Horvitz & Levy LLP successfully defended a judgment in favor of the City of Long Beach, its police chief, and a Long Beach police officer in an excessive force suit arising from an officer-involved shooting.
A man fell or jumped from a second story window while under the influence of an unknown intoxicant. A City of Long Beach police officer and several firefighters responded, but the man violently resisted the officer’s efforts to calm him. After several unsuccessful attempts to restrain the man, the officer shot him.
The man’s parents and estate sued Long Beach, its police chief, and the officer in federal court. The district court granted summary judgment for the City and the police chief, concluding that there was no evidence that the city’s alleged failure to train its officers caused the incident, and rejecting plaintiffs’ claim that the City ratified the officer’s decision to use excessive force. A jury then rejected plaintiffs’ excessive force claim, although during jury deliberations the parties and court discovered that the jury had mistakenly been exposed to excluded evidence.
Defendants retained Horvitz & Levy to preserve the judgment on appeal. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Horvitz & Levy’s arguments that (1) the district court’s evidentiary rulings were correct, (2) the district court applied the correct legal standard in denying plaintiffs’ motion for a new trial, (3) the district court correctly concluded that the excluded evidence mistakenly submitted to the jury did not taint the verdict because it conveyed no new information to the jury, and (4) the district court properly granted summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ municipal liability claims.