News Details

Manning & Kass Team Strikes Again In Federal Court

May 3, 2022

The Manning & Kass Governmental Entity Liability practice continues its streak of positive results. Practice Co-Leader Mildred K. O’Linn and Partner Lynn L. Carpenter defended a compelling case where all federal and state claims based on use of force were dismissed by the Court. This case arises from a January 1, 2020, 9-1-1 emergency call that was made to the Nevada County Sheriff's Office dispatch. The caller reported that he observed a man walking down Squirrel Creek Rd. in an unincorporated area of Nevada County, carrying a shotgun in his hand. The man with the shotgun was on supervised release related to pending felony firearms charges, and had a history of mental illness.

Deputies from the Nevada County Sheriff's Office and Officers from the Grass Valley Police Department responded to the location and arrived in the area at approximately the same time. One of the deputies spotted the man, and the deputies and officers proceeded to give the man multiple at-gunpoint commands to drop his weapon. However, the man failed to comply with their orders.

As deputies and officers were continuing to tell the man to drop his gun, the man stated that it was a fake. One of the deputies communicated to the man that from his position several feet away, it was not possible to determine whether it was a fake and that it looked real. Additional commands were given to the man to drop the weapon, but the man proceeded to point the weapon in the direction of the deputies and officers, ignoring their commands. One of the officers deployed his TASER in probe mode at the man, but the deployments were ineffective.

The deputies and officers approached the man in a tactical formation. As an officer drew a baton to strike the man, at the same time the man shouldered the long gun and appeared to be preparing to shoot the officer. The deputies and officers discharged their firearms at the man in order to stop the immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury caused by the man's actions.

CPR was administered immediately until medical personnel arrived at the scene. The man was transported to Sierra Nevada Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries. In the autopsy report, the coroner listed multiple gunshot wounds as the cause of death, and methamphetamine intoxication as a significant condition. Notably, the man's methamphetamine levels were 340 ng/mL at the time of his death, which is well above the threshold at which a person can experience erratic, dangerous behavior and hallucinations.

The incident was captured by dashcam and body-worn camera recordings, which served as the primary support for the defendants’ motions to dismiss.

Congratulations to Mildred K. O'Linn and Lynn L. Carpenter on their positive verdict for our client!