Lyall v. City of Los Angeles

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 12-04-2015
  • Case #: 12-56122
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Bybee for the Court; Circuit Judge Bea and District Judge Foote
  • Full Text Opinion

Attendees who lack current possessory interest in a venue and do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy lack standing to challenge a warrantless search of the venue.

Javier Cortez, Joseph Holliday, Elizabeth Lopez, and Jessica Rodriguez, and four other individuals (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) attended a musical event in a Los Angeles warehouse which the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) entered without a warrant while searching for suspects who had stolen beer from a nearby store. The LAPD rounded up attendees, searched them for weapons, and forced them to participate in a show-up with a witness of the beer theft. Plaintiffs brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the First and Fourth Amendments. The district court granted summary judgments to the LAPD officers with respect to the warrantless entry and unreasonable seizure claim by Cortez. Using the reasonable expectation of privacy test, the panel found that the plaintiffs that were merely event attendees did not have standing because they had failed to show any further expectation of privacy than merely being on the premises. The panel next determined that a co-tenant using the warehouse to create film sets lacked possessory rights or a reasonable expectation of privacy to assert standing. Thus the panel found that Holliday was not in possession of the warehouse and was there solely as an attendee, therefore lacking a reasonable expectation of privacy. The panel next concluded that event organizers Cortez and Lopez did have standing to challenge the warrantless search because they were in control of the warehouse the night of the event and had a strong possessory interest that night. The panel refused to address the issue of exigent circumstances of the search, and remanded that issue to the trier of fact. AFFIRMED in Part, REVERSED in Part, and REMANDED.

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