Hayes v. County of San Diego

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: 12-02-2013
  • Case #: 09-55644
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Goodwin for the Court; Circuit Judge Rawlinson and District Judge Marbley
  • Full Text Opinion

A plaintiff asserting a survival claim for negligent wrongful death must establish that they are the decedent’s personal representative or successor in interest, and summary judgment is improper when a reasonable juror could conclude that deadly force was not objectively reasonable.

San Diego deputies responded to a domestic disturbance at the home of Shane Hayes. Hayes’ girlfriend informed the deputies that Hayes was suicidal and allowed them to enter the home to assess Hayes’ physical and mental condition. Hayes was standing in the kitchen with a knife concealed behind his back. Deputy King asked Hayes to show his hands and he raised them showing the knife. Deputy King reported that Hayes, standing eight feet away, took a step toward the deputies and without a warning for Hayes to stop King and Deputy Geer both pulled their guns and shot Hayes a total of four times, killing Hayes. Chelsey Hayes asserted a survival claim against deputies of the San Diego Police and the County of San Diego as the decedent’s “sole surviving heir.” She sued the deputies and County on Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims and for state claims of negligent wrongful death and negligent hiring, training, and supervision. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants on all of the claims. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s finding that the plaintiff had standing to assert the Fourth Amendment claim on the decedent’s behalf, because the record did not show that Appellant established that she was her father’s personal representative or successor in interest. The panel affirmed the summary judgment on the Fourteenth Amendment claim because the evidence showed that the deputies fired their weapons in self-defense. Finally, the panel reversed and remanded the summary judgment on the negligent wrongful death claim, because a reasonable juror could conclude that the deputies’ use of deadly force was not objectively reasonable. AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED in part, and REMANDED.

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