Rowell v. Muskogee County Board, No. 19-7062 (10th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Marvin Rowell was arrested for public intoxication and brought to the Muskogee County Jail in Muskogee, Oklahoma. In response to Rowell’s uncooperative conduct during processing, Jail officials decided to move him from the intake room to another room to place him in a restraint chair. In escorting Rowell down a hallway, Officer Dakota West applied forward pressure to Rowell’s right arm. After taking a few steps, Rowell fell and hit his head, and died shortly after from multiple blunt impact injuries to his head, which caused an acute subdural hematoma. Rowell's estate (the “Estate”), through administrator Zachary Rowell, sued Officer West, alleging a Fourteenth Amendment excessive force violation under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Estate also brought claims for failure to intervene against Officer Jacob Slay, supervisory liability against Shift Supervisor Lacy Rosson, and municipal liability against Muskogee County Sheriff Rob Frazier in his official capacity and the Board of County Commissioners of Muskogee, Oklahoma (the “County”). The district court granted summary judgment for the Defendants because it found that Officer West had not committed a constitutional violation. The Estate appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment.