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Summary Judgment Granted in Law Enforcement Liability Case

July 29, 2016

Plaintiff alleged that that during a custodial detention arising out of a mental evaluation hold, he was assaulted and battered by law enforcement officers, and suffered post-traumatic stress, depression, and a broken arm, causing a permanent disability that rendered him unable to practice his medical profession.  Plaintiff further claimed that his civil rights were violated and his home was illegally searched during his alleged false arrest and detainment.  Our motion for summary judgment was granted as the Court found that the officers had probable cause to detain plaintiff because there were specific and articulable facts which, when taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warranted the officers’ belief or suspicion that the plaintiff was a danger to himself.  As such, the Court ruled that Welfare & Institutions Code § 5278 provided immunity for the decision to detain, as well as for the detention and its inherent attributes, including the need to engage in a “technical battery,” i.e., the acts of applying handcuffs and placing plaintiff into the patrol car.