Kingsley v. Hendrickson

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: January 16, 2015
  • Case #: 14-6368
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Court Below: 744 F.3d 443 (7th Cir. 2014).
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether a pretrial detainee's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 excessive force claim requires a showing that the force used by the state actor was objectively unreasonable and that the use of force was deliberate.

During pretrial detention, Petitioner was forcibly removed from his cell by Respondent and other officers during which time Petitioner claims the force used by Respondent was excessive. At trial, defendant was granted summary judgment to all issues except the excess force allegation. Petitioner objected to the clarifying instruction that the court gave to the jury about the elements of excessive force. The jury found in favor of Respondent.

The court of appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision, stating that “the instructions were not an erroneous or confusing statement of the law of this circuit and that Mr. Kingsley affirmatively acquiesced to the instruction dealing with harm.” The Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve a split among the circuit courts as to “the question of whether an excessive force claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 brought by a pretrial detainee requires a showing of the state actor’s subjective intent in addition to the objective unreasonableness of the force.”

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