The U.S. Supreme Court made two rulings today.
Long Arm Jurisdiction In Product Liability Cases
Liability For Excessive Use Of Force By Police
In Torres v. Madrid, No .19-292 (U.S. March 25, 2020), the Court delivered a 5-3 decision (Barrett not participating) regarding search and seizure law, holding that the application of physical force to the body of a person with intent to restrain is a seizure even if the person does not submit and is not subdued. The fact pattern, according to the official syllabus of the decision was as follows:
Respondents Janice Madrid and Richard Williamson, officers with the New Mexico State Police, arrived at an Albuquerque apartment complex to execute an arrest warrant and approached petitioner Roxanne Torres, then standing near a Toyota FJ Cruiser. The officers attempted to speak with her as she got into the driver’s seat. Believing the officers to be carjackers, Torres hit the gas to escape. The officers fired their service pistols 13 times to stop Torres, striking her twice. Torres managed to escape and drove to a hospital 75 miles away, only to be airlifted back to a hospital in Albuquerque, where the police arrested her the next day.
Torres later sought damages from the officers under 42 U. S. C. §1983. She claimed that the officers used excessive force against her and that the shooting constituted an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment. Affirming the District Court’s grant of summary judgment to the officers, the Tenth Circuit held that “a suspect’s continued flight after being shot by police negates a Fourth Amendment excessive-force claim.” 769 Fed. Appx. 654, 657.
Gorsuch, Thomas and Alito dissented.