411 F.3d 920 (8th Cir. 2005), 03-3668, McCoy v. City of Monticello

Docket Nº:03-3668.
Citation:411 F.3d 920
Party Name:Ronnie McCOY; Lori McCoy, Appellants, v. CITY OF MONTICELLO; Harold West, Mayor; Monticello Police Department; Sam Norris; Ken Ouelette, Appellees.
Case Date:June 16, 2005
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 920

411 F.3d 920 (8th Cir. 2005)

Ronnie McCOY; Lori McCoy, Appellants,


CITY OF MONTICELLO; Harold West, Mayor; Monticello Police Department; Sam Norris; Ken Ouelette, Appellees.

No. 03-3668.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

June 16, 2005

Submitted: Jan. 13, 2005.

Page 921

Chuck S. Gibson, argued, Dermott, Arkansas, for appellant.

Erida Gee Ross, argued, North Little Rock, Arkansas (David Hoffman, on the brief), for appellee.

Before RILEY, JOHN R. GIBSON, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

RILEY, Circuit Judge.

On December 31, 2000, Ken Ouelette (Officer Ouelette), an auxiliary police officer with the Monticello Police Department, engaged in a police pursuit of a vehicle driven by Ronnie McCoy (McCoy). The pursuit ended when the police forced McCoy's vehicle off the ice-covered road into a ditch. With his firearm drawn, Officer Ouelette ran towards McCoy's vehicle, slipped, and fell on the ice. Upon falling, Officer Ouelette's gun accidentally discharged, and a bullet struck McCoy in the chest, seriously injuring him. McCoy and his wife, Lori McCoy, (McCoys) sued the City of Monticello, Mayor Harold West, the Monticello Police Department, Police Chief Sam Norris, (collectively, City), and Officer Ouelette under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of McCoy's Fourth Amendment rights. Earlier, Officer Ouelette appealed the district court's denial of qualified immunity. Concluding no unreasonable seizure had occurred, we reversed,

Page 922

holding Officer Ouelette was entitled to qualified immunity. McCoy v. City of Monticello, 342 F.3d 842, 848-49 (8th Cir.2003) ( McCoy I ). Thereafter, the district court 1 granted summary judgment on the municipal liability claims. The McCoys appeal, and we affirm.

The McCoys appeal the grant of summary judgment in favor of the City on their municipal claims of unconstitutional custom and failure to train and supervise, arguing Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 105 S.Ct. 1694, 85 L.Ed.2d 1 (1985), mandates reversal. We review de novo a grant of summary judgment, giving the McCoys the most favorable reading of the record as well as the benefit of any reasonable inferences drawn from the record. Wilson ex rel. Wilson v. Gunn, 403 F.3d 524, 526 (8th Cir.2005).

A Fourth Amendment seizure requires an intentional act by an officer, and does not address "accidental effects of otherwise lawful government conduct." Brower v. County of Inyo, 489 U.S. 593, 596-97, 109 S.Ct. 1378, 103 L.Ed.2d 628 (1989). We previously held Officer Ouelette's act of drawing his gun was "objectively reasonable," and the accidental discharge did not constitute an unreasonable seizure violating McCoy's constitutional rights. 2 McCoy I, 342 F.3d at 847-49. Therefore, the City cannot be held liable on either an unconstitutional policy or custom theory or on a failure to train or supervise theory. This circuit has consistently recognized a general rule that, in order for municipal liability to attach, individual liability first...

To continue reading