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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE, NORTHERN DIVISION
CYNTHIA RIDINGER, Individually, and as the Surviving Spouse, )
and Next of Kin of Henry C. Taylor, Jr. (Deceased), )
)
Plaintiff, )
v. ) Civil Action No.
) _______________
ERNEST K. RAGLAND, (in his individual capacity); and )
JAMES BERRONG, (individually and his official capacity as )
Sheriff of Blount County, Tennessee); and )
BLOUNT COUNTY, TENNESSEE, )
)
Defendants.
COMPLAINT
Comes now the plaintiff, Cynthia Ridinger, individually and as the surviving spouse and
next of kin of Henry C. Taylor, Jr. (deceased) and files her Complaint against the defendants,
Earnest K. Ragland, in his individual capacity, James Berrong, individually and in his official
capacity as Sheriff of Blount County, Tennessee and Blount County, Tennessee, and would state and
support thereof as follows:
I. INTRODUCTION
1. This is an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1988, the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; the Governmental Tort Liability Act
(Tenn. Code Ann. 29-20-101, et seq, hereinafter referred to as GTLA); and the common laws of
Tennessee; arising out of the shooting death of Henry C. Taylor, Jr. as a result of the actions and
inactions of the above-referenced Defendants, all of whom were acting under color of state law.
The Plaintiff respectfully reserves the right to further amend this pleadings as future discovery might
dictate.
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II. PARTIES
2. The Plaintiff, Cynthia Ridinger, is the surviving spouse and next of kin of Henry
Taylor. She brings this suit on behalf of herself, individually, the Decedent, and the Decedents
beneficiaries. Ms. Ridinger is a United States citizen and resident of Knox County, Tennessee.
3. The Defendant, Ernest K. Ragland is a Deputy employed by the Blount County
Sheriffs Office, is over the age of 18, and upon information and belief is a resident in or conducts
business in Blount County, Tennessee and is being sued in his individual capacity. The Defendant
Ragland may be served with process at his residence at 819 Wilson Road, Maryville, Tennessee
37801 or at his place of employment the Blount County Sheriffs Office, 940 E. Lamar Alexander
Parkway, Maryville, Tennessee 37804.
4. The Defendant, James Berrong, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Blount
County, Tennessee is sued on the basis of the acts of officers, agents, and employees of the Blount
County Sheriffs Office, which were taken pursuant to official policy, practice, and/or custom. At
all times relevant herein, the officers, deputies, employees and agents of Blount County Sheriffs
Office were acting under the color of law. The Defendant Berrong may be served at the Blount
County Sheriffs Department in his official capacity at 940 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville,
Tennessee 37804 and Blount County Attorney Craig Garrett as agent at 607 Smithview Drive,
Maryville, Tennessee 37803.
5. Defendant, Blount County, Tennessee, is a political subdivision of the State of
Tennessee. James Berrong is the Sheriff of Blount County and any allegation concerning him is in
fact an allegation against Blount County. The Defendant Blount County may be served with process
by and through the county Mayor Ed Mitchell at 341 Court Street, Maryville, Tennessee 37804 and
County Attorney Craig Garrett as agent at 607 Smithview Drive, Maryville, Tennessee 37803.
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III. JURISDICTION AND VENUE
6. This is an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1988, the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; Article I, sections 8 and 17 of the
Tennessee Constitution, the Governmental Tort Liability Act (Tenn. Code Ann. 29-20-101, et seq,
hereinafter referred to as GTLA); Tenn. Code Ann. 8-8-302, and the common laws of
Tennessee.
7. Jurisdiction is proper in this Honorable Court pursuant to federal question
jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. 1331, 28 U.S.C. 1343(a)(3)(4), and 28 U.S.C. 1983. The Plaintiff
further invokes the supplemental jurisdiction of this court to decide claims arising under Tennessee
state law pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1367.
8. Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391(b) as all defendants
reside in this district, and the cause of action and all relevant events took place in this district.
9. That Tenn. Code Ann. 8-8-103 requires the Sheriff to enter into an official bond.
Based upon the allegations set forth in this Complaint, the issuer of the bond is responsible for the
actions of the Sheriff and his deputies.
IV. STATEMENT OF FACTS
10. On and prior to August 21, 2013, the Plaintiff, Cynthia Ridinger and her husband
Henry Taylor, owned the property located at 1856 Mentor Road in Blount County, Tennessee. The
property consisted of a vacant house, a detached garage, and two out buildings. The Plaintiffs
resided a very short distance away at 3348 Clear Springs Way.
11. On August 20, 2013, the Plaintiffs reported that the property at 1856 Mentor
Road had been burglarized. A report of this burglary was taken by a Deputy employed by the
Defendants Berrong and Blount County.
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12. Again, on August 21, 2013, the Plaintiffs discovered and reported that the
property at 1856 Mentor Road had been burglarized.
13. At approximately 7:00 p.m. on August 21, 2013, the Defendant Ragland went to
1856 Mentor Road and spoke with the Plaintiff Cynthia Ridinger and made a report regarding the
second burglary.
14. The Defendant Ragland was aware that the Plaintiffs resided a very short distance
away on Clear Springs Road.
15. Later, Henry Taylor arrived home from work and was advised by his wife, the
Plaintiff Ridinger, that the property at 1856 Mentor Road had been burglarized again.
16. At approximately 9:30 p.m. on August 21, 2013, the Decedent Taylor went to his
property located at 1856 Mentor Road to check and see what, if anything, was missing due to the
earlier burglary.
17. The Decedent Taylor carried a flashlight and was lawfully armed with a small
pistol.
18. When the Decedent Taylor arrived at 1856 Mentor Road, he entered his detached
garage to investigate whether damage had been done or items were missing.
19. The power supply to his detached garage had been previously cut by the alleged
burglars so there was no lighting whatsoever in his detached garage.
20. At approximately 10:00 p.m. on August 21, 2013, the Defendant Ragland decided
to perform a self-initiated property check on the property owned by the Plaintiffs at 1856 Mentor
Road in Blount County, Tennessee.
21. Unannounced, the Defendant Ragland drove his Blount County Sheriffs
Department cruiser on to the property owned by the Plaintiffs at 1856 Mentor Road.
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22. Deputy Ragland parked his police cruiser next to the detached garage on
Plaintiffs property at 1856 Mentor Road.
23. The only door leading in and out of the detached garage was facing Deputy
Raglands cruiser.
24. When Deputy Ragland arrived, it was dark outside and there was no lighting
illuminating the powerless detached garage owned by the Plaintiffs.
25. Although the Defendant Ragland saw nothing suspicious or out of the ordinary
upon his arrival on the Plaintiffs property, he nevertheless drew his semi-automatic glock pistol
upon exiting his vehicle.
26. Rather than check the house or outbuildings, the Defendant Ragland chose to
investigate the Plaintiffs detached garage.
27. Rather than check the only door into or out of the detached garage, the Defendant
Ragland decided to walk to the back side of the garage and look in a window. This window was on
the opposite side of the detached garage from the location of Defendant Raglands cruiser.
28. Upon looking in the window, the Defendant Ragland claims to have seen a figure
with a pistol.
29. Without identifying himself as a police officer and without giving any warnings to
the Decedent Taylor whatsoever, the Defendant Ragland immediately began firing his semi-
automatic pistol through the window and wall of the detached garage at his unidentified target, the
Decedent Taylor.
30. The Defendant Ragland fired at least 11 bullets at the Decedent Taylor and one of
the bullets penetrated and killed the Decedent Taylor.
31. At the time the Defendant Ragland killed the Decedent Taylor, it was dark both
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inside and outside of the Plaintiffs garage and the Defendant Ragland was unable to properly
identify his target and the Defendant Ragland made no effort to identify his target.
32. The Defendants, Berrong and Blount County had a custom, policy, and practice in
place where their employees and agents did not announce themselves as law enforcement officers
when performing property checks.
33. No verbal commands or warnings were given by the Defendant Ragland to the
Decedent Taylor prior to the Defendant Ragland shooting and killing the Decedent Taylor.
34. At the time of the shooting by the Defendant Ragland, the Decedent Taylor posed
no immediate threat and was lawfully within his own premises/property.
35. The Decedent Taylor never verbally or physically posed any threat of imminent
death or bodily injury to the Defendant Ragland.
36. The Decedent Taylor never verbally of physically posed any threat of imminent
death or bodily injury to himself or any other person.
37. At the time of the shooting, the Decedent Taylor was not evading arrest or
attempting escape.
38. At the time of the shooting, the Decedent Taylor was not a subject or suspect of
any law enforcement investigation.
39. At the time of the shooting, the Defendant Ragland was acting as an on-duty
employee of the Defendants Berrong and Blount County.
40 The Defendant Raglands shooting and killing of the Decedent Taylor was
performed without reason or provocation.
41. The August 21, 2013 shooting resulted in the death of the Decedent Taylor.
42. With full knowledge that the Defendant Ragland had shot the property owner,
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Decedent Taylor, the agents and employees of the Defendants, Berrong and Blount County,
unreasonably delayed providing any medical assistance to the Decedent Taylor, as he lay dying in
his own garage.
43. The shooting above-described, was conducted under the supervision of one or
more senior officers in the Blount County Sheriffs Department and was immediately ratified by the
Defendant Berrong who gave public statements asserting the propriety of shooting Henry Taylor in
the manner and amount herein mentioned.
44. The immediate pronouncements of the Defendant Berrong notwithstanding, the
attack on Henry Taylor and the shooting of Henry Taylor were without cause and with unreasonable
and excessive force and deliberate indifference to his safety, health, and life.
45. By deliberately and intentionally shooting numerous rounds directly at the
Decedent Henry Taylor, the Defendant Ragland intended to and did cause serious injury and death
to Henry Taylor. Such actions were in conscious and reckless disregard of the risk of injury and
death and under the circumstances there was no objectively reasonable basis for the Defendants
actions in killing the Decedent Henry Taylor.
46. Reasonable alternatives were available to the Defendant to learn the identity of
Henry Taylor, to learn his residence, to question and otherwise communicate with him, and to
confirm that he was not a danger to Defendant Ragland or any other members of the community.
47. The death of Henry Taylor was the proximate and legal result of shooting him
without having taken proper and procedural steps to identify Henry Taylor and himself and
otherwise ascertain that Henry Taylor was lawfully and peacefully on his own property/premises.
48. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that the Defendants herein and other officers
employed by or acting on behalf of the Defendants concealed and falsified material or information
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and otherwise attempted to cover up Defendant Raglands misconduct, violations of Constitutional
rights and other tortious and unlawful actions. It is believed that this cover up began while the
Defendants knowingly allowed the Decedent Taylor to lie mortally wounded in his own garage.
49. The Plaintiff asserts that the Defendant Ragland panicked due to the lack of
professionalism and training regarding the proper use of force and acted as he did with the
use of deadly force because he simply saw something in the garage that he could not identify and
began shooting indiscriminately.
50. Because the Defendant Raglands conduct unreasonably created the underlying
alleged need to use deadly force, such use of force was unreasonable even if the Defendant Ragland
subjectively believed such force was necessary to prevent death or severe bodily injury.
51. Unconstitutional and unprofessional conduct such as that involved here, that
precipitates an alleged need to use deadly force violates the Decedent Taylors Fourth Amendment
rights and such use of force was unreasonable given the totality of the circumstances which existed
at the time.
52. At all times pertinent to the events alleged herein, the Defendant Ragland did
fail to adhere to proper standards of professional police conduct and was plainly incompetent in his
actions as described and violated the Constitutional Rights of the Decedent Taylor as guaranteed by
the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article 1 sections 8
and 17 of the Tennessee Constitution.
53. Just before shooting the Decedent Taylor, the Defendant Ragland, through his
plain incompetency, unconstitutional and unprofessional conduct had unreasonably created a
physically threatening situation for the Decedent. Under these circumstances, he can not be
immunized for the use of the deadly force which was employed against the Decedent.
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54. Because of his own incompetency and due to unauthorized, unprofessional, and
unreasonable conduct, all of which violated the Decedent Taylors constitutional rights under the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, the Defendant Ragland used deadly force against the Decedent
when it was not objectionably reasonable to do so.
55. At the time and place in question, the Decedent Henry Taylor did not recognize
the Defendant Ragland as a law enforcement official and did not even know that the Defendant
Ragland was on his property.
56. Under the circumstances existing at the time and place in question, no reasonable
officer could have believed that the Decedent Taylors actions were unlawful or that the use of
deadly force against him was justified.
57. The actions of the Defendant Ragland violated the following clearly established
and well settled Federal and State Constitutional rights of Decedent Taylor:
a. Freedom from unreasonable seizure of his person;
b. Freedom from the use of excessive unreasonable and unjustified force against his
person;
c. Deprivation of life and liberty without due process of law.
58. As a direct and proximate result of the acts of the Defendant Ragland, the
Decedent suffered the following injuries and damages:
a. A violation of his Constitutional Rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article 1 section 8 of the Tennessee Constitution
to be free from unreasonable search and seizure of his person;
b. Physical pain and suffering and emotional trauma and suffering;
c. Loss of life.
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COUNT I
42 U.S.C. 1983
DEFENDANT ERNEST RAGLAND in his individual capacity
59. Plaintiff Cynthia Ridinger claims damages for the wrongful death of her husband
and seeks damages for the full value of the life of Henry Taylor in her capacity as his heir at law and
surviving spouse.
60. This is a cause of action for violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983
against the Defendants and for damages.
61. The Plaintiff re-alleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 57
above, as if fully set forth herein.
62. The Plaintiff Decedent Henry Taylor has a right under the Constitution of the
United States to be secure from unlawful restraint of his person and liberty, which may be
restricted only upon due process of law under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United
States Constitution.
63. Additionally, the Plaintiff Decedent Taylor has the right under the United States
Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee to be free from the use of excessive
force and battery.
64. The Plaintiff Decedent Taylor also has the right to be free from wrongful search
and seizure.
65. The Plaintiff Decedent Taylor was wrongfully searched and seized on August 23,
2013.
66. The Defendant Ernest Ragland, under color of law, violated Plaintiffs well
established Constitutional right to be free from excessive force.
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67. The Defendant Ernest Raglands use of excessive force, killing the Plaintiff
Decedent Henry Taylor, was greater force than reasonable and/or necessary, malicious in
purpose, and a display of wanton and willful disregard for the rights and safety of the Plaintiff
Decedent Henry Taylor. No police officer in Ernest Raglands position could have thought that the
facts were such that the actions of Defendant Ragland were objectively reasonable.
68. On or about August 21, 2013, the Defendant Ernest Ragland under the color of
law and as an employee of the Defendants Berrong and Blount County, deprived Plaintiff
Decedent Henry Taylor of his rights under the United States Constitution in violation of 42
U.S.C. 1983, in that, without probable cause that Plaintiff Decedent Taylor had committed a
violation of law the Defendant Ernest Ragland shot the Plaintiff Decedent Henry Taylor causing the
Plaintiffs death.
69. The Defendant Ernest Ragland had no legal right to prosecute, touch, batter or
cause the death of the Plaintiff Taylor.
70. The Defendant Ernest Raglands actions were wrongful, illegal and excessive
force was used.
71. The Defendant Ernest Raglands actions were malicious, deliberately violent, or
oppressive.
72. The primary, obvious and sole purpose of the illegal and wrongful actions of
Defendant Ernest Ragland was to deprive and infringe upon the Plaintiff Taylors constitutional
rights. As a result, Plaintiff was deprived of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution. Violation of these rights entitles the Plaintiff to an
award of damages for loss of those rights and the damages that resulted therefrom.
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73. The Defendant Ernest Ragland took the actions complained of above with
knowledge that the actions were in direct violation of the United States Constitution and the rights
of Plaintiff. The acts of the Defendant Ernest Ragland violated the clearly established constitutional
rights of the Plaintiff, rights of which every reasonable member of the public or governmental entity
should have known.
74. The Defendant Ernest Ragland knew that his actions would deprive Plaintiff of his
Constitutional rights, but proceeded with the unlawful actions with willful disregard for the
consequences of this actions.
75. Plaintiff has suffered damages as a result of his Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights being violated including the loss of his life.
COUNT II
42 U.S.C. 1983
DEFENDANTS SHERIFF BERRONG AND BLOUNT COUNTY
76. This is a cause of action for violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983
against the Defendants, Sheriff Berrong and Blount County, Tennessee.
77. The Plaintiff re-alleges the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 57
above, as if fully set forth herein.
78. On or about August 21, 2013, the Defendant Sheriff Berrong and the Defendant
Blount County, Tennessee through its employees and agents, acting in the course and scope of their
duties, deprived the Plaintiff Decedent Henry Taylor of his rights under the United States
Constitution in violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983, in that the Plaintiff Decedent Henry Taylor was
illegally detained, restrained, touched and battered thereby causing Plaintiff Decedent Henry
Taylors death.
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79. The Defendants, Sheriff Berrong and Blount County through its employees and
agents acting in the course and scope of their duties, took the actions complained of above with
knowledge that the actions were in direct violation of the United States Constitution and the rights
of Plaintiff Henry Taylor. The acts of the Defendants, violated the constitutional rights of the
Plaintiff.
80. The Defendants, Sheriff Berrong and Blount County are responsible for the acts of
its deputies.
81. The Defendants, Sherif Berrong and Blount County, Tennessee had a custom,
policy and practice in place that allowed his police officers to use excessive force on citizens
without proper legal jurisdiction.
82. The Defendants Sheriff Berrong and Blount County, Tennessee had a custom
policy and practice in place that allowed his police officers to knock on doors and perform property
checks without announcing their law enforcement status thereby foreseeably causing a danger to the
officers and to the citizens of Blount County.
83. Further, it is Defendants Sheriff Berrong and Blount Counties custom to apply
force in such a way that it maximizes injury to the citizen, when in all reasonable circumstances,
lesser application of force using the same technique would satisfy the objective and yield less or no
injury.
84. The actions of the Defendant Ernest Ragland were done under the color of law
pursuant to the official policy, customs and practice of the Defendants Sheriff Berrong and Blount
County, Tennessee.
85. The Defendants Berrong and Blount County, Tennessees policies, customs, and
procedures, or lack thereof, were the driving force causing the Defendant Ernest Ragland to act as
described herein including to use unnecessary force, and to restrain and injure.
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86. The Defendants Sheriff Berrong and Blount County, Tennessee approved and/or
ratified the unlawful and deliberate conduct of the Defendant Ernest Ragland.
87. As a direct result of the Defendants Sheriff Berrong and Blount Counties, policies,
customs, and procedures, the Plaintiff Henry Taylor suffered damages, including the loss of his life.
88. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that the Defendants Sheriff Berrong and
Blount County, Tennessee maintained customs, policies, and/or practices whereby Blount County
Sheriffs Officers were encouraged, authorized and/or permitted to engage in repeated civil rights
violations such as undertaking unreasonable searches and seizures, preparing and filing false police
reports, and subjecting innocent citizens to unlawful shootings and excessive force.
89. The Defendants Sheriff Berrong and Blount County maintained customs, policies,
and/or practices whereby they failed to fully and/or fairly investigate alleged police misconduct so
that appropriate and timely disciplinary action and/or training could be taken regarding officers
shown to have utilized excessive force and the defendants failed to properly remove or terminate
officers who violated the rights of citizens or engage in the types of misconduct alleged herein.
90. The incident described herein was caused by the deliberate indifference of the
Defendants Sheriff Berrong and Blount County, or other high-ranking Sheriff Department officials
with regard to the need for more or different training regarding use of force, as well as disciplining
of the police officers.
91. Plaintiffs are further informed and believe and there fore allege that the damages
sustained as alleged herein were the direct and proximate result of the Defendants Berrong and
Blount County, Tennessees customs and/or policies and deliberate indifference in the training,
retraining, supervision and/or discipline of members of the Blount County Sheriffs Department,
including the Defendant Ernest Ragland. The actions of the Defendant Ernest Ragland conformed
to official policy, custom or practice of the Defendants Sheriff Berrong and Blount County.
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92. The aforementioned customs, policies or practices of the Defendants Sheriff
Berrong and Blount County, Tennessee resulted in the deprivation of the Plaintiffs Constitution
rights.
93. As a result of the Defendants Berrong and Blount County, Tennessees failure to
provide officers with standard operating procedures governing their conduct, and as a result of
failing to demonstrate to them accountability for violations of proper police procedure, including
procedures pertaining to their lawful authority, the use of force and proper use of firearms,
individual officers, and particularly the Defendant Ragland, believed that his actions would not be
properly monitored by supervisory officers and that any misconduct he committed would not be
investigated or sanctioned, but instead would be tolerated and ratified without any accountability,
which is what ultimately occurred regarding the shooting death of the Plaintiff Decedent Henry
Taylor.
94. The Defendants Berrong and Blount County had a custom, policy and/or practice
of deliberately failing to perform adequate internal affairs investigations of officer involved
shootings and excessive use of force and then internally exonerating the involved officers so that the
individual officers, including the Defendant Ragland believed that their actions would not be
properly monitored and that any misconduct would not be investigated or sanctioned, but instead
would be tolerated and ratified without any accountability. Included in this custom, policy and/or
practice is the failure to investigate and prepare an internal affairs report with findings, conclusions
and recommendations regarding officer involved shootings and the failure to require officers to
submit use of force reports following officer involved shootings. These practices directly caused
the misconduct of Defendant Ragland complained of herein.
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COUNT III
WRONGFUL DEATH
(AGAINST SHERIFF BERRONG IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY
AND BLOUNT COUNTY)
95. The Defendant Blount County, Tennessee is a governmental entity as defined by
Tenn. Code Ann. 29-20-101 et seq. (GTLA). The Defendant Sheriff Berrong is sued in his
official capacity.
96. The GTLA exposes Tennessee municipalities to vicarious liability for injury
proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of any employee within the scope of his
employment, as long as such acts do not fall within any of the statutes express exceptions.
97. To the extent this cause of action arises out of anything other than civil rights
violations (as contemplated by Tenn. Code Ann. 29-20-205(2)), none of the GTLAs enumerated
exceptions applies to this case.
98. The Defendant Ragland is a governmental employee as defined by
Tenn. Code Ann. 29-20-101 et seq. (The GTLA).
99. The Defendant Ragland was not performing discretionary functions during the
course of the shooting incident described in this Complaint.
100. The Defendant Ragland had a duty to exercise reasonable care toward the citizens
he encountered in the course of his employment, including the Plaintiff Decedent Henry Taylor.
101. Specifically, the Defendant Ragland had a duty to use only that degree of force
necessary under the circumstances and to reserve deadly force as a last resort.
102. The Defendant Ragland also had a duty to refrain from employing his firearms
when he could not identify the target in the dark.
103. The Defendant Ragland had a duty to identify himself and warn the Plaintiff
Decedent Henry Taylor prior to shooting multiple times through the wall and window.
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104. Before resorting to deadly force, the Defendant Ragland also had a duty to
generally assess and appreciate the tactical and technical disadvantages of his surroundings and
environment and to weigh those factors against the perceived danger (if any) potentially posed by
the Plaintiff Decedent Taylor.
105. The Defendant Ragland also had a duty to reasonably assess and appreciated the
real risk of imminent, serious bodily harm before resorting to deadly force.
106. Before resorting to multiple rapid firing, the Defendant Ragland had a duty to
appreciate the totality of the circumstances, including the low visibility.
107. The Defendant Ragland breached these and other duties by his negligent
mismanagement of the encounter with the Plaintiff Decedent Taylor as Taylor stood lawfully in his
own garage posing no threat to anyone before he was shot dead.
108. As a direct and proximate result of these and other breaches, the Plaintiff
Decedent Taylor suffered severe injuries and death, for which the Defendants Sheriff Berrong and
Blount County, Tennessee are vicariously liable.
COUNT IV
NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION AND TRAINING
(AGAINST DEFENDANTS BERRONG AND BLOUNT COUNTY, TENNESSEE)
109. Blount County, Tennessee is a governmental entity as defined by
Tenn. Code Ann. 29-20-101 et seq. (The GTLA). The Defendant Sheriff Berrong is sued in his
official capacity as Sheriff of Blount County, Tennessee.
110. The GTLA exposes Tennessee municipalities to vicarious liability for injury
proximately caused by a negligent act or omission of any employee within the scope of his
employment, as long as such acts do not fall within any of the statutes express exceptions.
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111. To the extent this cause of action arises out of anything other than civil rights
violations (as contemplated by Tenn. Code Ann. 29-20-205(2), none of the GTLAs enumerated
exceptions applies to this case.
112. At all times herein, Sheriff Berrong was a governmental employee as defined by
the GTLA.
113. The Defendants Blount County and Berrong had a duty to exercise reasonable
care toward the citizens of Blount County in the course and scope of their employment.
114. The Defendants Blount County and Sheriff Berrong had a duty to adequately train
and supervise their police officers. These Defendants breached that duty regarding use of force
training.
115. All of the training failures and inadequate training policies alleged in the
Complaint are fully incorporated here. The Defendants Blount County and Sheriff Berrong had
actual or constructive knowledge of each of these policies and failures. To the extent these policies
and failures fall short of violating the Plaintiff Decedent Taylor civil rights, they constitute breaches
of the duties Blount County and Sheriff Berrong owed to the Plaintiff Decedent Taylor and other
citizens.
116. As a direct and proximate result of those and other breaches, the Plaintiff
Decedent Taylor suffered severe injuries and death, for which Blount County is vicariously liable.

COUNT V
TENN. CODE. ANN. 8-8-302
(AGAINST DEFENDANT SHERIFF BERRONG AND
BLOUNT COUNTY, TENNESSEE)
117. That Tenn Code Ann. 8-8-802 authorizes suits against any County within the state
of Tennessee to be brought by Anyone incurring any wrong, injury, loss, damage or expense
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resulting from any act or failure to act on the part of any deputy on the part of any deputy appointed
by the sheriff may bring suit against the county in which the sheriff serves; provided, that the deputy
is, at the time of such occurrence, acting by virtue of or under color of the office
118. That Defendant Ragland is a deputy appointed by the sheriff for purposes of the
statute,
119. That at all times relevant to the allegations contained in this Complaint, Defendant
Ragland was acting in his capacity as a Blount County Sheriffs deputy and under color of state law,
120. That Defendant Ragland acted by virtue or under color of office in depriving
Decedent Taylor of his without due process of law as specified herein in violation of the 5 and 14
th th
Amendments to the United States Constitution, in addition to Articule I, Section 8 of the Tennessee
Constitution,
121. That accordingly, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 8-8-302, Defendants Sheriff
Berrong and Blount County are liable for any and all tortious conduct of Defendant Ragland
committed while Defendant Ragland was acting by virtue of or under color of office.
COUNT VI
COMMON LAW NEGLIGENCE
(AGAINST DEFENDANT RAGLAND IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITIES, PLED IN THE
ALTERNATIVE TO MUNICIPAL LIABILITY UNDER THE GTLA)
122. To the extent the Defendants Blount County and Berrong retain their sovereign
immunity under the GTLA, the Plaintiff reasserts her claims of common law negligence and
wrongful death in their entirety and imputes them to the Defendant Ragland personally.
COUNT VII
ASSAULT AND BATTERY
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(AGAINST DEFENDANT RAGLAND IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY

123. The Defendant Ragland committed an assault upon the Plaintiff Decedent Taylor
when he placed the Plaintiff in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery.
124. The Defendant Ragland committed a battery upon the Plaintiff when, without
provocation or reasonable justification, he shot and killed the Plaintiff Decedent Taylor.
125. The shooting was performed knowingly, intentionally and willfully.
COUNT VIII
DAMAGES
126. The Plaintiff reasserts and incorporates all previous paragraphs.
127. As a direct and proximate result of the actions and inactions of all of the
Defendants as described in this Complaint, the Decedent, Henry Taylor suffered foreseeable severe
bodily injury and death.
128. As a direct and result of the actions and inactions of all of the Defendants as
described in this Complaint, the Plaintiff, Cynthia Ridinger, suffered severe injuries and damages
including the loss of her husband, loss of consortium and her husbands services and society, severe
emotional and mental anguish, and considerable financial expense.
129. On behalf of herself, the Decedent Henry Taylor, and the Decedents beneficiary,
the Plaintiff seeks to recover any and all damages allowable at sate and federal law, including:
(a) Compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at
trial for physical pain and suffering, emotional pain and suffering, medical expenses, funeral and
burial expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium
and services of Decedent to all of his wrongful death beneficiaries, loss of life (pecuniary value) and
negligent infliction of emotional distress;
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(b) Attorneys fees and costs pursuant to Federal and Tennessee law;
(c) Pre- and post-judgment interest as permitted by law;
(d) All other damages that this Court may find just and proper.
130. The Plaintiff respectfully requests a trial by jury for all issues so triable.
Respectfully Submitted,
By: s/M. Christopher Coffey
M. Christopher Coffey (TN BPR 016033)
Attorney for Plaintiff
Pryor, Flynn, Priest & Harber
Two Centre Square, Suite 600
625 Gay Street
P.O. Box 870
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901
mccoffey@knoxvillelaw.com
865-522-4191 - Phone
865-522-0910 - Fax
By: s/Gregory P. Isaacs
Gregory P. Isaacs (TN BPR 013282)
Andrea O. Mohr (TN BPR 028232)
Attorney for Plaintiff
The Isaacs Law Firm
618 S. Gay Street, Suite 300
P.O. Box 2448
Knoxville, Tennessee 37901
gpi@isaacslawfirm.com
andrea@isaacslawfirm.com
865-673-4953 - Phone
865-673-4950 - Fax

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