Cortesluna v. Leon, No. 19-15105 (9th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
A 12-year-old girl called 911 to report that her mother's boyfriend, Cortesluna, was threatening her and her family with a chainsaw and that they were hiding from him in a bedroom that he was trying to enter. Cortesluna subsequently brought 42 U.S.C. 1983 excessive force claims concerning his arrest.
In 2020, the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of officer Leon. Even taking Cortesluna's version of the facts as true, a reasonable jury would find that Leon's acts were objectively reasonable in the circumstances. Leon faced an immediate threat; Cortesluna had a knife in his pocket and had lowered his hands towards the knife when the first shot came from the beanbag shotgun; his hands remained near the knife in his pocket at the time of the second beanbag shot. The court found that there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether the force that officer Rivas-Villegas used when he kneeled on Cortesluna's back was excessive. Officer Kensic lacked any realistic opportunity to intercede or to stop the excessive force.
On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the federal claims against Rivas-Villegas and remanded for consideration of the other elements of a Monell claim. With respect to state-law claims relating to Rivas-Villegas’s conduct, and other remaining claims, including against other defendants, the 2020 opinion remains intact.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on October 27, 2020.