Court cases relating to qualified immunity and related topics. Cases with this image are cases the Supreme Court has distributed for the May 15th conference, and include case summaries, our amicus brief, briefs of the parties, and the lower court opinion.
“It’s time for school! Wake up!” - Dallas Police Officer speaking to Tony Timpa, minutes before his death
"Placement facts still apply."
- Comprehensive list of reasons provided for Grissom's 20-year placement in solitary confinement across 25 monthly reviews.
"If we also factor in the prison administrators’ failure to provide any explanation for Hamner’s placement in administrative segregation for nearly five months and the hollow review process afforded him, I believe Hamner has shown a sufficient hardship to trigger a liberty interest. But, because I reluctantly conclude that our precedent precludes a finding of the existence of a clearly established constitutional right... I concur." -Judge Erickson
“Vickers is entitled to qualified immunity because... there was no clearly established law making it apparent to any reasonable officer in Vickers's shoes that his actions in firing at the dog and accidentally shooting [a child] would violate the Fourth Amendment.”
-11th Cir. Court of Appeals
If he’s in there, and you’re not telling us, you can get in trouble for that. Do you understand? Is he in there?
It was not clearly established in May 2014 that a deputy was forbidden to use a takedown maneuver to arrest a suspect who ignored the deputy’s instruction to “get back here” and continued to walk away from the officer.
-8th Circuit Court of Appeals
“Officer Harris was entitled to view Baxter’s position with his hands up with skepticism”
–Brief of Appellants Officer Spencer Harris and Officer Brad Bracey
“This is a new complaint. It needs to move quickly for processing. It’s a priority 1 with NO notice at any time.”
-Email from Belinda West of the Texas Medical Board, instructing employees to comply with a DEA request to obtain medical files from Dr. Zadeh’s office relevant to a criminal prosecution.
“We recognize that the allegation of any theft by police officers—most certainly the theft of over $225,000—is deeply disturbing. Whether that conduct violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures, however, would not “be ‘clear to a reasonable officer.’” …Accordingly, we hold that the City Officers are protected by qualified immunity against Appellants’ Fourth Amendment claim."
-9th Cir. Court of Appeals
Holding: The District Court held that fact issues precluded summary judgment on Fourth Amendment claim that officers failed to adequately attend to arrestee’s medical needs, fact issues precluded summary judgment on Monell claim, and fact issue precluded summary judgment on officers’ claim that they were entitled to discretionary qualified immunity.
Holding: The Court of Appeals held that the deputy alleged use of force, in pointing his gun at arrestee and threatening to kill him if he did not surrender, was excessive, but arrestee’s right not to have a gun pointed at him under the circumstances was not clearly established.
Holding: The Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit Judge held that the police officer’s act of performing a “takedown” of arrestee was objectively unreasonable, and thus violated arrestee’s constitutional rights. However, the police officer was entitled to qualified immunity on arrestee’s excessive force claim.
Holding: The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that defendants Chris Abbott, Craig Jensen, Jerry Miller, and Rodger MacFarlane are entitled to qualified immunity from further suit and damages.
Holding: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the suspect sufficiently pled that sexually invasive search was unreasonable and that the right to be free from unreasonable sexually invasive search was clearly established; but visual display of suspect’s genitalia was not intended to elicit sexual response in viewer, as required for suspect to recover damages as victim of offense of child pornography.
Holding: Where a special education middle school student, who had permission to leave the classroom if he was anxious or distracted, was arrested for skipping class, the officer was entitled to qualified immunity in a 1983 Fourth Amendment unlawful arrest claim because even though the officer lacked probable cause to arrest, there was no clearly established law at that time that would have given the officer notice that the arrest was unlawful.
Holding: The Court of Appeals Circuit Judge held that the police officer did not violate a clearly established right when he stopped the resident from engaging in religious conduct during investigation. The Court also held that the district court’s failure to recognize the resident’s alleged Frist Amendment claim was harmless, and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that granting plaintiff in 1983 action would be futile.
Holding: The Court of Appeals held that summary judgment in favor of non-shooting officers on qualified immunity grounds was not warranted and that summary judgment in favor of shooting officer on qualified immunity grounds was not warranted.
Holding: Although Plaintiff adequately alleged claims under Fourth Amendment for unreasonable seizure and excessive force, detaining officer was entitled to qualified immunity because it was not clearly established that officer needed probable cause to detain plaintiff or that force used in plaintiff’s particular situation was clearly unreasonable.
Holding: The Court of Appeals held that the deputies’ SWAT-style raid constituted unlawful seizure and violated the Fourth Amendment but that the deputies did not violate clearly established law regarding excessive force to execute a search warrant and were, therefore, entitled to qualified immunity.
Holding: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the social workers violated the right of parents and children to live together without governmental interference by taking children away from home without judicial authorization or emergency and that sealing summary judgment order granting qualified immunity to social workers was not warranted.
Holding: The Court of Appeals held that prison officials’ assignment of pretrial detainee, Almighty Supreme Born Allah, to administrative segregation violated his substantive due process rights and that the prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity.
Holding: Police officer’s use of deadly force on fleeing suspect was objectively unreasonable and violated the Fourth Amendment, but case law was not clearly established, so police officer is entitled to qualified immunity.