Head v. Wilkie, No. 17-55942 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging that his supervisors violated 42 U.S.C. 1985(2) by conspiring to deter him from testifying in a colleague's and his own civil rights cases. The district court relied on David v. United States, 820 F.2d 1038 (9th Cir. 1987), which held that only parties to the initial case who were hampered in being able to present an effective case can show injury sufficient to bring a section 1985(2) claim.
The panel held that David has been abrogated by subsequent controlling Supreme Court authority to the extent that it limits section 1985(2) claims on statutory standing and injury grounds in conflict with Haddle v. Garrison, 525 U.S. 121, 126 (1998); David's limitations are irreconcilable with Haddle's proclamation that intimidation or retaliation against witnesses in federal court proceedings constitute the gist of the wrong at which the statute is directed; and, like its sister circuits have recognized, the panel held that this expanded view of section 1985(2) aligns with the Supreme Court's broad reading of the Reconstruction civil rights acts like section 1985. In light of Haddle, the panel held that the district court's reasons for granting summary judgment in this case were no longer viable.