Nov 14, 2012 Timothy T. Coates
Ninth Circuit affirms judgment dismissing federal civil rights action against GMSR clients

Nicolas, Epifania v. City of Riverside, et al. (2012) 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 23541 (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) [unpublished]. Plaintiff’s first ex-husband was murdered in the City of Riverside. Plaintiff and two others were charged with the murder. Plaintiff was acquitted. She sued GMSR’s clients, the City of Riverside and two Riverside Police Department detectives, under 28 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights in that there had been no probable cause for her arrest. GMSR obtained summary judgment in the district court, arguing that (1) plaintiff was collaterally estopped from asserting lack of probable cause because she had already litigated, and lost, that issue at her criminal trial, and (2) as a matter of law, the police had probable cause to arrest her. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that even if plaintiff’s claims were not barred by collateral estoppel, the uncontroverted facts established that there was probable cause to arrest her.