Wheeler v. City of Santa Clara, No. 16-17375 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a complaint brought by Deborah Colbert's biological son after Colbert was killed by police officers during a response to a 911 call. The complaint alleged claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act. The district court dismissed the case, finding that plaintiff had no legally cognizable interest in his relationship with Colbert and that he was not a proper successor in interest to her under California law because he had been adopted by other parents as an infant.
The panel held that California's survival statute was consistent with 42 U.S.C. 1983, and thus applied to the instant action; plaintiff did not meet the requirements for standing under California law and thus could not assert section 1983 claims on behalf of Colbert; although federal common law applied to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act claims, plaintiff was still not an appropriate plaintiff for a survival action based on those laws; plaintiff could not bring a claim for loss of companionship with Colbert because they did not have the kind of parent-child relationship entitled to this type of constitutional protection; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying leave to amend.