782 F.2d 947 (11th Cir. 1986), 83-8856, Cannon v. Taylor
|Citation:||782 F.2d 947|
|Party Name:||Lemuel CANNON, Jr., Individually and as Temporary Administrator of the Estate of Lema Cannon, Deceased, Ronald Cannon, Patsy Griffin and Judy Hyles, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Martin TAYLOR and Columbus, Georgia, Defendants-Appellees.|
|Case Date:||February 20, 1986|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit|
Douglas L. Breault, Columbus, Ga., for plaintiffs-appellants.
John W. Denney, Kathelen M. VanBlarcum, Columbus, Ga., for defendants-appellees.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.
Before RONEY and ANDERSON, Circuit Judges, and MORGAN, Senior Circuit Judge.
RONEY, Circuit Judge:
Lema Cannon was killed when a police vehicle driven by Officer Martin Taylor struck her automobile. Her personal representative and surviving children brought this 42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1983 action against Officer Taylor and the City of Columbus, Georgia, claiming the defendants deprived Mrs. Cannon of life without due process of law and violated her constitutional right to travel. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants, finding that no constitutional violation had occurred. The case was orally argued on September 20, 1984, but the decision was delayed pending en banc consideration of a case first reported as Gilmere v. City of Atlanta, 737 F.2d 894 (11th Cir.1984), because it contained issues possibly relevant to consideration of this case. The en banc Court in Gilmere v. City of Atlanta, 774 F.2d 1495 (11th Cir.1985) (en banc ), has now held that the Supreme Court decision in Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981), does not preclude a section 1983 suit against police officers for physical injuries just because the plaintiff would have a cause of action under state law. Gilmere and the other precedents having been fully considered by this Court, we affirm the denial of a section 1983 cause of action in this case. We hold that there is no section 1983 cause of action for injuries received in an automobile accident involving the negligence of city police.
At the time of the accident, Officer Taylor was responding to a disturbance call at a local pool hall in Columbus. The street on which he was travelling had a 30 miles-per-hour speed limit. Apparently concerned for the safety of the first officer to reach the scene, Taylor increased his speed to what investigative officers later determined to be at least 46 miles-per-hour. Georgia law provides that police vehicles may exceed posted speed limits when responding to emergency calls, but only if the officer uses the vehicle's flashing lights and siren. O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-6-6. Taylor was using neither. He struck the left side of Mrs. Cannon's automobile as she was crossing an intersection. Plaintiffs sued, asserting a cause of action against both Officer Taylor and the City.
As to Officer Taylor, plaintiffs alleged that, acting under color of state law, he deprived Mrs. Cannon of her life without
due process of law by virtue of his reckless, excessive speeding without the use of lights and sirens.
In order to sustain a 1983 action, a plaintiff must make a prima facie showing that the act or omission of a person acting under color of state law deprived plaintiff of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or the laws of the United States. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 1912, 68 L.Ed.2d 420 (1981). Section 1983 is not self-executing; the statute itself creates no substantive rights. Although the right to life is an interest of constitutional dimension, not every deprivation of life amounts to a constitutional violation and gives rise to a claim under section...
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