Sinclair v. City of Seattle

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 03-01-2023
  • Case #: No. 21-35975
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nelson, C.J. for the Court; Tallman, C.J.; and Forrest, C.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

To support a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must show that the risk created by the government was affirmatively created with deliberate indifference to danger, and that the risk was sufficiently particularized to the plaintiff.

Sinclair sued the City of Seattle under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the suit was dismissed by the district court.

Sinclair appealed, arguing that the City violated her son’s rights by affirmatively creating danger with deliberate indifference, Martinez v. City of Clovis, 943 F.3d 1260, 1271 (9th Cir. 2019). Sinclair alleged that the City caused the danger by providing barriers, portable toilets, and lighting to occupiers.

The City argued that they did not escalate the situation. Johnson v. City of Seattle, 474 F.3d 634 (9th Cir. 2007). Alternatively, the City argued that even if the City did affirmatively create a danger, it was not particularized to Sinclair’s son. Kennedy v. City of Ridgefield, 439 F.3d 1055, 1063 (9th Cir. 2006). 

The Court found that the City affirmatively created a danger, however, the danger was not sufficiently particularized to support a claim.


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