Skip to Content

FREE CONSULTATION | Call 510.350.7517 CONSULTA GRATUITA | Llame 510.350.7517

Section 1983 loss of familial association

In addition to bringing their deceased loved one’s claims that “survived” death, as well as wrongful-death claims, parents and children of someone who has died as a result of an officer’s use of force, or of a condition of confinement, may bring their own substantive due-process claims.  These substantive due-process claims are based on the officer’s having deprived them of their liberty interest in the companionship and society of their loved one.  An officer violates a family member’s due-process rights when their conduct “shocks the conscience;” or, when the circumstances allowed for the officer to actually deliberate, then “an officer’s ‘deliberate indifference’ may suffice to shock the conscience.”  Wilkinson v. Torres, 610 F.3d 546, 554 (9th Cir. 2010).  On the other hand, if the officer “makes a snap judgment because of an escalating situation, his conduct may only be found to shock the conscience if he acts with a purpose to harm unrelated to legitimate law enforcement objectives.”  Wilkinson, 610 F.3d at 554.  Parents or children must show that the officer acted with “deliberate indifference,” or “with a purpose to harm” the decedent.  Unfortunately, siblings cannot yet bring such claims.