Obtained Summary Judgment in Civil Rights Lawsuit
A summary judgment was obtained by David Norton on behalf of the County of Tehama in a civil rights case brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Tehama County Sheriff’s Department conducted an undercover investigation into allegations that the plaintiff, a convicted felon, brandished firearms at passing motorists who he believed were trespassing on his property. During the course of the officers’ interaction with plaintiff outside his property, the plaintiff ran toward a high-powered rifle. The officers were able to safely detain the plaintiff before he reached the rifle. Plaintiff filed a civil rights lawsuit claiming that the officers unlawfully searched his property, unlawfully detained him, used excessive force, and conspired to murder him. In granting summary judgment, the Tehama County Superior Court held that an emergency existed that permitted the officers to enter plaintiff’s property without a warrant and detain him, the officers had probable cause to believe plaintiff was in unlawful possession of a firearm, the officers did not use excessive force as a matter of law, and there was no evidence to support a claim that the officers conspired to murder the plaintiff.