Marquez, et al v. City of Phoenix, et al, No. 10-17156 (9th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs brought suit against the manufacturer of an electronic control device - commonly known as a "taser" - and sued police officers for excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state-law wrongful death. At issue was whether a police officer had used constitutionally excessive force by repeatedly deploying a taser against a combative suspect and whether the manufacturer of that device had provided sufficient warning that its repeated use could lead to death. The deceased suspect had gouged out the eye of a family member, attempting to exorcize her demons, when police officers arrived at the scene. The court held that the taser provided sufficient warning as a matter of law. The court also held that, although the officers used significant force in this case, it was justified by the considerable government interests at stake. Because the court concluded that the officers acted reasonably in using force, plaintiffs' state law claims against the officers for wrongful death could not succeed unless the use of the taser constituted deadly force and the use of the deadly force was not justified. The court concluded that it was not convinced that the use of the taser involved deadly force, but even if the taser qualified as deadly force, no reasonable jury could find that the circumstances here failed to justify the use of deadly force.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on October 4, 2012.