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Hygh v. Jacobs

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
961 F.2d 359 (2d Cir. 1992)


Facts

William C. Hygh (plaintiff) visited a friend’s house and had a disagreement with his friend. His friend called the police, and Officer William Jacobs (defendant) arrived. Hygh and Jacobs exchanged words and shoves. Jacobs then informed Hygh that he was under arrest and struck Hygh on the cheek. Hygh claimed that Jacobs struck him while Hygh was bending down to pick up his jacket after Jacobs told him he was under arrest. Jacobs claimed that he struck Hygh in self-defense while they were standing up, after Hygh shoved him. The blow broke Hygh’s cheekbones, and plastic surgery was needed to repair the injury. Hygh sued Jacobs and others under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged constitutional violations related to his arrest and the blow by Jacobs. At trial, the plastic surgeon testified that the kind of injury Hygh suffered was from a very strong blow that would likely be caused by a blunt instrument. Jacobs testified that he had a flashlight in his hand during his interaction with Hygh because it took place at night. Hygh called Terry Cox, an expert witness concerning law enforcement. Cox testified that Jacobs had used “deadly physical force” that was not “warranted under the circumstances.” Cox defined “deadly physical force” as “using force in such a way that it has the potential to kill someone.” The jury found in favor of Hygh. Jacobs appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mahoney, J.)

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