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Morrow v. Meachum

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Abilene Division

September 18, 2017

NANCY MORROW, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
JONATHAN MEACHUM, in his individual capacity, and EASTLAND COUNTY, TEXAS, Defendants.

          ORDER

          SAM R. CUMMINGS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On this day, the Court considered:

(1) Defendants Jonathan Meachum and Eastland County, Texas's Motion for Summary Judgment, filed February 17, 2017;
(2) Plaintiffs Nancy Morrow, Christa Donahue, and Alvin Russell Moon's Response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, filed March 10, 2017;
(3) Defendants' Reply to Plaintiffs' Brief in Opposition, filed March 29, 2017;
(4) Plaintiffs' Sur-Reply in Opposition, filed April 12, 2017;
(5) Defendants' Sur-Surreply to Plaintiffs' Sur-Reply, filed May 2, 2017;
(6) The Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, filed June 22, 2017;
(7) Plaintiffs' Objections to the Magistrate's Report and Recommendation, filed July 6, 2017;
(8) Defendants' Partial Objections to Report and Recommendation, filed July 6, 2017;
(9) Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs' Brief in Support of Objections, filed July 20, 2017; and
(10) Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition to Defendants' Objections, filed July 27, 2017.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On June 26, 2014, Defendant Jonathan Meachum was patrolling 1-20 near Cisco, Texas, in a marked law enforcement SUV. Meachum saw Austin Moon riding a motorcycle behind him on the Interstate, speeding and weaving in and out of traffic. Meachum turned on his emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop but Moon accelerated past Meachum and continued to speed down 1-20 until Meachum lost sight of him. Meachum called in the attempted traffic stop and alerted other law enforcement in the area that Moon had evaded on his motorcycle. When Moon stopped for gas further up the road, he was identified by an Eastland County Deputy Sheriff at the gas station; Moon fled the gas station and began traveling south on Highway 183. At this point, Meachum was also traveling south on Highway 183, now ahead of Moon's position. Meachum eventually saw Moon in his rear view mirror, approaching at a high rate of speed. As Meachum was cresting a hill on the highway, he moved into the oncoming traffic lane and slowed his vehicle to warn oncoming traffic of the police pursuit and to impede Moon from passing him. Moon's motorcycle-traveling at a speed of around 150 miles per hour-collided with the rear driver's side of Meachum's SUV, throwing Moon from the bike and killing him.

         Plaintiffs brought this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting claims on behalf of Moon for excessive force and unlawful seizure in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Defendant Meachum now moves for summary judgment on the issue of qualified immunity and Defendant Eastland County contemporaneously moves ...


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