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Excessive Force Case, and Criminal and Tort Matters

By FindLaw Staff | Last updated on

Brooks v. Gaenzle, No. 09-1489, concerned an action claiming that defendant-officers violated plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure by use of excessive force when they shot him after he fled the scene of a violent crime.  The court affirmed summary judgment for defendants on the grounds that 1) the authorities did not gain "intentional acquisition of physical control" over plaintiff; 2) the mere use of physical force or show of authority alone, without termination of movement or submission, did not constitute a seizure; and 3) the officer's gunshot may have intentionally struck plaintiff, but it clearly did not terminate his movement or otherwise cause the government to have physical control over him.

Frederick v. Swift Transp. Co., No. 09-3080, involved a personal injury action arising out of a truck accident.  The court affirmed judgment for plaintiff on the grounds that 1) although the driver ingested methamphetamine while driving, this did not remove her from the scope of her employment; 2) under the doctrine of respondeat superior, defendant was liable for all the negligent behavior of its employee, which included violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; and 3) even if New Mexico were to adopt defendant's proposed rule, the court's instruction would have been proper in light of the rule's exception for punitive damages.

In Stanko v. Davis, No. 09-1073, a felon in possession case, the court affirmed the dismissal of petitioner's habeas petition, holding that 1) a federal prisoner does not need prior circuit authorization to bring a second or successive 28 U.S.C. section 2241 petition; 2) the pre-AEDPA principles still applied to such petitions; and 3) the district court properly dismissed petitioner's petition, which was both successive and abusive.

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