Hoard v. Hartman, No. 16-35738 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Excessive force under the Eighth Amendment does not require proof that an officer enjoyed or otherwise derived pleasure from his or her use of force. In this case, plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging claims against the Snake River Correctional Institute's officials and corrections officers for, among other things, excessive force and deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendant and remanded for a new trial. The panel held that the district court's instructions that plaintiff had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his alleged abuser had or derived pleasure from extreme cruelty while beating plaintiff was plainly erroneous. Furthermore, these erroneous instructions prejudiced plaintiff.
The panel also vacated the district court's sua sponte grant of summary judgment to defendants on plaintiff's deprivation-of-property claim after determining that plaintiff, who was proceeding pro se at the time, failed to receive sufficient notice that the claim was at issue on summary judgment.