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Date: 06-11-2024

Case Style:

Joseph Wayne Seymour v. Nathan Contreraz

Case Number: 1:23-CV-125

Judge: Susan P. Watters

Court: United States District Court for the District of Montana (Yellowstone County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

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Defendant's Attorney: Harlan B. Krogh


Billings, Montana personal injury lawyer represented the Plaintiff who sued on a civil rights violation theory.

Section 1983 provides an individual the right to sue state government employees and others acting "under color of state law" for civil rights violations.

AMR is for-profit corporation headquartered in Colorado, and is licensed by Defendant City of Billings (“the City”) to provide ambulance services for the City. (Doc. 21 at ¶ 74). AMR also contracts with the City to share dispatch data and routing information with the City's emergency dispatch center via a shared computer interface. (Doc. 21 at ¶¶ 75-76).

On the morning of August 13, 2019, an employee of a Zip Trip gas station located in Billings, Montana called 911 to report suspicious behavior from an unknown man outside the gas station. (Doc 21 at ¶ 11). Billings Police Officer Nathan Contreraz responded to the call and identified Seymour as matching the description provided by the Zip Trip employee. (Doc. 21 at ¶ 14). Billings Police Office Tyrel Flammang arrived on the scene to assist, and the two officers searched Seymour for weapons, threw him to the ground, restrained him, and repeatedly struck him on the face, head, and back. (Doc. 21 at ¶¶15-38).

Billings Police Officers Riley Finnegan, David Firebaugh, and Matthew Lennick then arrived on the scene, and saw that Seymour's face was bleeding. (Doc. 21 at 45-47). Officer Finnegan called for medical care, and an ambulance operated by AMR arrived approximately two minutes later. (Doc. 21 at ¶¶ 46, 57).

Two emergency medical technicians (“EMT”) approached Seymour, but he declined medical attention and refused to answer their questions. (Doc. 21 at ¶¶ 5960). One of the EMTs then recommended to police officers that Seymour receive a 400 mg ketamine injection to subdue him, which Seymour also attempted to refuse. (Doc. 21 at ¶¶ 63-65). The police officers restrained Seymour while one of the EMTs administered the injection, and Seymour was taken to the hospital where he was treated for minor. (Doc. 21 at ¶¶ 66-72).

On August 9, 2022, Seymour filed this action against AMR, the City, and Billings Police Officers Contreraz, Flammang, Finnegan, Firebaugh, and Lennick, alleging claims federal constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and several state law theories of recovery. (Doc. 1). Seymour filed his First Amended Complaint on October 26, 2022. (Doc. 21). Relevant to this motion, Seymour alleges the following claims against all Defendants: violations of his rights under the Montana Constitution, including the right to individual privacy; to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures; and not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law (Count 5); assault and battery (Count 6); and negligence (Count 7). (Doc. 21).

AMR moves to dismiss Count 5 on the ground that Montana law prohibits constitutional tort actions where adequate remedies exist under statutory or common law for injuries arising out of the same conduct. (Doc. 29; Doc. 30 at 2).

Outcome: Settled for an undisclosed sum and dismissed with prejudice.

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