Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Estate of Hill v. Miracle

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

April 4, 2017

Estate of Corey Hill, by Personal Representative Rudolph Hill, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Christopher Miracle, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: January 25, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit. No. 2:15-cv-10079-Gershwin A. Drain, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          Mary M. Mara, OAKLAND COUNTY CORPORATION COUNSEL, Pontiac, Michigan, for Appellant.

          Stanley I. Okoli, ROMANO LAW, P.L.L.C., Pleasant Ridge, Michigan, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Mary M. Mara, OAKLAND COUNTY CORPORATION COUNSEL, Pontiac, Michigan, for Appellant.

          Stanley I. Okoli, ROMANO LAW, P.L.L.C., Pleasant Ridge, Michigan, for Appellee.

          Before: GILMAN, GRIFFIN, and STRANCH, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          RONALD LEE GILMAN, Circuit Judge.

         This case involves the question of whether a deputy sheriff used excessive force in tasing a combative and disoriented diabetic suffering a hypoglycemic episode in order for the attending paramedics to stabilize his life-threatening condition. The district court denied the deputy's motion for qualified and governmental immunity. For the reasons set forth below, we REVERSE the judgment of the district court, and REMAND the case with instructions to dismiss the complaint with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual background

         In June 2013, Corey Hill suffered a diabetic emergency in his home due to his low blood-sugar level. Paramedics with Star Emergency Medical Service were dispatched to Hill's home at 3:20 p.m. after Hill's girlfriend, Melanie Worrall, called 911 for an ambulance. Two ambulance units and four paramedics, including Luke Streeter, arrived at the home and proceeded to the bedroom where Hill was lying down. Despite finding Hill very disoriented, the paramedics introduced themselves and tried to explain that they needed to check his blood-sugar level. Streeter attempted to prick Hill's finger for this purpose, but an agitated and combative Hill pulled back from the paramedics. Eventually, Streeter managed to prick Hill's finger, leading to the determination that Hill's blood-sugar level was extremely low at 38. A normal blood-sugar range is anywhere between 60 and 110, and a blood-sugar level below that range can cause hypoglycemia. As blood sugar falls, the common effects are for a person to lose consciousness, become combative and confused, or suffer a seizure. A blood-sugar level of 38 is therefore considered a medical emergency and, if left untreated, can lead to prolonged seizure and death.

         Deputy Christopher Miracle of the Oakland County Sheriff's Department arrived at Hill's home at some point after Streeter measured Hill's blood-sugar level. As a member of the road patrol, Miracle's duties included responding to calls for emergency medical services. He had encountered over a dozen diabetic emergencies throughout his career and was aware that persons suffering from low blood-sugar levels are often disoriented and unaware of their surroundings. When Miracle arrived, the paramedics were attempting to intravenously administer dextrose to Hill in order to raise his blood-sugar level. Hill became increasingly combative in resisting the paramedics' efforts to insert an IV catheter into his arm.

         Streeter was finally able to insert the catheter while the other paramedics held Hill down to the bed. At this point, a completely disoriented Hill swung a fist towards Streeter and ripped the catheter from his arm, causing blood to spray from the open vein. Streeter managed to finally stop the bleeding, but Hill continued to kick, swing, and swear at the paramedics as they tried to hold him down.

         Miracle, who at that point had not joined in the attempt to physically restrain Hill, ordered Hill to "relax." When Hill continued to kick and swing, Miracle informed Hill that he (Miracle) was going to use his taser. Miracle then deployed his taser in drive-stun mode directly to Hill's right thigh.

         To use a taser in drive-stun mode, an officer removes the hooks that spring from a taser and holds the device directly against a person's skin. Drive-stun mode is usually not recommended because keeping the taser in contact with a person's skin is difficult, yet necessary to render the taser effective. But Miracle did not want to shoot the hooks of his taser directly into Hill and, in addition, thought that deploying his taser in drive-stun mode was a better option than "hands-on stuff" because Miracle wanted to "minimize [the] damage" and "didn't really know everything that was going on medically." After Miracle held the taser against Hill's thigh for a few seconds, Hill calmed down long enough for Streeter to reestablish the IV catheter and administer dextrose. As noted by Streeter, Hill "became an angel" and was "very apologetic" after the dextrose kicked in.

         Streeter then checked Hill's blood-sugar levels and performed an electrocardiogram test. The results of both tests were normal. Hill denied being in any pain at the time, but the paramedics nonetheless transported Hill to McLaren Oakland Hospital, where his care was transferred to Dr. Brian Tweedle. Once again, Hill's blood-sugar level was measured as being within normal range. Medical records from the hospital note a taser puncture wound on Hill's right thigh, but Dr. Tweedle testified that no treatment was rendered for the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.