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Duncan v. County of Sacramento

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


August 18, 2008

ROBERT DUNCAN; JANET DUNCAN; AND CHRISTOPHER G., A MINOR THROUGH HIS GAURDIAN ROBERT DUNCAN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO; AND STEVE LEE, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER IN RESPONSE TO DEFENDANTS' OBJECTION TO COMMUNICATIONS AND TRIAL DOCUMENTS

On August 15, 2008, Defendants filed objections to the Court's proposed trial documents. Defendants' position that their superceding cause defense is preserved for trial appears correct, but Defendants have failed to propose a clear trial instruction on the causation issue. Defendants' proposed jury instruction under CACI 432 is unclear. Nor does Defendants' mere reference to "substantial factor" in their objection and citation to the Ninth Circuit decision in Benefiel v. Exxon Corp. 959 F2d 805, 807 (9th Cir 1992), provide a clear explanation for a juror of the causation elements. Defendants objection has resulted in reconsideration of the Court's proposed jury instruction number 10; that instruction is withdrawn since a seizure would have occurred even if the dispatcher had understood that a 245 witness was in the vehicle, but the nature of the seizure probably would have been different.

Defendants also appear correct in their argument that some of the damages in the court's proposed verdict forms should be combined.

Defendants should consult with Plaintiffs about whether the parties could reach agreement on a causation instruction and on how the verdict forms should be modified. Any proposals shall be filed and emailed to the courtroom deputy.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20080818

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