Peck v. Montoya

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: 10-18-2022
  • Case #: 20-56413
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: M. Schroeder, R. Tallman, and E. Miller, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Miller.
  • Full Text Opinion

“In evaluating a Fourth Amendment claim of excessive force, we ask whether the officers’ actions are objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them.” Rice v. Morehouse, 989 F.3d 1112.

Peck's husband "Mono" was fatally shot while unarmed. Peck sued five deputies under 42 U.S.C. §1983, asserting Mono's Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force and her right to a familial relationship. The deputies appealed the district court’s denial of their motion for summary judgment asserting qualified immunity. A jurisdictional question was answered before the Court provided an analysis of the qualified immunity question. The Court found that Peck’s husband never picked up the gun and was moving away from it when the deputies shot him a jury could find that the two deputies who shot Peck's husband had fired at an unarmed man. The Court held that the district court did not err in denying qualified immunity to the deputies who shot mono. The three other deputies could only be held liable for excessive force if they, “set in motion a series of acts by others which the defendant knows or reasonably should know would cause others to inflict the constitutional injury.” Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740. The Court reasoned that because the shooting was unplanned the three deputies were not "integral participants" and their armed backup did not set in motion the excessive force later used. Denial of qualified immunity affirmed in part and reversed in part, remanded.

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