United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF
HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a) for judgment as a
matter of law, filed at the close of Plaintiff's
case-in-chief. Dkt. # 72. Plaintiff has filed a Response.
Dkt. # 73. Having considered the briefs submitted by the
parties, relevant portions of the record, and the applicable
law, the Court DENIES Defendants'
31, 2017, the Court began a five-day trial on Plaintiff
Moises Ponce-Alvarez's Section 1983 claims against
Defendants Adam Buchan, Jonathan Hennessy, and James Price.
Plaintiff alleges the Defendants used excessive force while
arresting him in the early morning hours of May 21, 2014.
Dkt. # 1 at ¶¶ 5.1-5.6; 6.1-6.6. On the fourth day
of trial, August 3, 2017, Defendants moved for judgment as a
matter of law under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a).
[N]o reasonable jury would have a legally sufficient basis to
find for the Plaintiff on the issues of: (1) whether
Defendants Jonathan Hennessy or James Price caused any
actionable injury to the Plaintiff, and (2) whether the
Plaintiff may recover any damages for the alleged application
of the double restraint or ‘hobble' during his
arrest, or Defendant Adam Buchan's alleged pointing of
his firearm at the Plaintiff prior to his arrest.
Id. at 1-2.
party has been fully heard on an issue during a jury trial,
the court may grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law
against the nonmoving party only if “there is no
legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to
find for that party on that issue.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a);
Ritchie v. United States, 451 F.3d 1019, 1022-23
(9th Cir. 2006). A court reviewing a motion for a judgment as
a matter of law must construe all evidence in favor of the
nonmoving party, in this case the Plaintiff. Ostad v.
Oregon Health Scis. Univ., 327 F.3d 876, 881 (9th Cir.
Section 1983 Claims Against Defendants Hennessy and
Price and Hennessy move for a directed verdict, arguing that
there is no evidence they personally “hit, kicked,
struck, [or] kneed” Plaintiff during his arrest, and
thus they cannot be individually liable for any harm
Plaintiff suffered. Dkt. # 72 at 3.
“[l]iability under section 1983 arises only upon a
showing of personal participation by the defendant, ”
the Ninth Circuit's “integral participation theory
does not require that each officer's individual action
amount to a constitutional violation.” Hoskin v.
Larsen, C06-5559 RBL, 2007 WL 3228408, at *6 (W.D. Wash.
Oct. 31, 2007) (citing Boyd v. Benton County, 374
F.3d 773, 780 (9th Cir. 2004)). An officer can be liable for
excessive force when he is an integral part of another
officer's use of excessive force. Id. This
includes holding the plaintiff down or handcuffing the
plaintiff. Id. (the officer who assisted in the
handcuffing of the plaintiff was found to be an integral
participant and thus liable under § 1983); Martinez
v. Bryant, CV06-5344-GW (AGR), 2009 WL 1456399, at *2
(C.D. Cal. May 19, 2009) (defendant became an integral
participant by directing another officer to “handle
that man for me” and holding down the plaintiff's
legs during the alleged attack).
case, Defendants Hennessy and Price both testified that they
took part in restraining Plaintiff during the incident where
Plaintiff was allegedly beaten by Deputies Buchan and
Bertaina. Under the integral participation theory, the
Defendants have provided sufficient evidence for a rational
jury to find that Plaintiff's constitutional rights ...