I will try to cherry pick some info and post as the opinion is 27 pages long. That said it is the documented harassment of these guys for nearly 14 years ( started in 2000 ) by WDF&W enforcement and the fact the agency dismissed them as wackos and let it go on. I mean the officer actually veered across lanes attempting to run the kid off the road in the agency vehicle ON duty. Then intimidating the kids by following the kids to school. Whatever started the thing it is clear as hell they targeted and threatened these kids with violence.

As I read it the court said WDFW are not be responsible for their employees violating law and made the officers financially responsible for any damages and settlement cost. $$$$$$ If that was me my laundry would be seriously stained when I read the courts opinion.


The facts underlying this case stretch back to the year 2000 and culminate in an automobile stop on March 23, 2007. Appellants Matthew and Alex Tarabochia, 1 along with their brother, Bryan, are the sons of Joseph Tarabochia,2 a longtime commercial fisher. The Tarabochias allege that beginning sometime in 2000, Captain Michael Cenci and other Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ("WDFW") officers began a "personal vendetta" against them. The WDFW officers insist they were engaged in proper law enforcement activities against fishing scofflaws. The district court was able to resolve these facts in the officers' favor. We are not.

1 Due to their failure to list all four original plaintiffs on the Notice of Appeal, Matthew and Alex are the only Appellants in this case. See Torres v. Oakland Scavenger Co., 487 U.S. 312, 317-18 (1988) (use of "et al." does not confer jurisdiction over appeal of plaintiff not listed in notice of appeal).

2 We refer to the Tarabochias by their first names throughout this opinion for clarity.

Taking the facts, as we must, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Grave/et-Blondin v. Shelton, 728 F.3d 1086, 1090 (9th Cir. 2013), from 2000 until the date of the stop at issue, Captain Cenci and other WDFW officers have, among other things: followed the Tarabochias in their automobile on multiple occasions; detained Joseph and Matthew, including Joseph on one occasion for an hour and a half only to let him leave without citation; confronted the Tarabochias aboard their fishing vessel with a knife in hand and accompanied by at least six other WDFW officers; intentionally swerved into their automobile while both cars were driving on a public road; followed Alex and Bryan to school on an almost daily basis; verbally threatened to "get" Joseph and Alex on unspecified charges; and charged the Tarabochias with at least twenty-seven "criminal counts, in at least [eleven] court cases, in four [different]jurisdictions," many of which charges were dismissed prior to trial, none resulting in conviction. After a March 2006 incident, which resulted in charges that were later dropped, WDFW officers started spreading unfounded rumors that Joseph posed a risk to officer safety.

Given this history, the Tarabochias became fearful of WDFW officers, and in 2006 Joseph requested a meeting with the local prosecutor and the director of the WDFW to address the family's concerns. According to the prosecutor, when Captain Cenci and another WDFW officer arrived at the meeting, Cenci immediately tried to frisk Joseph despite what the prosecutor considered a lack of any evidence that he posed a threat. Finding Cenci 's behavior "outrageous," the prosecutor prevented Cenci from carrying out the frisk, and the officers left the meeting.

On the morning of March 23, 2007, the Tarabochias were driving in their pickup truck, which was loaded with a tote containing recently caught salmon, along a state highway and a public road when WDFW Sergeant Dan Chadwick and Captain Cenci stopped them.3 Approximately a half an hour beforehand, Captain Cenci had observed the Tarabochias from afar while he conducted a field inspection in an area of the lower Columbia River where commercial fishers regularly tie up their boats and unload recently caught fish. A portion of this area is near the Tarabochias' home.

Sometime that morning, a newspaper reporter accompanying Captain Cenci as a ride along passenger notified Cenci that he had observed the Tarabochias load salmon into the tote on the back of their pickup truck. Cenci called Sergeant Chadwick, who was also in the general area and relayed this information. Although the officers suspected the Tarabochias had salmon on their truck, it is undisputed that they had no reason to believe these salmon had been taken in violation of applicable fish and game laws.

The officers decided not to inspect the fish at the dock, but instead decided to pull the Tarabochias' truck over once on the highway' to check for compliance with fish and game laws. All four Tarabochias left the area of the field inspection in their pickup truck loaded with the tote of salmon. Sergeant

3 The facts indicate that the WDFW officers began to follow the Tarabochias on the highway and then followed them onto a public road. Because we find this distinction irrelevant to our constitutional inquiry, we refer to the place of the stop and search as a "highway."

4 The officers assert they did so because of safety concerns based on an earlier encounter Captain Cenci had with Joseph two days beforehand.


Chadwick, who had been parked along a state highway, saw the truck pass by him. At that time, he began to follow the Tarabochias and, after the Tarabochias had exited off the highway onto a public road, he activated his emergency lights to effectuate the stop. The Tarabochias initially failed to stop, but Captain Cenci, who had been following behind Sergeant Chadwick, pulled his automobile in front of the Tarabochias, and caused them to stop. Officers Brett Hopkins and Brad Rhoden soon arrived on the scene to lend assistance.5

The Tarabochias refused to exit the automobile or open the doors until sheriff's deputies arrived because of their past experience with the WDFW officers. Once someone the Tarabochias recognized as a member of the Wahkiakum County Sheriff's Office arrived (about twelve minutes later), the Tarabochias opened the car doors, and the WDFW officers arrested Matthew and Joseph. The officers proceeded to inspect the salmon in the tote, which inspection failed to reveal any fish and game violations.

Joseph and Matthew were booked, cited for, among other things, "avoiding a wildlife field inspection," and released. A Washington state district court for the County of Wahkiakum later dismissed all charges, finding the stop, search, and arrests unlawful since the officers had acted contrary to state law and to the Washington state constitution

5 Because the complaint does not allege and the record does not indicate that Officers Hopkins or Rhoden took part in the decision to stop and search the Tarabochias' automobile or that they participated in the alleged "vendetta," even construing the facts in the light most favorable to the Tarabochias, there is insufficient basis to hold either of them liable under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The district court is therefore instructed to dismiss the complaint against them with prejudice in stopping and searching the Tarabochias' automobile. On appeal, the superior court upheld this decision, although without reaching the constitutional issue, and reaffirmed that at the time Captain Cenci ordered the stop of the Tarabochias' automobile, he did not have "any reason to believe" the Tarabochias' truck contained "evidence of a violation of law or rules[.]"

The Tarabochias filed their pro se federal district court complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 in March 2010, alleging that WDFW officers Dan Chadwick, Brett Hopkins, Brad Rhoden, and Mike Cenci violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by stopping and searching their automobile on March 23, 2007, and harassing them throughout the years.6 The district court initially granted summary judgment to the officers on the Tarabochias' Fourth Amendment claim, but denied them summary judgment on the Tarabochias' Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process claim. Relying on a California state court decision, the district court held that qualified immunity precluded the Tarabochias' Fourth Amendment search and seizure claim since "the law regarding warrantless stops by WDFW officers was not clearly established" at the time of the stop.

In September 2011, the court granted the Defendants' second motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case, holding that the 1983 statute of limitations barred the Tarabochias' Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process claim. This appeal followed.

Edited by Rivrguy (09/11/14 03:30 PM)
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in