627 F.2d 12 (6th Cir. 1980), 78-1495, Layne v. Sampley

Docket Nº:78-1495.
Citation:627 F.2d 12
Party Name:Johnny Ray LAYNE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Richard SAMPLEY, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:August 11, 1980
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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627 F.2d 12 (6th Cir. 1980)

Johnny Ray LAYNE, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Richard SAMPLEY, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 78-1495.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

August 11, 1980

Argued June 6, 1980.

Alec Garland, Harold Fisher, Manchester, Tenn., for plaintiff-appellant.

J. Harvey Cameron, Kelly, Leiderman, Cameron, Kelly & Graham, Jasper, Tenn., for defendant-appellee.

Before EDWARDS, CELEBREZZE and KENNEDY, Circuit Judges.


Plaintiff Layne appeals from a judgment notwithstanding the verdict in this action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The District Court held that there was no evidence to support a finding that when defendant-appellee Sampley, a police officer, shot and wounded Layne he was acting under color of state law, a jurisdictional requirement. We reverse and order reinstatement of the jury's verdict.

Three days before the shooting, officer Sampley was called to Layne's house to investigate a complaint of a domestic disturbance. Apparently this caused bad feelings between the two for later that day, Layne called police headquarters to threaten Sampley. When he was unable to reach him, he told the dispatcher to tell Sampley he would "fix him" in his own time and place. On June 19, 1976, Layne spotted Sampley in civilian clothes, sitting in his own car with his wife at his side, talking to other police officers, and passing a revolver around. At this time, although Sampley had been on vacation several days, he was in possession of his service revolver, which was his own property and which he was authorized but not required to carry when off-duty. Permission to carry a handgun in Tennessee is extended only to law enforcement officers. Tenn.Code Ann. § 39-4902. Layne came up between the two cars and told Sampley, "Richard, I heard you was going to shoot me." Sampley replied, "I heard it the other way around." The testimony of what then occurred is in dispute. Layne said that he did nothing suspicious and that he was wearing very tight clothing which would have revealed the presence of any weapon. Sampley testified he saw

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Layne move to the back of the car and make a movement that caused Sampley to think he was going for a gun. Sampley then shot Layne in the stomach with a .35 caliber revolver from a distance of three to four feet. Layne survived but testified to resulting permanent...

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