Emergent Retained to File Merits Amicus in Supreme Court Qualified Immunity Case

The National Police Accountability Project, a project of the National Lawyer's Guild, has retained Emergent Legal to file a merits amicus brief in Plumhoff v. Rickard, which the Supreme Court of the United States will hear in March 2014.  The case arises from the 2004 shooting deaths of Donald Rickard and Kelly Allen by Arkansas police officers.  The officers stopped Rickard and Allen for a faulty headlight, and, when the two fled, pursued them into Tennessee.  The officers then cornered Rickard and Allen in a Memphis parking lot, and shot them 15 times at close range when they attempted to drive off.  The stop, pursuit, and shooting were captured on video.  

Family members brought suit against the officers, who moved for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds.  The district court denied the motion, finding that factual questions remained regarding the objective and subjective reasonableness of the officers' use of deadly force, and the officers sought an interlocutory appeal.  The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the ruling.  The officers petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari, relying heavily on the Court's 2007 decision in Scott v. Harris, which also involved a qualified immunity ruling, citizen death at the hands of a police officer, and video evidence.

We will post the merits briefs when they are filed in January and February.  In the meanwhile, you can find the Sixth Circuit's opinion here, the petition for certiorari here, the opposition here, and the reply brief here.

January 4, 2014 Update:  The police officers' merits brief is here.  

February 5, 2014 Update:  The respondent (the minor daughter of one of the deceased) has filed her brief (here).  Amicus briefs have been filed in support of the petitioning officers by the National Conference of State Legislatures (here), the United States (here), and Ohio and 21 other states (here).  An amicus brief has been filed in support of the respondent by Professor Jonathan Nash (here).