Wright v. Beck, No. 19-55084 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against various parties under 42 U.S.C. 1983, asserting a violation of his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process after the police department destroyed some of his firearms by smelting them. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants sued in their individual capacities. The district court also concluded that plaintiff could not maintain his Monell failure-to-train claim against the municipal defendants and granted summary judgment in favor of them.
The Ninth Circuit held that a rational trier of fact could find that plaintiff's due process rights were violated when his firearms were seized and destroyed. In this case, given the fact that plaintiff continued to assert a claim of right to the firearms and reasonably believed that the LAPD was still reviewing the documentation he provided, he was entitled to know that the LAPD intended to seek an order permitting destruction of the remaining firearms at issue. A reasonable jury could find that plaintiff was entitled to notice, and Officer Edwards, who filed the application for an order to destroy the firearms and failed to provide plaintiff with notice, violated plaintiff's due process rights. Furthermore, the panel had no doubt that Officer Edwards had fair notice that his conduct violated plaintiff's due process right to notice, and thus Officer Edwards was not entitled to qualified immunity. Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment on this claim. The panel also reversed plaintiff's Monell failure-to-train claim against Defendants Beck, Feuer, and the City. The panel affirmed the judgment as to Defendants Aubry and Tompkins, remanding for further proceedings.