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Estate of Snyder v. Julian

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

June 18, 2015

Estate of Zachary Snyder; E.S., Next Friend Amanda Pryor; C.S., Next Friend Amanda Pryor; M.L.E.M., Next Friend Amanda Pryor; M.O., Next Friend Amanda Pryor, Plaintiffs - Appellees,
v.
Steven Julian, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted December 11, 2014

Page 884

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis.

For Estate of Zachary Snyder, Plaintiff - Appellee: John M. Albright, Albright Law Ltd., Poplar Bluff, MO; Stephen E. Walsh, Moore & Walsh, Poplar Bluff, MO; Dennis P. Wilson, Dexter, MO.

For E.S., Next Friend Amanda Pryor, C.S., Next Friend Amanda Pryor, M.L.E.M., Next Friend Amanda Pryor M.O., Next Friend Amanda Pryor, Plaintiffs - Appellees: John M. Albright, Albright Law Ltd., Poplar Bluff, MO.

For Steven Julian, Defendant - Appellant: Robert J. Isaacson, Assistant Attorney General, Mary Delworth Morris, Attorney General's Office, Saint Louis, MO.

Before WOLLMAN, COLLOTON, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 885

COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.

Zachary Snyder was shot and killed by Steven Julian, a parole officer in Missouri, when Julian was arresting Snyder for violating terms of his parole. Snyder's estate and his four minor children, through Amanda Pryor, their next friend, sued Julian under Missouri's wrongful death statute and under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

A jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on the wrongful death claim, awarding $1 million in damages, but in favor of Julian on the § 1983 claim. The district court[1] denied Julian's post-trial motion for relief, and Julian appeals the judgment. We conclude that there was sufficient evidence to defeat Julian's motion for judgment as a matter of law, and that the damages award did not require a new trial. We therefore affirm.

I.

Because the appeal concerns sufficiency of the evidence, we recite the facts in the light most favorable to the Estate and Snyder's children. In 2007, Zachary Snyder was on parole in Missouri after serving sentences for possession of a controlled substance and automobile theft. In 2008, the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole determined that Snyder had absconded and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Julian was an employee of the Fugitive Apprehension Unit of the Board of Probation and Parole, and he was assigned to apprehend Snyder. On an evening in February 2008, Julian received a telephone call from a woman informing him that Snyder was at an apartment in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Julian drove to the ...


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