428 F.3d 795 (8th Cir. 2005), 05-1660, Janis v. Biesheuvel

Docket Nº:05-1660.
Citation:428 F.3d 795
Party Name:Virginia JANIS, as Personal Representative for the Estate of Oliver Richards, Plaintiff--Appellant, v. Jim BIESHEUVEL, individually and in his official capacity as Deputy Sheriff of the Custer County Sheriff's Office, Custer County, State of South Dakota; State of South Dakota; South Dakota Highway Patrol, a political subdivision of the State of So
Case Date:October 25, 2005
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 795

428 F.3d 795 (8th Cir. 2005)

Virginia JANIS, as Personal Representative for the Estate of Oliver Richards, Plaintiff--Appellant,

v.

Jim BIESHEUVEL, individually and in his official capacity as Deputy Sheriff of the Custer County Sheriff's Office, Custer County, State of South Dakota; State of South Dakota; South Dakota Highway Patrol, a political subdivision of the State of South Dakota, as employer of Trooper Garstenshlager; Trooper Ted Garstenshlager, individually and in his official capacity of the South Dakota Highway Patrol; Custer County, South Dakota, as employer of Deputy Biesheuvel and as a political subdivision of the State of South Dakota; Custer County Sheriff's Department, as employer of Jim Biesheuvel, and as a political subdivision of Custer County; John Doe One through Three, jointly, severally, and individually, Defendants--Appellees.

No. 05-1660.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

October 25, 2005

Submitted: September 12, 2005.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.

Page 796

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 797

Robin L. Zephier, argued, Rapid City, South Dakota, for appellant.

Neil K. Fulton, argued, Pierre, South Dakota, for appellees John Doe, Trooper Ted Garstenshlager, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the State of South Dakota.

Donald P. Knudsen, argued, Rapid, City, South Dakota (James S. Nelson on the brief), for appellees Custer County, South Dakota, Custer County Sheriff's Department and Jim Biesheuvel.

Before MELLOY, BEAM, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

MELLOY, Circuit Judge.

Oliver Richards brought this action alleging that law enforcement used excessive force in their arrest of Richards near Custer, South Dakota. The district court1 granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. It held that Richards had not produced sufficient evidence to demonstrate that his Fourth Amendment rights had been violated, and that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity. Virginia Janis, on behalf of the estate of Oliver Richards, brings this appeal. We affirm.

I. Background

On May 16, 2003, Oliver Richards's vehicle headed northbound on Highway 79 near Angostura, South Dakota. He was traveling at approximately 40-45 mph on the 65 mph highway. South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks ("GFP") officers observed Richards driving erratically. GFP officers turned on their flashing blue lights, attempted to pull-over Richards's vehicle, and radioed in to the South Dakota Highway Patrol and Custer County Sheriff's Office that they were in pursuit of a possible drunk driver. GFP officers, Highway Patrol officers, and Deputies from the Custer County Sheriff s Office pursued Richards for approximately thirty minutes with their flashing overhead lights and sirens on. Richards did not stop. Because Richards would not stop, the South Dakota Highway Patrol District Commander authorized the deployment of tire-deflating spikes. Richards drove over the spikes but kept going even though his tires were deflating and multiple law enforcement vehicles were present with their emergency lights and sirens activated.

Page 798

Authorities then set up a "rolling roadblock" in which law enforcement vehicles pulled in front of, and behind, Richards's vehicle and then slowed down until his vehicle was stopped on the side of the road.

Law enforcement officers approached Richards' s car and demanded he exit the vehicle. Richards refused repeated commands to exit the car. At that point, Deputy Sheriff Jim Biesheuvel of the Custer County Sheriff's Office and Trooper Ted Garstenschlager of the South Dakota Highway Patrol reached through the open driver's door, grabbed Richards's arms, and pried his grip from the steering wheel. The officers then pulled Richards out of the vehicle and placed him on the road, 2 face down. The officers put Richards's arms behind his back and handcuffed him. Richards complained of pain in his left arm and shoulder. Officers then took Richards to the side of the road, where they determined that he was not intoxicated, but rather was suffering from diabetic shock. Officers called for an ambulance and removed Richards's handcuffs. Officers gave Richards a glucose tube and administered medical care for several cuts on his wrists and a cut over his eye until the ambulance arrived.3

On May 13, 2004, Richards brought this action alleging that the officers violated his constitutional rights. He alleged that the officers used excessive force when they removed him from the car and handcuffed him on the ground, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Richards also alleged that the law enforcement agencies failed to properly train, supervise, discipline, and control their officers. Finally, Richards alleged negligent hiring, supervision, and training under South Dakota law. Defendants claimed in their answers that they were entitled to qualified and sovereign immunity on all claims. As a result of these defenses, the district court issued an order requiring the defendants to move for summary judgment. The district court also ordered that discovery not proceed until the defenses were resolved.

On August 9, 2004, Richards moved for reconsideration of the district court's order limiting discovery and requested that defendants' motion be held in abeyance until discovery was completed. While these motions were pending, Oliver Richards died from causes unrelated to the incidents that gave rise to this lawsuit. Virginia Janis, as personal representative of Richards's estate, was substituted in his place.

On December 28, 2004, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The district court also denied Janis's motion to reconsider its order limiting discovery and stay resolution of the motions for summary judgment pending discovery. Janis now brings this timely appeal.

II. Discussion

A. Excessive Force Claim

We review de novo a grant of summary judgment based on qualified immunity. Seiner v. Drenon , 304 F.3d 810, 812 (8th Cir. 2002). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 (c), summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to

Page 799

any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A motion for summary judgment places an affirmative burden on the non-moving party to go beyond the pleadings and, by affidavit or otherwise, produce specific facts that show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed R. Civ. P. 56(e).

To determine whether a defendant is entitled to qualified immunity, we engage in a two-part analysis. Littrell v. Franklin, 388 F.3d 578, 582 (8th Cir. 2004). First, we examine "whether, construed in a light most favorable to the party asserting the injury, the facts alleged show the officers' conduct violated a constitutional right." Andrews v. Fuoss , 417 F.3d 813, 816; see also Littrell, 388 F.3d at 582 ("The 'existence or nonexistence of a constitutional right' is, therefore, the threshold question.") (quoting Saucier v. Katz , 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001)). Second, we must determine whether the right was clearly established. Littrell, 388 F.3d at 582. This second step is a ...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP