Smith v. LePage, No. 15-11632 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
After officers shot and killed Dirk Smith in his own home, his surviving wife and children filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and Georgia law against the county, the police chief, and the officers. The court chose to exercise pendant appellate jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims in their cross-appeals. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the officers on plaintiffs' illegal entry claim because the officers were authorized to enter the home without a warrant under the exigent circumstances exception where officers believed that an emergency existed. The court concluded that the officers' single use of a taser on Mr. Smith was not unreasonable. However, the court affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment on plaintiffs’ section 1983 claim against Officers Ings and LePage for shooting Mr. Smith because the officers had “reasonable warning” that fatally shooting an unarmed person suspected of a misdemeanor in his own home merely because he was moving toward them was a constitutional violation; the court affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment on plaintiffs’ parallel state-law claim; affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment as to the supervisory liability claims where no supervisory liability can arise from the second tasing of Mr. Smith and plaintiffs' section 1983 supervisory liability claim related to the shooting fails because Sgt. Gamble neither participated in the shooting nor had a legally sufficient causal connection to it; and plaintiffs’ state-law supervisory liability claims related to the shooting fail because Sgt. Gamble did not violate a ministerial duty or act with actual malice. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.