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Hill v. Hinds County

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 8, 2017

KHAVARIS HILL APPELLANT
v.
HINDS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, SHERIFF TYRONE LEWIS, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AND DEPUTY BRACEY COLEMAN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/04/2016

         HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JEFF WEILL SR.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: CHUCK MCRAE JHASMINE EUNIQUE ANDREWS

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: JASON EDWARD DARE STEVEN JAMES GRIFFIN J. LAWSON HESTER ROY A. SMITH JR.

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          GREENLEE, J.

         ¶1. This is an appeal from a grant of summary judgment by the Circuit Court of Hinds County. Finding error, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2. This action arises out of events from Sunday evening, January 1, 2012, in Jackson, Mississippi. Deputy Ogden Wilburn[1] and Deputy Bracey Coleman, [2] both of the Hinds County Sheriff's Office, were off-duty, working a private security detail at a private apartment complex while in uniform and operating a county owned, unmarked, black Nissan Pathfinder with lights concealed inside the vehicle and possibly a siren.[3] While the two were in the vehicle at or near the intersection of Northside Drive and Medgar Evers Boulevard, Khavaris Hill purportedly approached from behind and passed their vehicle and another while the light was green. Hill continued onto Interstate 220.

         ¶3. After Hill passed, the deputies followed. At some point after Hill's passing the deputies, they activated their blue lights and possibly their siren. Rather than yielding to the Pathfinder, Hill continued on I-220 for approximately three miles and exited at Watkins Drive. After exiting, Hill traveled approximately three-quarters of a mile on Watkins Drive before his vehicle collided with another.

         ¶4. After the collision, the deputies approached Hill's vehicle and, after Hill failed to heed their commands to exit the vehicle, the deputies pulled him from his vehicle, placed him face down on the ground, and handcuffed him. Subsequently, emergency medical services arrived along with the Jackson Police Department, which rendered aid to those involved in the crash, including Hill, and documented the scene. Hill was ultimately taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fracture in his neck. Hill was never charged with a moving violation or any other crime.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶5. In December 2012, Hill filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi against the individual deputies, the sheriff, and Hinds County alleging both federal claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012) and state claims brought under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA). His federal claims included alleged constitutional violations, conspiracy to violate constitutional rights, and supervisory liability for constitutional violations. His state claims included alleged negligence, gross negligence, and reckless disregard for his safety.

         ¶6. On February 26, 2014, a hearing was held in that court on the individual deputies' motion for summary judgment premised upon qualified immunity. The court orally granted summary judgment on that ground, concluding that the deputies did not violate Hill's constitutional rights. The defendants moved for summary judgment on all remaining theories of liability. On March 9, 2015, the court issued a written order granting summary judgment as to Hill's federal claims. The court went on to state that "Hill's state law claims are dismissed without prejudice to their refiling in a state court of competent jurisdiction." (Emphasis added).

         ¶7. On March 18, 2015, Hill refiled his state-law claims with the Circuit Court of Hinds County, and the defendants subsequently moved for summary judgment. On February 4, 2016, the ...


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