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Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Civil Rights – Search & Seizure – Arrest – Probable Cause (access required)

Trapp v. Tolbert One of the perpetrators of a home invasion, Jermaine Belton, identified plaintiff as the other home invader. Although Belton changed his story at defendant’s trial, Belton’s new version of events runs counter not only to his statement to law enforcement but also to his pleading guilty under oath and affirming plaintiff’s participation in the crime.

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Elections – Civil Rights – National Voter Registration Act – Application Disclosure (access required)

Project Vote/Voting for America Inc. v. Long Virginia election officials violated the National Voter Registration Act by refusing to disclose completed voter registration applications with voters’ Social Security numbers redacted; the 4th Circuit affirms a district court decision that Section 8(i)(L) of the NVRA does apply to such applications and defendants violated the NVRA.

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Labor & Employment – Civil Rights – Discrimination Claims – Insubordination – Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies – Statute of Limitations (access required)

Capers v. Behr Heat Transfer Systems Even if plaintiff could make out a prima facie case of race discrimination, the defendant-employer has proffered a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for firing plaintiff: on top of her poor work record, she disobeyed her supervisor’s express instructions twice in six months.

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Prisons & Jails – Civil Rights – ‘3 Strikes’ Dismissal – Inmate’s Appeal (access required)

Henslee v. Keller In an inmate’s suit alleging prison barbers do not sanitize equipment and put inmates at risk for infection, the district court’s dismissal of the suit cannot act as “strike three” that prevents the inmate from gaining IFP status to appeal the dismissal; the 4th Circuit joins the majority of federal appellate courts to consider the question to hold that a district court dismissal may not act as a third strike under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

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Prisons & Jails – Civil Rights – Religion – Beard Policy – Health & Security Concerns (access required)

Couch v. Jabe Virginia prison officials failed to show how allowing a Sunni Muslim inmate to wear a one-eighth-inch beard would implicate prison health or security concerns, and the 4th Circuit vacates summary judgment for defendant officials in the inmate’s suit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

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Civil Rights – Schools & School Boards – Student Assignment Plan – Burden of Proof – Racial Disparities (access required)

Everett v. Pitt County Board of Ed. Parents’ groups that oppose a county school board’s 2011-2012 student assignment plan win their appeal in the 4th Circuit, which says the district court erred by failing to apply, and requiring the school board to rebut, a presumption that racial disparities in the assignment plan resulted from the school board’s prior unconstitutional operation of a racially segregated school district.

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Civil Rights – Malicious Prosecution – Qualified Immunity – Lack of Probable Cause – Impersonating a Police Officer (access required)

Merchant v. Bauer A Fairfax County police officer could not objectively and reasonably have believed plaintiff was impersonating a police officer in violation of a Virginia statute when plaintiff, a psychologist who served as deputy director of a Maryland county correctional department, had a badge in her pocket, used air quotes to refer to her county-provided “police car,” and told the officer he should show her professional courtesy; the 4th Circuit upholds a denial of qualified immunity to the officer.

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Civil Rights – Search & Seizure – Tort/Negligence – Trespass & Assault — Bail Bondsman – No Qualified Immunity (access required)

Gregg v. Ham A bail bondsman pursuing a fugitive in his home neighborhood must pay $100,000 to a disabled woman whose home the bondsman surveilled and searched; the 4th Circuit says the bail bondsman is not entitled to qualified immunity from the woman’s § 1983 claim and the district court did not err in submitting the immunity issue to the jury.

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Civil Rights – Private Company – Policy or Custom – Municipal – Tort/Negligence — Assault & Battery (access required)

Kinard v. City of Greenville Plaintiff does not identify a specific policy or custom of defendant American Services, Inc. pursuant to which defendant Mills acted when he allegedly assaulted plaintiff. Nor does plaintiff allege a direct causal link between any such policy or custom and his injuries. Plaintiff has not sufficiently pled a claim against American Services under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

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