LBAC WINS ANOTHER EXCESSIVE FORCE CASE IN THE TRIAL AND APPELLATE COURTS

In June 2010, Plaintiff’s family members called 911 for assistance with an altercation at a family gathering. Upon arrival by an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy, Plaintiff’s family members reported that Plaintiff had choked his teenage nephew to the point of unconsciousness. The Deputy went to Plaintiff’s home, interviewed him, and arrested him. After being placed in handcuffs, Plaintiff complained that the handcuffs were too tight. Within minutes, the Deputy loosened one of the handcuffs.

Plaintiff was prosecuted for child abuse, but was acquitted by a jury. He then sued his family in a separate lawsuit for false arrest, which he lost. While his lawsuit against his family members was still pending, Plaintiff filed his lawsuit against the County of Orange, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and the arresting Deputy. The trial court sustained demurrers without leave to amend as to the District Attorney’s Office and the County of Orange. As a result, Plaintiff’s only remaining claims were those against the Deputy for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and excessive force under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

LBAC moved for summary judgment and Plaintiff conceded as to the false arrest and malicious prosecution claims. With regard to the issue of tight handcuffs, LBAC argued that Plaintiff’s failure to submit any evidence of injury, other than his own subjective allegation of pain, was insufficient as a matter of law to survive summary judgment on the excessive force claim. The trial court granted the Motion for Summary Judgment on August 20, 2012. Plaintiff then appealed to the California Court of Appeals. After oral argument by Daniel Cha before Justices Moore, O’Leary, and Rylersdaam, the California Court of Appeals affirmed the granting of summary judgment on April 9, 2014.