Maric v. Alvarado, 090618 FED9, 14-15863

Docket Nº:14-15863
Party Name:DENNIS MARIC, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. JON ALVARADO et al., Defendant-Appellee,
Judge Panel:Before: BEA and CHRISTEN, Circuit Judges, and McLAUGHLIN, District Judge.
Case Date:September 06, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

DENNIS MARIC, Plaintiffs-Appellants,


JON ALVARADO et al., Defendant-Appellee,

No. 14-15863

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 6, 2018


Argued and Submitted August 17, 2018 San Francisco, California.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Sheila K. Oberto, Magistrate Judge Presiding D.C. No. 1:12-cv-00102-SKO.

Before: BEA and CHRISTEN, Circuit Judges, and McLAUGHLIN, [**] District Judge.


Plaintiff Dennis Maric (Maric) filed a complaint in the Eastern District of California against Fresno County Deputy Sheriffs Jon Alvarado, Todd Burk, John Robinson, and Fernando Maldonado (together Defendants) for incidents which occurred during Defendants' response to a 9-1-1 call placed by Maric's wife Mary Maric (Mary). The Complaint alleged claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on violations of the Fourth Amendment, including unlawful entry, unlawful arrest, unlawful seizure of Maric's firearms, and excessive force. The Complaint also alleged corollary state-law claims, including unlawful entry in violation of the California constitution, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and assault and battery.

The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants on the Fourth Amendment claims for unlawful entry, unlawful arrest, and unlawful seizure of the firearms, and for the corollary state law claims for unlawful entry pursuant to the California Constitution, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution. However, the district court denied Defendants summary judgment as to the Fourth Amendment claim for excessive force. That claim proceeded to trial, together with the state-law claims for assault and battery. Following the trial, the jury found for Defendants.

Maric now appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment to Defendants on his Fourth Amendment claims for unlawful entry and unlawful arrest, and the state-law claims for unlawful entry and false imprisonment.[1]

The following facts appear to be undisputed in the summary judgment record: Defendants were notified by a police dispatcher that Maric was drunk and breaking property, and that Mary wished for Maric to be "sent on the way."2 When deputies Robinson, Alvarado, and Maldonado arrived at Maric's home, Maric answered the door. Behind Maric on a couch sat Mary and their two children. The children had frowns on their faces, but it was otherwise apparent to the officers that Mary and the children were unharmed. Robinson asked Maric to step outside the home, but Maric refused. Maldonado and Robinson then crossed the threshold into the home and forcibly removed him.3 Robinson held Maric outside, handcuffed him, and used a leg-sweep to force him to the ground. Once Maric was removed from the home, Mary reported to one of the Defendants, Officer Maldonado, that she wished to have a restraining order issued against Maric. Defendants secured the restraining order within approximately twenty minutes. Mary reported to Maldonado that Maric had two guns in the residence, which Mary requested Maldonado remove. Deputy Burk, who arrived not long after Maric was removed from the home, entered the home and located a loaded handgun in a dresser in the living room and removed it. Deputy Maldonado located and removed a shotgun under the mattress in the bedroom. Maric was arrested for resisting a peace officer, in violation of California Penal Code (CPC) § 148(A), and for child endangerment, CPC § 273a(b). Maric was booked and jailed in Fresno County jail. Maric was eventually charged with two counts of child endangerment pursuant to CPC § 273a(b). Those charges were later dismissed.

For the reasons that follow, we reverse and remand for proceedings consistent with this disposition.

1. Fourth Amendment and California Constitution claims

Defendants argue their warrantless entry was justified by the "exigent circumstances" exception to the warrant requirement. To prove exigent...

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