CACI No. 3003. Local Government Liability - Failure to Train - Essential Factual Elements (42 U.S.C. § 1983)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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3003.Local Government Liability - Failure to Train - Essential
Factual Elements (42 U.S.C. § 1983)
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] was deprived of
[his/her/nonbinary pronoun] civil rights as a result of [name of local
governmental entity]’s failure to train its [officers/employees]. To establish
this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of local governmental entity]’s training program was
not adequate to train its [officers/employees];
2. That [name of local governmental entity] knew because of a pattern
of similar violations[, or it should have been obvious to it,] that
the inadequate training program was likely to result in a
deprivation of the right [specify right violated];
3. That [name of offıcer or employee] violated [name of plaintiff]’s
right [specify right]; and
4. That the failure to provide adequate training was the cause of the
deprivation of [name of plaintiff]’s right [specify right].
New September 2003; Revised December 2010, December 2011; Renumbered from
CACI No. 3009 December 2012
Directions for Use
Give this instruction if the plaintiff seeks to hold a local governmental entity liable
for a civil rights violation based on the entity’s failure to adequately train its officers
or employees. First give CACI No. 3000, Violation of Federal Civil Rights - In
General - Essential Factual Elements, and the instructions on the particular
constitutional violation alleged.
The inadequate training must amount to a deliberate indifference to constitutional
rights. (Clouthier v. County of Contra Costa (9th Cir. 2010) 591 F.3d 1232, 1249,
overruled en banc on other grounds in Castro v. County of L.A. (9th Cir. 2016) 833
F.3d 1060, 1070.) Element 2 expresses this deliberate-indifference standard.
Deliberate indifference requires proof of a pattern of violations in all but a few very
rare situations in which the unconstitutional consequences of failing to train are
patently obvious. (See Connick v. Thompson (2011) 563 U.S. 51, 63 [131 S.Ct.
1350, 179 L.Ed.2d 417].) Delete the bracketed language in element 2 unless the
facts present the possibility of liability based on patently obvious violations.
For other theories of liability against a local governmental entity, see CACI No.
3001, Local Government Liability - Policy or Custom - Essential Factual Elements,
and CACI No. 3004, Local Government Liability - Act or Ratification by Offıcial
With Final Policymaking Authority - Essential Factual Elements.
Sources and Authority
Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights. Title 42 United States Code section 1983.
“We hold today that the inadequacy of police training may serve as the basis for
§ 1983 liability only where the failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference
to the rights of persons with whom the police come into contact. This rule is
most consistent with our admonition in Monell and Polk County v. Dodson, that
a municipality can be liable under § 1983 only where its policies are the
‘moving force [behind] the constitutional violation.’ Only where a municipality’s
failure to train its employees in a relevant respect evidences a ‘deliberate
indifference’ to the rights of its inhabitants can such a shortcoming be properly
thought of as a city ‘policy or custom’ that is actionable under § 1983.” (City of
Canton v. Harris (1989) 489 U.S. 378, 388-389 [109 S.Ct. 1197, 103 L.Ed.2d
412], internal citations and footnote omitted.)
“In Canton, the Court left open the possibility that, ‘in a narrow range of
circumstances,’ a pattern of similar violations might not be necessary to show
deliberate indifference. The Court posed the hypothetical example of a city that
arms its police force with firearms and deploys the armed officers into the public
to capture fleeing felons without training the officers in the constitutional
limitation on the use of deadly force. Given the known frequency with which
police attempt to arrest fleeing felons and the ‘predictability that an officer
lacking specific tools to handle that situation will violate citizens’ rights,’ the
Court theorized that a city’s decision not to train the officers about constitutional
limits on the use of deadly force could reflect the city’s deliberate indifference to
the ‘highly predictable consequence,’ namely, violations of constitutional rights.
The Court sought not to foreclose the possibility, however rare, that the
unconstitutional consequences of failing to train could be so patently obvious
that a city could be liable under § 1983 without proof of a pre-existing pattern of
violations.” (Connick, supra, 131 S.Ct. at p. 1361], internal citations omitted.)
“To impose liability on a local government for failure to adequately train its
employees, the government’s omission must amount to ‘deliberate indifference’
to a constitutional right. This standard is met when ‘the need for more or
different training is so obvious, and the inadequacy so likely to result in the
violation of constitutional rights, that the policymakers of the city can reasonably
be said to have been deliberately indifferent to the need.’ For example, if police
activities in arresting fleeing felons ‘so often violate constitutional rights that the
need for further training must have been plainly obvious to the city
policymakers,’ then the city’s failure to train may constitute ‘deliberate
indifference.’ (Clouthier, supra, 591 F.3d at p. 1249, internal citations omitted.)
“It would be hard to describe the Canton understanding of deliberate
indifference, permitting liability to be premised on obviousness or constructive
notice, as anything but objective.” (Farmer v. Brennan (1994) 511 U.S. 825, 841
[114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d 811].)
“The ninth cause of action was for ‘Failure to Train.’ The elements of such
cause of action are well established, and include that the City ‘knew because of
a pattern of similar violations that the inadequate training was likely to result in
a deprivation’ of some right of plaintiffs. Put otherwise, the inadequate training
must amount to a deliberate indifference to constitutional rights. Such deliberate
indifference requires proof of a pattern of violations (except in those few very
rare situations in which the unconstitutional consequences of failing to train are
patently obvious).” (Squires v. City of Eureka (2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 577, 597
[180 Cal.Rptr.3d 10], footnote and internal citations omitted.)
‘The issue in a case like this one . . . is whether that training program is
adequate; and if it is not, the question becomes whether such inadequate training
can justifiably be said to represent “city policy.” Furthermore, the inadequacy in
the city’s training program must be closely related to the ‘ultimate injury,’ such
that the injury would have been avoided had the employee been trained under a
program that was not deficient in the identified respect.” (Irwin v. City of Hemet
(1994) 22 Cal.App.4th 507, 526 [27 Cal.Rptr.2d 433], internal citations omitted.)
“Where the proper response . . . is obvious to all without training or
supervision, then the failure to train or supervise is generally not ‘so likely’ to
produce a wrong decision as to support an inference of deliberate indifference by
city policymakers to the need to train or supervise.” (Flores v. County of L.A.
(9th Cir. 2014) 758 F.3d 1154, 1160 [no need to train officers not to sexually
assault persons with whom they come in contact].)
“At most, Monell liability adds an additional defendant, a municipality, to the
universe of actors who will be jointly and severally liable for the award.”
(Choate v. County of Orange (2000) 86 Cal.App.4th 312, 328 [103 Cal.Rptr.2d
“Any damages resulting from a possible Monell claim would result from the
same constitutional violation of the warrantless arrest which resulted in nominal
damages. Even if [plaintiff] were to prove the City failed to adequately train the
police officers, the result would simply be another theory of action concerning
the conduct the jury has already determined was not the proximate cause of
[plaintiff]’s injuries. [Plaintiff]’s recovery, if any, based upon a Monell claim
would be limited to nominal damages.” (George v. Long Beach (9th Cir. 1992)
973 F.2d 706, 709.)
Secondary Sources
8 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Constitutional Law, § 897
17A Moore’s Federal Practice (3d ed.), Ch.123, Access to Courts: Eleventh
Amendment and State Sovereign Immunity, § 123.23 (Matthew Bender)
1 Civil Rights Actions, Ch. 2, Governmental Liability and Immunity, 2.03[3]
(Matthew Bender)
11 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 113, Civil Rights: The Post-Civil
War Civil Rights Statutes, § 113.14 (Matthew Bender)

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