Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Newman v. Sathyavaglswaran case brief

Newman v. Sathyavaglswaran case brief summary
287 F.3d 786 (2002)

Plaintiffs, parents, appealed from an order of the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissing for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granting their 42 U.S.C.S § 1983 claim challenging implementation of California's cornea removal statute, Cal. Gov't. Code § 27491.47(a), and the removal of their deceased childrens' corneas without prior notice to the parents.


The parents, whose deceased children's corneas were removed by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office without notice or consent, brought a 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 action alleging a taking of their property without due process of law. The complaint was dismissed by the district court for a failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. 

  • Upon review, the court of appeals concluded that the longstanding recognition in the law of California, paralleled by national common law, that next of kin have the exclusive right to possess the bodies of their deceased family members created a property interest, the deprivation of which must be accorded due process of law under U.S. Const. amend. XIV
  • Accordingly the court of appeals held that the parents were not required to exhaust postdeprivation procedures prior to bringing their suit and properly stated a claim under § 1983.
The district court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' U.S. Const. amend. XIV complaint was reversed and remanded.

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