News Details

Manning Kass Prevail Again In Ninth Circuit

March 7, 2024
In a published decision dated October 17, 2023, a panel majority of Ninth Circuit Judges affirmed the Oregon district court's summary judgment for law enforcement officers in an action alleging, in part, that defendants violated Remi Sabbe's Fourth Amendment rights in an incident that ultimately led to his death. 
The incident in question took place in Washington County, Oregon. Washington County Law enforcement responded to calls from a neighbor that Mr. Sabbe was driving a pickup truck erratically on a rural field on his own property, that he was drunk, belligerent, and may have fired a gun. An hour after thirty officers arrived at the property, law enforcement used an unmarked armored vehicle to twice execute a pursuit intervention technique ("PIT") maneuver by intentionally colliding with Sabbe's truck in the field. Officers shot Mr. Sabbe after hearing a gunshot and seeing a rifle pointed at them.
The panel of Ninth Circuit Judges made three key findings: First, the panel rejected Plaintiff's argument that defendants violated Mr. Sabbe's Fourth Amendment rights by entering the property without a warrant. Second, the panel held that a jury could find that defendants' second PIT maneuver constituted deadly and excessive force. Nevertheless, the court held that no clearly established law would have provided adequate notice to reasonable officers that their use of the armored vehicle to execute a low-speed PIT maneuver under these circumstances was unconstitutional. Lastly, the panel held that the district court correctly ruled that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity because the officers' split-second decision to open fire did not constitute excessive force.
In addition, the panel rejected plaintiff's failure-to-train claim against the County, finding that the record did not give rise to a genuine dispute that the County's alleged failure to establish guidelines for using the armored vehicle to execute PIT maneuvers rose to the level of deliberate indifference.
On January 17, 2024, the Ninth Circuit denied the plaintiff’s petition for re-hearing, en banc.
This is another case in a long line of successful results for Eugene P. Ramirez and Steven J. Renick, and Manning Kass, at the Ninth Circuit on behalf of law enforcement clients. For those interested, the entire opinion can be accessed at the following link: Sabbe v. Wash. Cnty. Bd. of Comm'rs, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 27553, 84 F.4th 807