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Harris v. Lasseigne

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

February 4, 2015

Nicole Harris, Personal Representative of the Estate of Jkhary Craft, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Edward Lasseigne, in his individual capacity, Defendant-Appellant.

Argued January 14, 2015

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit. No. 2:12-cv-13763-George C. Steeh, District Judge.

ARGUED:

Marcelyn A. Stepanski, JOHNSON, ROSATI, SCHULTZ & JOPPICH, P.C., Farmington Hills, Michigan, for Appellant.

Paul W. Broschay, LAW OFFICE OF PAUL W. BROSCHAY, Detroit, Michigan, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Marcelyn A. Stepanski, JOHNSON, ROSATI, SCHULTZ & JOPPICH, P.C., Farmington Hills, Michigan, for Appellant.

Paul W. Broschay, LAW OFFICE OF PAUL W. BROSCHAY, Detroit, Michigan, for Appellee.

Before: COLE, Chief Judge; KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judge; and OLIVER, District Judge. [*]

OPINION

OLIVER, District Judge.

In this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Michigan law, Defendant-Appellant Edward Lasseigne ("Lasseigne" or "Defendant") appeals the order of the district court denying him summary judgment based on qualified immunity and governmental immunity. The district court found a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Lasseigne used excessive force in the shooting death of Jkhary Craft ("Craft"). Lasseigne argues on appeal that no genuine dispute of material fact exists as to whether his actions were reasonable under the circumstances according to both federal and state law. For the following reasons, we DISMISS Lasseigne's appeal of the district court's denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity for lack of jurisdiction, AFFIRM the district court's denial of governmental immunity, and REMAND this action to the district court for further action consistent with this opinion.

I. BACKGROUND

On August 27, 2009, Lasseigne, a police officer for the City of Pontiac, Michigan, shot and killed Craft, a fourteen-year-old male. Many of the following facts are not in dispute. The events of that day were set in motion by a 911 caller, stating that he had observed males in the neighborhood with guns. The dispatch center contacted Pontiac police officers to notify them that persons with guns were walking west on Ypsilanti Avenue. At this time, Officer Andrew Miller ("Miller") was driving a marked Chevy Tahoe police vehicle and Lasseigne was riding in the passenger seat when they heard the dispatch. Officers Shawn Werner ("Werner") and Michael Daves ("Daves") were driving in a separate marked Chevy Tahoe police vehicle.

Lasseigne and Miller observed Craft walking down Ypsilanti while Werner and Daves approached Craft from another direction. Werner stated that he motioned for Craft to come toward him, but Craft turned away and tugged at the waistband of his pants. Lasseigne and Miller also stated that they saw Craft pull at the waistband of his pants. According to Lasseigne, Craft "appeared to have a long bulge in his pants." (Lasseigne Dep. at 52:5-6, Apr. 10, 2013, Dist. Ct. Dkt. No. 40-2, Ex. A.) Lasseigne stated that Craft pulled a gun out of his pants and took off running. The officers observed Craft running between two homes on Ypsilanti toward a wooded area. Miller also said that he saw a gun in Craft's hand as he ran. Miller and Lasseigne drove behind Craft, while Werner and Daves followed on foot. All officers stated that Lasseigne yelled to Craft to drop his weapon. Miller drove the ...


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