FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN
DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA (D.C. NO. 6:16-CV-00506-RAW)
Smith, Rusty Smith Law Group (Erin M. Moore, Erin M. Moore
P.C., with him on the opening brief, and Ben Baker, Purcell,
Oklahoma, with him on the briefs), Muskogee, Oklahoma, for
A. Le Blanc (Matthew B. Free, with him on the brief), Best
& Sharp, Tulsa, Oklahoma, for Appellees.
TYMKOVICH, Chief Judge, McKAY, and CARSON, Circuit Judges.
TYMKOVICH, CHIEF JUDGE.
Lindsey and Zayne Mann were seriously injured when Lindsey
lost control of his utility vehicle on a gravel road after a
brief police pursuit. They claim the accident was caused by
an overzealous officer who should not have initiated a chase
over a minor traffic infraction.
and Mann sought damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
violations of both their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights by Officer Brandon Hyler, the City of Webbers Falls,
and several other municipal officials, based on Officer
Hyler's conduct during the pursuit as well as his
previous training. Lindsey and Mann also sought relief under
district court granted the defendants' motion for summary
judgment on all federal claims and concluded that Officer
Hyler was entitled to qualified immunity. We affirm. Because
the record cannot credibly sustain plaintiffs'
allegations, we conclude the district court appropriately
dismissed their claims.
time of the incident, Kyle Lindsey was a 21-year-old operator
of a small utility task vehicle (UTV), a four-wheeled vehicle
used for light construction and recreation. It had a steering
wheel, seating for two people, and a cargo area immediately
behind both seats. Although the UTV was equipped with
seatbelts, it does not appear they were used. The
manufacturer described the UTV as "an off-road vehicle
not intended for use on public roads." R. 386-88. It
warned purchasers that the UTV "is not designed for
on-road safety." Id. The manufacturer also
warned that "[a]brupt maneuvers or aggressive driving
can cause rollovers or loss of control-even on flat
ground-resulting in crushing or other injuries."
night in November 2015, Lindsey and his friend, Zayne Mann,
were riding the UTV after spending the afternoon drinking
beer on the outskirts of Webbers Falls, Oklahoma. Around 9:15
P.M., Lindsey exited the parking lot of a convenience store
and turned onto a public access road. After witnessing the
UTV roll through a stop sign, Officer Hyler initiated a
traffic stop by turning on his emergency lights. Disregarding
this cue, Lindsey proceeded onto a state highway. Officer
Hyler then activated his siren.
did not stop, but instead accelerated toward an overpass
beyond which the highway transitioned from pavement to
gravel. Traveling on the gravel section of the road, the UTV
began to kick up a cloud of dust. Having momentarily lost
sight of the UTV, Officer Hyler slowed his vehicle before
driving along the gravel road for less than a mile, Officer
Hyler came upon the UTV, which was rolled on its side near a
bend in the road. Lindsey and Mann were seriously injured,
and later testified they did not recall the details of the
accident. Both were cited for a variety of traffic and
criminal violations, although these charges were later
dismissed. They subsequently filed these constitutional
claims against Officer Hyler.
and Mann argue the district court erred in granting summary
judgment. They contend questions of fact remain regarding
their claims of excessive force and outrageous police
conduct. We review de novo a district court's
decision to grant a motion for summary judgment. Schutz
v. Thorne, 415 F.3d 1128, 1132 (10th Cir. 2005); see
also Trask v. Franco, 446 F.3d 1036, 1043 (10th Cir.
2006) ("On appeal, we review the award of summary
judgment based on qualified immunity de
novo."). Summary judgment becomes appropriate when
there exists no genuine issue of material fact, such that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
applying the summary-judgment standard, we view the evidence
and draw inferences in the manner most favorable to the
non-moving party. Schutz, 415 F.3d at 1132. But the
non-moving party must nonetheless establish facts such that a
reasonable jury could find in his favor. Id.
Unsubstantiated allegations will not suffice. Burke v.
Utah Transit Auth. & Local 382, 462 F.3d 1253, 1258
(10th Cir. 2006).
cases where, as here, defendants have asserted the
affirmative defense of qualified immunity, plaintiffs must
also satisfy a familiar two-part burden. E.g., Medina v.
Cram, 252 F.3d 1124, 1128 (10th Cir. 2001). The
plaintiff must not only demonstrate that the defendant
violated a constitutional right, but also that the right was
clearly established at the time of the violation.
Constitutional Claims ...