Scott v. City of Mandeville, et al, No. 20-30507 (5th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff was arrested for driving while intoxicated. She sued under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and related state laws. The district court granted summary judgment to Defendants, dismissing all of Plaintiff’s claims. On appeal, Plaintiff contests the summary judgment for the Section 1983 claims of false arrest and excessive force along with the state law claims of false arrest, excessive force, negligence, and vicarious liability.
The Fifth Circuit affirmed. The court concluded that the officers had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff for driving while intoxicated. The court explained that the following facts are confirmed: (1) A witness reported to the police that Plaintiff was driving in a dangerous manner;(2) there is video footage of Plaintiff’s car swerving out of the lane and recorded audio of the officers noting the swerve, and (3) The officers could not conclusively determine that she had not taken drugs. Those facts alone are sufficient to give rise to probable cause that Plaintiff was driving while intoxicated. Further, the court found that the officer’s limited use of force (in such a short time frame) to restrain Plaintiff and place her in handcuffs as a response to Plaintiff’s perceived resistance does not amount to excessive force.
Moreover, the court found that the officers had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff for driving while intoxicated, and accordingly, there was no false arrest. Finally, because Plaintiff’s underlying state law claims were properly dismissed, there is no basis for her vicarious liability claim against the municipal Defendants.