Lamya Brewster, individually and as class representative, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Charlie Beck, Chief, individual and official capacity; City of Los Angeles, a municipal corporation; City of Los Angeles Police Department, a public entity, Defendants-Appellees.
and Submitted January 12, 2017 Pasadena, California
from the United States District Court for No.
5:14-cv-02257-JGB-SP the Central District of California Jesus
G. Bernal, District Judge, Presiding
W. Cook (argued), Los Angeles, California; Barrett S. Litt,
Kaye McLane Bednarski & Litt, Pasadena, California; Paul
Hoffman and Catherine Sweetser, Schonbrun De Simone Seplow
Harris & Hoffman LLP, Venice, California; for
Gabriel S. Dermer (argued) and Adena M. Hopenstand, Deputy
City Attorneys; Ronald S. Whitaker, Assistant City Attorney;
Michael N. Feuer, City Attorney; Office of the City Attorney,
Los Angeles, California; for Defendants-Appellees.
Before: Alex Kozinski, M. Margaret McKeown and Paul J.
Watford, Circuit Judges.
panel reversed the district court's dismissal of an
action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Los
Angeles police officers violated plaintiff's Fourth
Amendment rights when they impounded her vehicle for 30 days
pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 14602.6(a)(1),
which authorizes impounding a vehicle when the driver has a
loaned her vehicle to her brother-in-law, who was stopped by
police officers and discovered to be driving without a
license. When plaintiff, who had a valid driver's
license, attempted to recover her vehicle, the Los Angeles
Police Department refused to release the vehicle before the
30-day holding period had elapsed.
panel held that the 30-day impound of plaintiff's vehicle
constituted a seizure that required compliance with the
Fourth Amendment. The panel held that the exigency that
justified the initial seizure vanished once the vehicle
arrived in impound and plaintiff showed up with proof of
ownership and a valid driver's license. The panel
concluded that appellees provided no justification for the
continued impound of plaintiff's vehicle.
KOZINSKI, Circuit Judge.
consider whether a 30-day impound of a vehicle is a
"seizure" requiring compliance with the Fourth
Brewster loaned her vehicle to Yonnie Percy, her
brother-in-law. Percy was stopped by Los Angeles Police
Department (LAPD) officers who learned that Percy's
driver's license was suspended. The officers then seized
the vehicle under California Vehicle Code section
14602.6(a)(1), which authorizes impounding a vehicle when the
driver has a suspended license. Vehicles ...