CACI 3003 Local Government Liability—Failure to Train—Essential Factual Elements (42 U.S.C. § 1983)

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

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 officer 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

Crowdsource Lawyers

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 Official 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 339].)

“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)