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Civil Rights Action Involving Excessive Force, and Bankruptcy Law Matter

By FindLaw Staff on May 04, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Old West Annuity & Life Ins. Co. v. Apollo Grp., No. 09-10994, concerned the government's appeal from the district court's allocation of surplus proceeds from the sale of real property in a foreclosure action.  The court of appeals affirmed, on the grounds that 1) the district court correctly concluded that Florida law supplied the pertinent alter ego test; 2) even if the government was correct that the district court should have transferred the surplus proceeds to the trustee to distribute according to the Bankruptcy Code or that the district court itself should have applied the Bankruptcy Code's priorities, a creditor would be entitled to the disputed proceeds actually awarded to it by the district court; and 3) even assuming that the trustee of the estate at issue had a hypothetical lien that took priority over the two secured creditors' liens, the secured creditors' liens could not be avoided by the trustee.

Penley v. Eslinger, No. 09-13092, involved a civil rights action alleging excessive force by police.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant-officers, on the ground that the decedent's act of bringing a firearm to school, threatening the lives of others, and refusing to comply with officers' commands to drop the weapon were undoubtedly serious crimes, and thus the officer who shot the decedent reasonably believed he was in danger.

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