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Court Addresses Excessive Force Challenge to Officer's Use of Taser

By FindLaw Staff | Last updated on

Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone of Nev. v. US Dept. of Interior, No. 07-16336, concerned an action claiming that the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) approval of a mining company's amendment to a plan of operations for an existing mineral exploration project in Nevada violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendants in part on the grounds that 1) the BLM did not violate NEPA by approving the amendment without knowing the precise locations of drill sites, access roads, and other project activities; and 2) given the uncertainty of the exploration activities, the BLM imposed mitigation measures designed to adequately protect cultural resources in all phases of the amendment.  However, the court reversed in part, holding that BLM's analysis of the cumulative impacts of the proposed amendment and the project was insufficient, and therefore violated NEPA.

Bryan v. MacPherson, No. 08-55622, concerned an action asserting excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment based on an officer's use of a taser on plaintiff.  The court of appeals affirmed in part the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity, holding that, viewing the circumstances in the light most favorable to plaintiff, defendant's use of the taser was unconstitutionally excessive.  However, the court reversed in part, on the ground that the violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights was not clearly established at the time.

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