United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
SCOTTY KING, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Kimberly King, Plaintiff,
LAKE COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
MORALES HOWARD United Slates District Judge
CAUSE is before the Court on the separate motions to
dismiss filed by the several defendants in this case.
Defendant Gary S. Borders, in his official capacity as
Sheriff of Lake County, filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss
Amended Complaint and Memorandum of Law (Doc. 20,
Sheriff's Motion), on March 29, 2017. Defendants Nick
Jones, Robert Sellers, Pablo Rivera, and Shawn Lukens filed a
Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (Doc. 22,
Individual Defendants' Motion), on March 30, 2017.
Defendant Nate Pickens filed a Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and Notice of Intent to
Adopt and Join in Portions of Motion to Dismiss Amended
Complaint by Defendants Jones, Sellers, Rivera, and Lukens
(Doc. 24, Pickens' Motion), on April 4, 2017.
Also, Defendant Mascotte Police Department filed its Motion
to Dismiss (Doc. 37, Mascotte Motion), on April 18,
2017. In their motions, the Defendants request
that the Court dismiss the amended complaint of Plaintiff
Scotty King (King), individually and as Personal
Representative of the Estate of Kimberly King. (Doc.
13, Amended Complaint, filed February 16, 2017). King
opposes the Defendants' motions. See
Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Sheriff of Lake County,
Florida's Partial Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 54,
Plaintiff's Response to Sheriff), filed May 12, 2017;
Plaintiff's Response to Defendants Jones, Sellers,
Rivera, and Lukens' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 53,
Plaintiff's Response to Individual Defendants), filed May
12, 2017; Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Nate
Pickens' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 56,
Plaintiff's Response to Pickens), filed on May 15, 2017;
Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Mascotte Police
Department's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 59,
Plaintiff's Response to Mascotte), filed on May 23, 2017.
Accordingly, this matter is ripe for review.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the
factual allegations set forth in the complaint as true.
See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009);
Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508, n.1
(2002); see also Lotierzo v. Woman's World Med. Ctr.,
Inc., 278 F.3d 1180, 1182 (11th Cir. 2002). In addition,
all reasonable inferences should be drawn in favor of the
plaintiff. See Omar ex. rel. Cannon v. Lindsey, 334
F.3d 1246, 1247 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). Nonetheless,
the plaintiff must still meet some minimal pleading
requirements. Jackson v. BellSouth Telecomm., 372
F.3d 1250, 1262-63 (11th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted).
Indeed, while “[s]pecific facts are not necessary,
” the complaint should “‘give the defendant
fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Further, the
plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). A “plaintiff's obligation to provide
the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted);
see also BellSouth Telecomm., 372 F.3d at 1262
(explaining that “conclusory allegations, unwarranted
deductions of facts or legal conclusions masquerading as
facts will not prevent dismissal”) (citations and
quotations omitted). Indeed, “the tenet that a court
must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a
complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions, ” which
simply “are not entitled to [an] assumption of
truth.” See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Thus, in
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must determine
whether the complaint contains “sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Id. at
678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
action arises out of a high speed police chase that resulted
in the untimely and tragic death of Kimberly King.
12, 2016, at approximately 6:30 p.m., Deputy Nick Jones, a
member of the Street Crimes Unit of the Lake County
Sheriff's Department (LCSD), who was on patrol in
Leesburg, Florida, observed a female driver stop beyond the
stop bar at an intersection. Amended Complaint at
¶¶ 21-22. The driver's action constituted a
noncriminal traffic violation punishable as a moving
violation. Id. at ¶ 22. Two of Jones'
fellow Street Crime Unit members, Deputy Shawn Lukens and
Deputy Robert Sellers, were positioned two blocks from Jones.
Allegedly, “upon apparently observing these officers,
” the driver made an abrupt turn. Id. at
¶ 25. Jones followed the driver, eventually turning on
his emergency equipment. Id. at ¶¶ 25-27.
When the driver began to accelerate, Sellers and Lukens,
along with Deputy Pablo Rivera, joined in the pursuit with
their emergency equipment activated. Id. at ¶
28. As the pursuit continued, the driver failed to yield at
stop signs, and the chase proceeded to a local highway.
Id. at ¶ 30. Additionally, Corporal Nate
Pickens, a supervisor of Jones, Sellers, Lukens, and Rivera,
joined in the chase, taking the lead. Id. at ¶
31. During the pursuit, and on two different occasions at two
different locations, deputies from the LCSD and the City of
Leesburg placed “stop sticks” in the
driver's path in an attempt to stop her. The driver was
able, nonetheless, to evade both sets of stop sticks.
Id. at ¶ 33, 36, 37.
approximately 6:51 p.m., the LCSD deputies “requested
via radio transmission that the Mascotte Police Department
deploy two sets of stop sticks [along the driver's route]
at the Mascotte city limits.” Id. at ¶
39. At that time, the “Mascotte Police Department was
advised that [the driver] was suspected of grand theft,
fleeing, and eluding.” Id. at ¶ 40.
Mascotte Police Department officers placed the stop sticks in
the driver's path, and “at approximately 6:58 p.m.,
[the driver's] vehicle hit both sets of stop sticks,
travelling at approximately 70 miles per hour. The suspect
continued . . . [and] appeared to completely lose control and
travel into oncoming traffic.” Id. at ¶
time, Kimberly King was travelling on the same roadway in the
opposite direction of the driver. Id. at ¶ 44.
The driver's vehicle hit Kimberly King's
“vehicle head-on and caught fire. [The driver] was
pronounced dead at the scene. Kimberly King was transported
via ambulance to [a local hospital] where she was pronounced
dead.” Id. at ¶¶ 45-47.
gathered after the crash from the pursuing deputies'
global positioning software indicated that the pursuit of the
driver lasted 17 minutes, and that the deputies' speeds
ranged between 66 and 123 miles per hour. Id. at
¶ 48. The LCSD has a vehicular pursuit policy which
guides as follows:
[A] deputy must realize that it is his or her duty to operate
the vehicle safely at all times, especially while in the act
of pursuit. The fact that a deputy is engaged in a pursuit
does not relieve nor protect that deputy from the
consequences of a reckless disregard for the safety of others
. . . Pursuits involving traffic or non-violent misdemeanors
will involve only one primary patrol unit in pursuit and no
more than one secondary unit assisting unless directed
otherwise by a supervisor . . . The secondary back-up unit
will remain at a safe distance during the pursuit. The
secondary back-up unit's purpose will be to arrive
shortly after the pursuit termination.
Id. at ¶ 49. Additionally, LCSD policy directs
that a “deputy is to terminate a pursuit when the
danger involved in the pursuit is greater than the offence
which was committed or believed to have been
committed.” Id. at ¶ 50 (internal
the crash, the Office of Professional Standards of the LCSD
interviewed the officers involved in the pursuit.
Id. at ¶ 53. During those interviews, the
deputies stated that they were aware of LCSD's pursuit
policy, “but that the ‘Street Crimes Unit always
stays together, ' and that all units within the Street
Crimes Unit are involved each time any officer initiates a
vehicular pursuit.” Id. at ¶ 53 (quoting
Defendant Pablo Rivera); see also at ¶ 54
(Street Crimes Unit frequently “pushes the
boundaries” of department guidelines); ¶ 56 (it
was understood that the Street Crimes Unit “stick
together when it comes to pursuits”); ¶ 57
(“there is an understanding with Street Crimes
supervisors that all units will be involved” in
vehicular pursuits); ¶ at 59 (the use of two or more
units during vehicular pursuits has been “an accepted
practice since the Street Crimes Unit was formed” and
“has never come under scrutiny”).
placed all of the deputies involved in the incident “on
administrative leave with pay during a period of
administrative review.” Id. at ¶ 60. At
the conclusion of the administrative review, Lake County
Sheriff Gary Borders concurred with the division major's
determination that Jones, Sellers, Rivera, and Lukens did not
violate the vehicular pursuit policy given that Pickens
“‘supervised and ultimately led' the
pursuit.” Id. at ¶ 61. However, the
Sheriff found Pickens, a corporal, to have violated
regulations “pertaining to failure to perform the
duties of rank or assignment.” Id. at ¶
result of these events, Scotty King, as the surviving spouse
and Personal Representative of the Estate of Kimberly King,
brought this action alleging a host of claims against the
various Defendants. In Count I, King seeks relief from
Defendants Jones, Sellers, Rivera, Lukens, Pickens and John
Doe Officers 1-10 (herein, Individual Defendants and
Pickens), under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (§ 1983),
asserting that the Individual Defendants and Pickens deprived
Kimberly King of her constitutionally protected right under
the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to be
“free from state actions that deprive her of life,
liberty, or property in such a manner as to shock the
conscience.” Id. at ¶ 65. In Counts II
through IV, King brings claims against the LCSD, Borders, and
the Mascotte Police Department. In Count II, he asserts these
Defendants are subject to liability under § 1983 for
failing to properly train their deputies in vehicular chases
and the use of stop sticks. Id. at ¶ 72. In
Count III, King claims that these Defendants are also liable
under § 1983 for having “in effect policies,
practices, or customs that perpetuated and fostered the
unconstitutional conduct of” the Individual Defendants
and Pickens. Id. at ¶ 82. Finally, in Count IV,
he alleges that the same Defendants failed to “properly
supervise its agents, employees, and officers, ”
thereby resulting in Kimberly King's death. Id.
at ¶ 94.
Count V, King asserts that the Lake County Sheriff's
Department, Borders, and the Individual Defendants are liable
under § 1983 for ratification because those in a
supervisory capacity “knew of and specifically approved
of” the Individual Defendants' actions.
Id. at ¶ 107. Finally, in Counts VI and VII,
King brings Florida wrongful death actions against the
Individual Defendants and Pickens, and Borders, respectfully.
Id. at ¶¶ 114, 119.
ARGUMENTS OF THE PARTIES
various Defendants have filed motions to dismiss the claims
asserted in this case. In the Sheriff's Motion for
partial dismissal, the Sheriff raises three issues. First, he
seeks to dismiss the LCSD as a defendant, as that office
“has no legal status as an entity that may sue or be
sued.” Sheriff's Motion at 4. Second, the Sheriff
requests that the Court substitute Gary S. Borders, in his
official capacity as Sheriff of Lake County, with the more
appropriate denomination of “Sheriff of Lake County,
Florida, in his official capacity.” Id. at
Third, the Sheriff asserts that Counts V and VII should be
dismissed for failure to state a claim. As to the Count V
ratification claim, the Sheriff contends that he neither knew
in advance of, nor approved of the deputies' high speed
pursuit and use of stop sticks while those events were
occurring. Id. at 8. Moreover, he asserts that any
post-incident review of the deputies' pursuit does not
satisfy the legal requirements for ratification. Id.
at 9. As to the Count VII wrongful death claim, the Sheriff
argues that pursuant to Florida law, he cannot be held
vicariously liable for the acts of his employees where, as is
the case here, King alleges that the employees acted in a
willful and wanton manner. Id. at 10.
response to the Sheriff's Motion, King acknowledges the
improper identification of Gary S. Borders as a defendant,
and seeks to clarify that all relevant claims are asserted
against the “Sheriff of Lake County, Florida, in his
official capacity.” Plaintiff's Response to
Sheriff's Motion at 6. King also alleged that he has
asserted sufficient facts to support a claim of ratification.
Id. at 6-7. Finally, King asserts that should the
Court determine that the Individual Defendants and Pickens
did not act in a willful and wanton manner in the events
surrounding Kimberly King's death, through pleading in
the alternative, the Sheriff of Lake County, Florida, in his
official capacity, could be held vicariously liable for
Kimberly King's death. Id. at 8.
Individual Defendants' Motion, the Individual Defendants
assert that as to the Count I due process claim, King has
failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or
in the alternative, that they are entitled to qualified
immunity from suit. Individual Defendants' Motion at 2.
In response to the Count V ratification claim, the Individual
Defendants argue that it is inappropriate to include them in
that claim. They assert that the facts that King sets forth
in the Amended Complaint allege that it was the County and
the LCSD that ratified the Individual Defendants'
actions, and there is no allegation that the Individual
Defendants engaged in the act of ratifying anyone else's
actions. Id. at 2. Finally, in response to the Count
VI wrongful death claim, the Individual Defendants contend
that they are entitled to immunity from suit pursuant to
Florida law. Id. at 2. Therefore, the Individual
Defendants seek dismissal of Counts I, V and VI as against
response to the Individual Defendants' Motion, King
argues that he has alleged sufficient facts to support the
Count I substantive due process claim against the Individual
Defendants, and that they are not entitled to qualified
immunity. Plaintiff's Response to Individual Defendants
at 6, 11. Likewise, in regard to the Count VI wrongful death
claim, King argues that he has alleged sufficient facts to
overcome the Individual Defendants' claims of immunity.
Id. at 13.
Pickens' Motion, Pickens “adopts and incorporates
the argument and legal citation set forth” in the
Individual Defendants' Motion regarding the Count I
§ 1983 claim. Pickens' Motion at 3. Additionally,
Pickens contends that King's Amended Complaint lacks
sufficient factual allegations to “support liability
against Defendant Corporal Pickens under the theory of
supervisory liability, ” and therefore Count I should
be dismissed against him. Id. at 3. Finally, Pickens
asserts that the Count VII claim for wrongful death should be
dismissed against him for the same reasons articulated by the
Individual Defendants. Id. at 4. In response, King
“adopts and incorporates the arguments set forth . . .
[in] his Response” to the Individual Defendants'
Motion, and also asserts that in the Amended Complaint he has
alleged sufficient facts to support a claim of supervisory
liability against Pickens. Plaintiff's Response to
Pickens at 6.
the Mascotte Police Department raises two issues in the
Mascotte Motion. First, Mascotte notes that all claims
against the Mascotte Police Department should be dismissed
because the Police Department is not a separate legal entity
subject to suit. Mascotte Motion at 3. Second, to the extent
that the Court decides to construe the claims against the
Mascotte Police Department as claims against the City of
Mascotte, the Mascotte Police Department contends that King
has failed to allege facts suggesting that the City of
Mascotte committed a constitutional violation against
Kimberly King, whether directly through its officers laying
down the stop sticks, or through a “failure to train,
” “failure to supervise, ” or
“custom, policy, and practice” theory of
liability. Id. at 4, 7, 8. In response, King
recognizes that he improperly identified the Mascotte Police
Department as a defendant, and seeks to clarify that he
intended to reference the City of Mascotte. Plaintiff's
Response to Mascotte at 5. Additionally, King asserts that he
did indeed sufficiently allege facts to support a § 1983
claim against the City of Mascotte and its deputies in the
context of the placement of the stop sticks that contributed
to Kimberly King's death. Id. at 6-9.
Court will first address the arguments raised by various
Defendants regarding the manner in which they are identified
in the Amended Complaint, and whether they are proper parties
to this action. Then the Court will turn to the substantive
arguments on the merits of King's claims.
Preliminary Pleading Matters
addressing the merits of the parties' arguments, the
Court first addresses a number of pleading inaccuracies in
King's Amended Complaint, wherein King either
inaccurately names, or improperly includes, certain
Defendants in this action.
and as noted previously, the Lake County Sheriff's Office
is misidentified by Plaintiff as the Lake County
Sheriff's Department. Sheriff's Motion at 4. More
importantly, and regardless of whether King intended to sue
the Lake County Sheriff's Office as a defendant or the
LCSD, King's claims against this Defendant are due to be
dismissed. Rule 17(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedures (Rule(s)), provides that the “[c]apacity to
sue or be sued is determined . . . by the law of the state
where the court is located.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro.
17(b)(3). Under Florida law, a sheriff's department is
not a legal entity that can be sued. Christy v. Sheriff
of Palm Beach County, Fla., 288 Fed.Appx. 658, 662-63
(11th Cir. 2008). See also Dean v. Barber, 951 F.2d
1210, 1214 (11th Cir. 1992) (“Sheriff's departments
and police departments are not usually considered legal
entities subject to suit.”). As such, the claims
against the LCSD (or arguably, properly named the Lake County
Sheriff's Office) will be dismissed from this action.
the Court turns to the Sheriff's assertion that Borders
is not a properly named party to this action. As to this
issue, the Sheriff explains that Borders has retired and is
no longer Sheriff of Lake County. Sheriff's Motion at
¶ 8. In bringing an action against a public official, it
is not necessary to identify the public officer by name.
Rather, the party may be designated merely by his or her
official title. See Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 17(d)
(“A public officer who . . . is sued in an official
capacity may be designated by official title rather than by
name . . . .”). As such, the Sheriff requests that the
Court substitute “Sheriff of Lake County, in his
official capacity, ” in lieu of “Gary S. Borders,
in his official capacity.” Notably, King acknowledges
that as to the Lake County Sheriff's Office and Gary S.
Borders, his designation of both was in error.
Plaintiff's Response to Sheriff at 6. He explains that
his intent was to name as a defendant the “Sheriff of
Lake County, in his official capacity, ” and joins the
Sheriff in requesting that the Court identify the Sheriff as
the proper defendant in this action. Id.
25(d) states that “[a]n action does not abate when a
public officer who is a party in an official capacity dies,
resigns, or otherwise ceases to hold office while the action
is pending. The officer's successor is automatically
substituted as a party.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 25(d).
See also Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25 (1991)
(“ . . . when officials sued in [their official]
capacity in federal court die or leave office, their
successors automatically assume their roles in the
litigation”); Nat'l Wildlife Fed. v.
Burford, No. 85-2238, 1987 WL 12129, *1 (D. D.C. June 2,
1987) (Rule 25(d) provides for the automatic substitution of
a public official's successor in an action where the
party is sued in his official capacity). Accordingly, the
Court will substitute the Sheriff of Lake County, in his
official capacity, for Defendant Borders, and will direct the
Clerk of the Court to correct the case style accordingly.
the Court notes that the John Doe Defendants 1-10 should be
dismissed from this action. Generally, the federal courts do
not permit fictitious party pleading. See Williams v.
DeKalb County Jail, 638 Fed.Appx. 976, 976-77 (11th Cir.
2016); Weiland v. Palm Beach County Sheriff's
Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1318 n.4 (11th Cir. 2015). A
narrow exception exists where “the plaintiff's
description of the defendant is so specific as to be
‘at the worst, surplusage.'” Minnis v.
Keaton, No. 17-CIV-20575-GAYLES, 2017 WL 2471080, *8
(S.D. Fla. May 5, 2017) (citing Dean v. Barber, 951
F.2d 1210, 1215-16 (11th Cir. 1992)), affirmed and adopted by
Minnis v. Keaton, No. 17-cv-20575/GAYLES/WHITE, 2017
WL 2464835 (S.D. Fla. June 7, 2017). This exception permits a
plaintiff to “proceed against an unnamed or fictitious
defendant only when . . . it is clear that discovery will
uncover the defendant's identity, or when the
plaintiff's description of the individual is sufficiently
clear to allow service of process on that defendant.”
Id. Conversely, “failing to describe unnamed
defendants, or merely giving general descriptions without
making any timely discovery requests to attempt to ascertain
their identities, will properly result in the dismissal of
those defendants.” Id. Here, King, who is
represented by counsel, has had the opportunity to
investigate and determine the names of the ten unnamed
officers, but has failed to do so. See White v. City of
Birmingham, 96 F.Supp.3d 1260, 1281-82 (N.D. Ala. 2015)
(where plaintiff is represented by counsel who fails to
investigate names of otherwise fictitiously named defendants,
claims against defendants should be dismissed). Given the
Court's inability to identify the John Doe Defendants in
order to summon them to answer the claims against them,
Paulcin v. McNeil, No. 3:08cv378/RV/EMT, 2009 WL
311078, *2 (N.D. Fla. Feb. 9, 2009) ("If a John Doe
cannot be identified sufficiently in order to summon that
individual to appear, dismissal of that Defendant from this
action will be warranted."), and the general prohibition
against fictitious party pleading, the Court determines that
the John Doe Defendants are due to be dismissed from this
the Court addresses King's naming of the Mascotte Police
Department as a defendant in this action. As noted earlier,
the “[c]apacity to sue or be sued is determined . . .
by the law of the state where the court is located.”
Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 17(b)(3). Pursuant to Florida law,
“municipalities have the power to sue and be
sued.” Fla. City Police Dep't v. Corcoran,
661 So.2d 409, 410 (Fla. 3d Dist. Ct. App. 1995).
Additionally “[w]here a police department is an
integral part of the city government as the vehicle through
which the city government fulfills its policing functions, it
is not an entity subject to suit.” Id. See also
Everett v. Marianna Police Dep't, No.
5:07cv284/RS/MD, 2008 WL 222713, at *2 (N.D. Fla. Jan. 25,
2008) (recognizing that "the Florida courts have found
that the city police department is not a legal entity and has
no legal existence separate and apart from the city");
Zayas v. Osceola Mental Health, Inc., No.
6:07-cv-1779-Orl-31KRS, 2007 WL 4287638, at *2 (M.D. Fla.
Dec. 5, 2007) (acknowledging that "[t]he Eleventh
Circuit has held that police departments are not usually
considered legal entities subject to suit") (citing
Dean v. Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir.
1992)); Hall v. M. Neal, T-10, No.
5:04-cv-65-Oc-10GRJ, 2006 WL 462600, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Feb.
27, 2006). Instead, the proper party to be named is the city
or municipal corporation of which the police department is a
part. Mann v. Hillsborough County Sheriff's
Office, 946 F.Supp. 962, 970-71 (M.D. Fla. 1996).
regard, the Mascotte Police Department contends that it is
improperly named as a defendant and should be dismissed.
Mascotte's Motion at 4. King acknowledges his error in
naming the Mascotte Police Department, and states that it was
his intent to designate the City of Mascotte as the proper
defendant. Plaintiff's Response to Mascotte at
5. Accordingly, the Court also will dismiss
the Mascotte Police Department from this action.
summary, the Lake County Sheriff's Department, the
Mascotte Police Department, and the John Doe Defendants will
be dismissed from this action. Additionally, the Sheriff of
Lake County, in his official capacity will be substituted for
Gary S. Borders, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Lake
County. The Court will limit its discussion of the merits of
King's claims to those Defendants that remain after these
dismissals and the substitution.
Count I: § 1983 Substantive Due Process Claim against
the Individual Defendants and Pickens
Count I of his Amended Complaint, King asserts that the
Individual Defendants and Pickens violated Kimberly
King's right “to be free from state actions that
deprive her of life, liberty, or property in such a manner as
to shock the conscience.” Amended Complaint at ¶
65. More particularly, King claims that the acts of the
Individual Defendants and Pickens
shock the conscience, in that they acted with deliberate
indifference to the constitutional rights of . . . Decedent,
and with purpose to harm unrelated to any legitimate law
enforcement objective, when they continued a vehicular
pursuit despite the duration of the chase, the high rates of
speed, the ability to run [the driver's] license plate
number and apprehend her at a later time, and the lack of
probable cause to believe [the driver] had committed a
violent crime or felony.
Id. at ¶ 66. In response, the Individual
Defendants and Pickens argue that King's Amended
Complaint fails to allege that they acted with the purpose to
cause harm unrelated to any legitimate law enforcement
objective, or at a minimum, they are entitled to qualified
immunity. Individual Defendants' Response at 8, 19.
immunity protects from civil liability government officials
who perform discretionary functions if the conduct of the
officials does not violate ‘clearly established
statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable
person would have known.'” Nolin v.
Isbell, 207 F.3d 1253, 1255 (11th Cir. 2000) (quoting
Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982)). As
a result, this defense protects from suit “‘all
but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate
the law.'”Carr v. Tatangelo, 338 F.3d
1259, 1266 (11th Cir. 2003) (quoting Malley v.
Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 341 (1986)). Indeed, as
“‘government officials are not required to err on
the side of caution, ' qualified immunity is appropriate
in close cases where a reasonable officer could have believed
that his actions were lawful.” Lee v. Ferraro,
284 F.3d 1188, 1200 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting Marsh v.
Butler Cnty., 268 F.3d 1014, 1031 n. 8 (11th Cir.
2001)). In order to be ...