Garcia v. City of Santa Clara et al

Filing 292

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL 289 . (Illston, Susan) (Filed on 8/16/2017)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 DANIEL C. GARCIA, 9 Plaintiff, 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 Case No. 10-cv-02424-SI ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL v. CITY OF SANTA CLARA, et al., Re: Dkt. No. 289 Defendants. 13 14 15 In this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action, plaintiff Daniel Garcia alleged that Santa Clara Police 16 officers violated his constitutional rights by, inter alia, unlawfully arresting him at the Santa Clara 17 Marriott Hotel, and by using excessive force in effecting that arrest. In September, 2015, the 18 Court granted partial summary judgment for the defense, including on plaintiff’s claims for 19 unlawful arrest and for excessive force in the Santa Clara Marriott hallway. Dkt. No. 116. After 20 receiving court-appointed counsel, plaintiff brought a motion for reconsideration of the Court’s 21 summary judgment ruling, Dkt. No. 157, which the Court denied, Dkt. No. 163. For purposes of 22 this order, the Court assumes that the parties are familiar with the facts of this case and therefore 23 foregoes a more detailed factual recitation. 24 After a four-day trial in this matter, the jury returned a verdict for the sole remaining 25 defendant, Officer Alec Lange, and against plaintiff. See Jury Verdict (Dkt. No. 272). The Court 26 entered judgment accordingly. Amended Judgment (Dkt. No. 287). Now before the Court is 27 plaintiff’s motion for a new trial. Dkt. No. 289. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), this matter is 28 suitable for resolution without oral argument. The Court hereby VACATES the hearing scheduled 1 for September 1, 2017 and, for the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES plaintiff’s motion. 2 3 LEGAL STANDARD 4 5 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a)(1) states, “[t]he court may, on motion, grant a new 6 trial on all or some of the issues—and to any party—as follows: (A) after a jury trial, for any 7 reason for which a new trial has heretofore been granted in an action at law in federal court . . . .” 8 Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(a)(1). As the Ninth Circuit has noted, “Rule 59 does not specify the grounds on 9 which a motion for a new trial may be granted . . . .” Zhang v. Am. Gem Seafoods, Inc., 339 F.3d 1020, 1035 (9th Cir. 2003). 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Instead, the court is “bound by those grounds that have been historically recognized.” Id. “Historically recognized grounds include, but are not limited to, 12 claims ‘that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence, that the damages are excessive, or 13 that, for other reasons, the trial was not fair to the party moving.’” Molski v. M.J. Cable, Inc., 481 14 F.3d 724, 729 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting Montgomery Ward & Co. v. Duncan, 311 U.S. 243, 251 15 (1940)). The Ninth Circuit has held that “[t]he trial court may grant a new trial only if the verdict 16 is contrary to the clear weight of the evidence, is based upon false or perjurious evidence, or to 17 prevent a miscarriage of justice.” Passantino v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Prods., Inc., 212 18 F.3d 493, 510 n.15 (9th Cir. 2000). 19 20 21 DISCUSSION 22 Plaintiff argues that the Court should grant a new trial in his case because, by granting 23 summary judgment on certain of plaintiff’s unlawful arrest and other excessive force claims, the 24 Court necessarily prejudiced the verdict on the remaining claims submitted to the jury. For the 25 reasons set forth in the Court’s prior rulings on these issues, see Dkt. Nos. 116, 163, the Court 26 finds that a new trial is unwarranted. Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED. 27 28 2 CONCLUSION 1 2 For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff’s motion for new trial is DENIED. 3 This order resolves Dkt. No. 289. 4 5 6 7 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: August 16, 2017 ______________________________________ SUSAN ILLSTON United States District Judge 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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