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MANN v. VILLAGE OF WALDEN
November 26, 1979
ALBERT MANN as Administrator of the Goods, Chattels, and Credits of the Estate of MICHAEL MANN, Deceased, Plaintiff, against THE VILLAGE OF WALDEN and WILLIAM A. SCHMEISER, Defendants; SECURITY INSURANCE COMPANY OF HARTFORD, Intervenor-Plaintiff, against THE TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE OF WALDEN, WILLIAM A. SCHMEISER, ALBERT MANN as Administrator of the Goods, Chattels and Credits of MICHAEL MANN, Intervenor-Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAND
The question raised by defendants' motion for summary judgment is whether a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lies here or whether plaintiff's sole remedy, if any, is in a pending state court negligence action.
We conclude that plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and grant defendants' motion.
Late in the evening of June 16, 1978, Michael Mann, a sixteen year old youth, was killed in an automobile accident in the Village of Walden. Plaintiff is the administrator of the estate. The defendants are the Village of Walden and William A. Schmeiser, a police officer.
The complaint alleges, in pertinent part:
"5. Suddenly and without probable cause this car was pursued by a police car of the defendant, THE VILLAGE OF WALDEN, being driven by one Officer WILLIAM A. SCHMEISER.
6. As a result of this pursuit an accident occurred which resulted in the death of the plaintiff's decedent.
7. This pursuit was conducted with total disregard of the safety of the plaintiff's decedent and in violation of his due process rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment in that there was no probable cause for the pursuit and the chase was conducted in a wanton and reckless manner.
8. This event was a part of an ongoing campaign of harrassment (sic) and discrimination against the young people of the community by the police in accordance with the policy, practice, and custom set and determined by the defendant, THE VILLAGE OF WALDEN."
The facts as adduced from affidavits submitted in support of the motion,
deposition testimony in the pending state court action, and a statement of a witness, Debbie Noel, submitted by plaintiff at the oral argument of this motion without objection from defendants, are as follows:
David Wheat had parked his car at an Arco gas station while he and Michael Mann went to the nearby Eddie's Bar. After leaving the bar they went to the car where they were joined by Thomas Decker, who was a second and the sole surviving passenger in the Wheat automobile.
Wheat pulled out of the parking area in the following manner according to the statement of Debbie Noel, relied on by plaintiff:
"They pulled out of lot, squealed their wheels, headlights off."
This version of the manner in which the Wheat car left the lot is consistent with that given by Thomas Decker at his deposition.
The Wheat car was observed by Officer Schmeiser, who was in a marked police car. Officer Schmeiser states in his ...
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