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Hayes v. County of San Diego

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 2, 2013

Chelsey HAYES, a minor by and through her guardian ad litem, Plaintiff-Appellant,
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, DBA San Diego County Sheriff's Department; Sue Geer; Mike King, Defendants-Appellees.

Argued and Submitted June 9, 2010.

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Alvin M. Gomez, The Gomez Law Group, San Diego, CA, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Morris G. Hill, Senior Deputy, and John J. Sansone, County Counsel, County of San Diego, San Diego, CA, for Defendants-Appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, Dana M. Sabraw, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. 3:07-cv-01738-DMS-JMA.

Before: ALFRED T. GOODWIN and JOHNNIE B. RAWLINSON, Circuit Judges, and ALGENON L. MARBLEY, District Judge.[*]


GOODWIN, Circuit Judge:


The stay in this matter is DISSOLVED, and an opinion is filed concurrently with this order.[1]

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On the night of September 17, 2006, San Diego County Sheriff's Deputies Mike King and Sue Geer shot and killed Shane Hayes inside his home. After the incident, Hayes's minor daughter, Chelsey Hayes, sued the deputies and the County of San Diego and asserted multiple federal claims, as well as state claims for negligent wrongful death and negligent hiring, training, and supervision. The district court granted summary judgment to the deputies and the County regarding all claims. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.


Deputy King arrived at Hayes's residence at 9:12 p.m. in response to a domestic disturbance call from a neighbor who had heard screaming coming from the house. Geri Neill, Hayes's girlfriend and the owner of the house, spoke with Deputy King at the front door. During a three-minute conversation, Neill advised Deputy King that she and Hayes had been arguing about his attempt that night to commit suicide by inhaling exhaust fumes from his car. She told Deputy King that there had not been a physical altercation between them, and she was instead concerned about Hayes harming himself, indicating that he had attempted to do so on prior occasions. Deputy King did not ask Neill about the manner of Hayes's prior suicide attempts and was unaware that he had previously stabbed himself with a knife. Although Neill advised Deputy King that there were no guns in the house, she made no indication that Hayes might be armed with a knife.

At 9:16 p.m., Deputy Geer arrived at the scene, and Deputy King advised her that there was a subject inside the house who was potentially suicidal. Based on the concern that Hayes might harm himself, the deputies decided to enter the house to check on Hayes's welfare, a process Deputy King described as seeing whether Hayes could " physically or mentally care" for himself. While Neill later stated that Hayes had been drinking heavily that night, Deputy King had not asked Neill whether Hayes was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Although the deputies had been sent a notification that Hayes was intoxicated, neither deputy was aware of this information before entering the house. Additionally, the deputies had not checked whether there had been previous calls to the residence, and they were unaware that Hayes had been taken into protective custody four months earlier in connection with his suicide attempt involving a knife.

Upon entry, both deputies had their guns holstered. Deputy King was also carrying a Taser. While moving in the dimly lit house, Deputy King advanced ahead of Deputy Geer and was using his sixteen-inch flashlight, which he had been trained to use as an impact weapon.

Once in the living room, Deputy King saw Hayes in an adjacent kitchen area, approximately eight feet away from him. Because Hayes's right hand was behind his back when Deputy King first saw him, Deputy King testified that he ordered Hayes to " show me his hands." While taking one to two steps towards Deputy King, Hayes raised both his hands to approximately

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shoulder level, revealing a large knife pointed tip down in his right hand. Believing that Hayes represented a threat to his safety, Deputy King immediately drew his gun and fired two shots at Hayes, striking him while he stood roughly six to eight feet away. Deputy Geer simultaneously pulled her gun as well, firing two additional rounds at Hayes.

Deputy King testified that only four seconds elapsed between the time he ordered Hayes to show his hands and the time the first shot was fired. When asked why he believed Hayes was going to continue at him with the knife, Deputy King testified: " Because he wasn't stopping." Neither deputy had ordered Hayes to stop. While stating that such a command would have only taken " a split second," Deputy King testified that " I didn't believe I had any time."

Neill witnessed the shooting from behind Deputy Geer and testified that Hayes was walking towards the deputies with the knife raised at the time the shots were fired. She stated, however, that Hayes was not " charging" at the officers and had a " clueless" expression on his face at the time, which she described as " like nothing's working upstairs." Neill testified that just before the shooting, Hayes had said to the officers: " You want to take me to jail or you want to take me to prison, go ahead."


Hayes's minor daughter, Chelsey Hayes, filed suit against the deputies and the County of San Diego, alleging claims under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 for alleged violations of her deceased father's Fourth Amendment rights and her own Fourteenth Amendment rights. The complaint also included state law claims for negligent wrongful death and negligent hiring, training, and supervision by the County. While finding Chelsey Hayes had standing to assert survival claims, the district court nonetheless granted defendants summary judgment on all her causes of action.

Chelsey Hayes appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment, except for her claim of negligent hiring, training and supervision by the County. [2] In responding, Appellees contest the district court's finding that Chelsey Hayes has standing to assert survival claims based on violations of her father's constitutional rights.


We review issues of standing de novo. Porter v. Jones,319 F.3d 483, 489 (9th Cir.2003). We review the district court's interpretation of state law and its grant of summary judgment de novo. In re W. States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litig., 715 F.3d 716, 728, 745-46 (9th Cir.2013). " Summary judgment is inappropriate if reasonable jurors, drawing all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, could return a ...

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