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Scott v. Harris

United States Supreme Court
550 U.S. 372 (2007)



A sheriff’s deputy in Georgia observed Harris (plaintiff) speeding on a highway. When the deputy attempted to pull Harris over, Harris fled. The original deputy and several others gave chase. The chase took place over ten miles at significant speeds. A camera in Deputy Timothy Scott’s (defendant) cruiser captured the chase. The video showed Harris driving at high speeds and swerving on the motorway as well as driving through red lights. During the chase, Scott asked his supervisor to allow him to perform a maneuver to Harris’ car that would force it to spin to a stop. The request was approved, but instead of performing the maneuver, Scott hit Harris’ back bumper, causing Harris’ car to leave the roadway and hit a tree in a nearby embankment. As a result of the crash, Harris became a quadriplegic. Harris sued Scott for violating Harris’ Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure. Both parties agree that Scott’s actions constituted a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment. Scott filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that he enjoyed qualified immunity as a police officer. The district court denied his motion, holding that there were disagreements as to material facts. Scott appealed and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed. Scott appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Concurrence (Ginsburg, J.)

Concurrence (Breyer, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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