LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Timothy C. Nelson won his appeal in the UC Davis pepper spray case today. Timothy C. Nelson had sued not just the city of Davis but also UC Davis police. Nelson originally filed his case in the Eastern District of California and made eleven separate claims for relief. Nelson asserted in his complaint that “he lost his football scholarship after the injury, suffered temporary blindness and permanent disfigurement, and has undergone a number of corrective surgeries.”
But after discovery, the defendants moved to dismiss the case on summary judgment. The court granted the motion ruling that “[a]ny inference in that regard that may be drawn from the equivocal testimony of others, however, is nullified by Plaintiff’s own clear version of what transpired during the period immediately surrounding his injury.”
The appeals court ruled today that the district court erred. “All justifiable inferences must be drawn in Nelson’s favor, and we must deny summary judgment if any rational trier of fact could resolve an issue in his favor.”
The appeals court added “The students were disturbed by the presence of the police in full riot gear, and some of Nelson’s female companions began to cry. Although there were scattered bottles being thrown throughout the complex … officers testified that no one from Nelson’s group threw bottles at the police.” The court found that the police should not be afforded “legal immunity” in the case.