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Yousefian v. City of Glendale

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 5, 2015

ROBERT YOUSEFIAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CITY OF GLENDALE; MICHAEL LIZARRAGA; PETROS KMBIKYAN, Defendants-Appellees

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California: February 5, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. No. CV 11-03579. Dolly M. Gee, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[**]

Civil Rights

The panel affirmed the district court's summary judgment in an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution.

Plaintiff was arrested by City of Glendale police officers for an alleged assault on his father-in-law. After plaintiff's arrest, plaintiff's wife met with one of the police officers and gave him drugs which she purported to have found in plaintiff's car. Soon thereafter, the police officer and plaintiff's wife began a sexual relationship. Plaintiff was charged with assault, elder abuse and two counts of drug possession. The drug charges were eventually dismissed for lack of probable cause, a jury acquitted plaintiff of the assault and elder abuse charges and, after conducting an internal investigation, the City terminated the police officer for conduct inconsistent with the proper administration of the department and unbecoming an officer.

The panel held that notwithstanding plaintiff's self defense claim, there was indisputably probable cause to arrest and prosecute plaintiff for assault and elder abuse. The panel further determined that because the police officer's romantic relationship with plaintiff's wife began after all of the evidence relating to the altercation had been collected and documented in official reports, the police officer's later misconduct did not undermine the existence of probable cause. The panel also affirmed the summary judgment as to the individual defendants on the malicious prosecution claim arising from the charge of drug possession on the grounds that plaintiff failed to demonstrate a Fourth Amendment seizure. Finally, the panel held that because plaintiff's § 1983 claims against the individual police officers failed, his municipal liability claim also necessarily failed. The panel urged municipalities and other employers of law enforcement officers to ensure that conduct like the police officer's in this case is neither permitted in the course of officers' official duties nor condoned thereafter.

Mark J. Geragos (argued), Shelley Kaufman, and Tina Glandian, Geragos & Geragos, Los Angeles, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Ann Marie Maurer (argued), Senior Assistant City Attorney, and Michael J. Garcia, City Attorney, Glendale City Attorney's Office, Glendale, California, for Defendants-Appellees City of Glendale and Petros Kmbikyan.

David D. Lawrence I (argued) and Christina M. Sprenger, Lawrence Beach Allen & Choi, Glendale, California; Daniel S. Cha, Lawrence Beach Allen & Choi, Santa Ana, California, for Defendant-Appellee Michael Lizarraga.

Before: Stephen Reinhardt and Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judges, and Robert W. Gettleman, Senior District Judge.[*] Opinion by Judge Reinhardt.

OPINION

Page 1011

REINHARDT, Circuit Judge:

In this § 1983 false arrest and malicious prosecution case, the district court granted summary judgment to both defendant officers and to the City of Glendale (sued under Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. ...


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