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Qualified Immunity

Oct 30, 2020

4th Circuit: No qualified immunity for cop who was speeding

A police officer who was driving at nearly twice the posted speed limit isn’t entitled to immunity from a lawsuit stemming from the resulting car crash because he wasn’t responding to any genuine emergency, a divided 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, once again showing restraint when asked to apply a legal doctrine […]

Aug 3, 2016

Civil Rights — Qualified Immunity Reversed for Police Officers

Graham v. Gagnon (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-132-16, 29 pp.) (Floyd, J.) No. 15-1521, July 27, 2016; USDC at Alexandria, Va. (Ellis, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: The 4th Circuit reverses summary judgment for defendant police officers in a woman’s suit alleging the officers violated her Fourth Amendment rights by arresting her without probable cause for obstruction […]

May 6, 2015

Civil Rights — No Clear Standard on Mental Health Detention

Raub v. Campbell (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-078-15, 23 pp.) (Diaz, J.) No. 14-1277, April 29, 2015; USDC at Richmond, Va. (Hudson, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: A mental health evaluator has qualified immunity in this civil rights suit filed by an ex-Marine who was detained for seven days based on the evaluator’s recommendation to a Virginia […]

Mar 25, 2015

Civil Rights — ‘Excessive Force’ Case Goes to Trial

Smith v. Ray (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-053-15, 24 pp.) (Traxler, J.) No. 12-1503, March 18, 2015; USDC at Norfolk, Va. (Miller, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: A Virginia Beach police officer accused of grabbing a woman, who merely answered his knock in a search for a juvenile, slamming her to the ground and twisting her arm […]

Oct 10, 2012

Civil Rights – False Arrest – Probable Cause – Qualified Immunity

Mallory v. Holdorf The defendant-officers assert that (1) their investigation led to a timeline of events that gave plaintiff sufficient opportunity to murder his wife; (2) there were no signs of forced entry at the crime scene; (3) a neighbor reported hearing a domestic argument between a man and a woman...

May 2, 2012

Civil Rights – Malicious Prosecution – Qualified Immunity – Lack of Probable Cause – Impersonating a Police Officer

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 [...]

Mar 8, 2012

Civil Rights – Constitutional – First Amendment – Free Speech – Abortion Protest – Qualified Immunity

Lefemine, d/b/a Columbia Christians for Life v. Wideman The 4th Circuit upholds a judgment that a local sheriff’s department violated a pro-life group’s First Amendment rights when officers asked group members not to display “large, graphic signs” with aborted fetuses as part of a roadside demonstration, but the appellate court also upholds qualified immunity for defendants.

Jul 28, 2011

Civil Rights – Constitutional – Fourth Amendment – Qualified Immunity – Strip Search – After Ion Scan  

Braun v. Maynard Maryland prison officials who used ion scanning to screen employees and performed vehicle searches and strip searches of those who tested positive for drug residue have qualified immunity from the employees’ suit alleging violation of their Fourth Amendment rights; the 4th Circuit says no clearly established federal law put defendant officers on notice the scan results [...]

Jul 20, 2011

Civil Rights – Qualified Immunity – Unavailable – Police Officer – Fleeing Suspect – Failure to Pay Child Support – Grabbing Glock Instead of Taser

Henry v. Purnell A deputy who mistook his pistol for a Taser can be sued for shooting an unarmed, fleeing suspect; on rehearing, the en banc 4th Circuit says a jury could find that the deputy’s mistake was “objectively unreasonable” because he should have realized he had grabbed a .40 caliber Glock handgun and there was no threat from the man he was chasing for failure to pay child [...]

Feb 25, 2011

Judge tosses Navy brig prisoner’s tort lawsuit

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit in which a man convicted of plotting terrorism blamed top federal officials for a variety of alleged constitutional torts, including torture in a Navy brig in Charleston. U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel said Jose Padilla had no private cause of action for damages and that the defendants, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and brig officials, had q[...]

Feb 23, 2011

Civil Rights – Constitutional – Bivens Claim – Unrecognized – Enemy Combatant – U.S. Citizen – U.S. Seizure – Qualified Immunity

Lebron v. Rumsfeld. The court declines to recognize a new kind of federal litigation that would encompass plaintiffs' claims regarding Jose Padilla's detention, isolation and allegedly harsh interrogation. Defendants' . . .

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