Appeals court rules Seth Adams' family's wrongful death case against PBSO can move forward

Upholding lower court ruling case can proceed
Posted at 3:06 PM, Nov 22, 2016

A federal appeals court ruled that a wrongful death suit against a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy and PBSO can move forward.

The lawsuit alleges that Sergeant Michael Custer used deadly force without justification when shooting and killing 24-year-old Seth Adams.

Adams was shot and killed by PBSO Deputy Custer on May 17, 2012, outside of his family’s nursery in Loxahatchee.

Custer had previously tried to have the case dismissed, but a lower court denied that request. The appeal court's ruling upholds that decision.

Adams was unarmed at the time he was shot and killed. His mother Lydia filed a wrongful death suit against the deputy and the sheriff’s office.

The Adams family lawyer, Wallace McCall, called the decision "a big win," saying "the appellate court ruled there is more than sufficient evidence for us to prove this shooting was unjustified."

McCall told Contact 5 Custer violated Adams' rights the night he was killed. "Seth was on his own property, unarmed, and was posing no threat whatsoever to Custer," said McCall. 

The case will continue in federal court early next year.

“We are pleased that the Appellate Court agreed that there is no physical evidence to support Sergeant Custer’s version of events,” said McCall. 

In their decision, the court said Custer "had no reason to believe that Adams was armed, or attempted to obtain a weapon," calling it an unreasonable shooting.

“We look forward to trial so that the public will be able to understand what really happened that night.”