrants,
precluding litigation on whether probable cause exists as to
the Other Warrants as well.
estoppel “precludes relitigation of an issue already
litigated in a previous proceeding between the same
parties.” Pike v. Hester, 891 F.3d 1131, 1138
(9th Cir. 2018). State court judgments must be given the
“preclusive effect that those judgments would enjoy
under the law of the state in which the judgment was
rendered.” Far Out Prods., Inc. v. Oskar, 247
F.3d 986, 993 (9th Cir. 2001). Because an Arizona Superior
Court decision is at issue, Arizona issue preclusion law
Arizona law, issue preclusion applies when (1) “the
issue is actually litigated in the previous
proceeding;” (2) “there is a full and fair
opportunity to litigate the issue;” (3)
“resolution of such issue is essential to the
decision;” (4) there is a valid and final decision on
the merits;” and (5) “there is a common identity
of the parties.” Hawkins v. State Dep't of
Econ. Sec., 900 P.2d 1236, 1239 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1995);
see also Clusiau v. Clusiau Enterprises, Inc., 236
P.3d 1194, 1196 (Ariz.Ct.App. 2010) (adopting Restatement
(Second) of Judgments (1982)). As the party asserting issue
preclusion, Plaintiffs have the burden of establishing these
elements. Bayless v. Indus. Comm'n of Ariz., 880
P.2d 654, 659 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1993).
respect to the Home Warrant, there is no dispute that the
probable cause issue was actually litigated, that the issue
was essential to the Superior Court's order controverting
the Home Warrant, that the order was a valid and final
decision on the merits, and that a common identity exists.
Defendants challenge only whether they had a full and fair
opportunity to litigate the issue of probable cause in the
Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 28 sets out factors
that guide the determination whether there has been a full
and fair ...