Case Law Part 1

Therefore, a plaintiff must go beyond the respondeat superior theory of liability and demonstrate that the alleged constitutional deprivation was the product of a policy or custom of the local governmental unit, because municipal liability must rest on the actions of the municipality, and not the actions of the employees of the municipality. See Brown, 520 U.S. at 403; City of Canton, 489 U.S. at 385; Monell, 436 U.S. at 690–91; Fogel, 531 F.3d at 834; Webb, 330 F.3d at 1164;Hopper, 241 F.3d at 1082; Blair v. City of Pomona, 223 F.3d 1074, 1079 9th Cir. 2000; Oviatt v. Pearce, 954 F.2d 1470, 1473–74 9th Cir. 1992.   Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 60 2011 explaining that to impose liability on a local government under § 1983 the plaintiffs must prove that an action pursuant to official municipal policy caused their injury;

To identify officials with final policy-making authority, the court should look to state law. See Praprotnik, 485 U.S. at 124; Pembaur, 475 U.S. at 483; Lytle, 382 F.3d at 982; Streit v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 236 F.3d 552, 560 9th Cir. 2001; Christie v. Iopa, 176 F.3d 1231, 1235 9th Cir. 1999.

To prevail on a claim against a municipal entity for a constitutional violation, a plaintiff must go beyond the respondeat superior theory of liability and demonstrate that the alleged constitutional deprivation was the product of a policy or custom of the local governmental unit. Kirkpatrick v. Cty. of Washoe, 843 F.3d 784, 793 9th Cir. 2016

The question of whether an official has final decision-making authority is not a question for the jury. See Jett v. Dallas Indep. Sch. Dist., 491 U.S. 701, 737 1989, superseded by statute on other grounds as stated in Fed’n of African Am. Contractors v. City of Oakland, 96 F.3d 1204, 1205 9th Cir. 1996; Praprotnik, 485 U.S. at 126; Lytle, 382 F.3d at 982; Hammer v. Gross, 932 F.2d

The court first applied California’s one-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims and found all claims accruing prior to December 29, 1999, to be time-barred. Though the court denied Eleventh Amendment immunity to Blanas and determined that the County could be subject to liability for Blanas’s actions under Monell v. Department of Social Services,436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 1978 Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 925 9th Cir. 2004

A choice among alternatives by a municipal official with final decision-making authority may also serve as the basis of municipal liability. See Pembaur v. City of Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 482–83 1986; Brown v. Lynch, 831 F.3d 1146, 1152 9th Cir. 2016; Waggy, 594 F.3d at 713

Moreover, a policy of inaction may be a municipal policy within the meaning of Monell. See Brown v. Lynch, 831 F.3d 1146, 1152 9th Cir. 2016; Waggy v. Spokane Cty. Wash., 594 F.3d 707, 713 9th Cir. 2010; Long v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 9th Cir. 2006; Fairley v. Luman, 281 F.3d 913, 918 9th Cir. 2002 per curiam; Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 681 9th Cir. 2001; Oviatt v. Pearce, 954 F.2d 1470, 1474 9th Cir. 1992.

A policy promulgated, adopted, or ratified by a local governmental entity’s legislative body unquestionably satisfies Monell’s policy requirement. Thompson v. City of Los Angeles, 885 F.2d 1439, 1443 9th Cir. 1989

States are not persons for purposes of § 1983. Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona,520 U.S. 43, 69 1997; Will v. Mich. Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 1989; Stilwell v. City of Williams, 831 F.3d 1234, 1245 9th Cir. 2016

1983 did not abrogate states’ Eleventh Amendment immunity and therefore does not allow suits against states themselves; Jackson v. Barnes, 749 F.3d 755, 764 9th Cir. 2014; Doe v. Lawrence Livermore Nat’l Lab., 131 F.3d 836, 839 9th Cir. 1997; Hale v. Arizona, 993 F.2d 1387, 1398 9th Cir. 1993en banc; Gilbreath v. Cutter Biological, Inc., 931 F.2d 1320, 1327 9th Cir. 1991.

Section 1983 claims against states, therefore, are legally frivolous. See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 641 9th Cir. 1989, superseded by statute on other grounds as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 9th Cir. 2000en banc.

Traditionally, the requirements for relief under § 1983 have been articulated as: 1 a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, 2 proximately caused 3 by conduct of a ‘person’ 4 acting under color of state law. Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 9th Cir. 1991. 

Or, more simply, courts have required plaintiffs to plead that 1 the defendants acting under color of state law 2 deprived plaintiffs of rights secured by the Constitution or federal statutes. Gibson v. United States, 781 F.2d 1334, 1338 9th Cir. 1986;  Pistor v. Garcia, 791 F. 3d 1104, 1114 9th Cir. 2015; Long v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 9th Cir. 2006; WMX Techs., Inc. v. Miller,197 F.3d 367, 372 9th Cir. 1999en banc; Ortez v. Wash. Cty., Or.,88 F.3d 804, 810 9th Cir. 1996.

Municipalities and other local government units … are among those persons to whom § 1983 applies. Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 1978; Bd. of Cty. Comm’rs v. Brown,520 U.S. 397, 403 1997;Edgerly v. City & Cty. of San Francisco, 599 F.3d 946, 960 9th Cir. 2010; Waggy v. Spokane Cty. Wash., 594 F.3d 707, 713 9th Cir. 2010; Fogel v. Collins, 531 F.3d 824, 834 9th Cir. 2008; Long v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 9th Cir. 2006; Cortez v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 294 F.3d 1186, 1188 9th Cir. 2002; Fairley v. Luman,281 F.3d 913, 916 9th Cir. 2002per curiam; Van Ort v. Estate of Stanewich, 92 F.3d 831, 835 9th Cir. 1996.

When ruling on a motion to dismiss, we accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068, 1072 9th Cir. 2005.

We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We review de novo a district court’s dismissal of a complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12b6 for failure to state a claim. Applied Underwriters, Inc. v. Lichtenegger, 913 F.3d 884, 890 9th Cir. 2019 quoting Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205 9th Cir. 2011.

Counties are also persons for purposes of § 1983. See Jackson v. Barnes, 749 F.3d 755, 764 9th Cir. 2014  When a California sheriff’s department performs the function of conducting criminal investigations, it is a county actor subject to suit under § 1983; Miranda v. Clark Cty., Nev., 319 F.3d 465, 469 9th Cir. 2003en banc;  Castro v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 833 F.3d 1060, 1066 n.2 9th Cir. 2016 en banc rejecting the County’s claim that the Eleventh Amendment barred the suit, cert. denied sub nom. Los Angeles Cty., Cal. v. Castro, 137 S. Ct. 831, 2017. 

A county is subject to Section 1983 liability ‘if its policies, whether set by the government’s lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts … may fairly be said to represent official policy, caused the particular constitutional violation at issue.’ King Cty. of Los Angeles, 885 F.3d 548, 558 9th Cir. 2018 quoting Streit v. County of Los Angeles, 236 F.3d 552, 559 9th Cir. 2001; Rivera v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 745 F.3d 384, 389 9th Cir. 2014

Thus, although child welfare caseworkers may investigate allegations of child abuse without violating parents’ constitutional right to familial relations, they may not do so arbitrarily. Doe v. Heck, 327 F.3d 492, 520 7th Cir. 2003

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