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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 […]

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. 15-01-0407, 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 26, 2015

Civil Rights — ‘Excessive Force’ Case Goes to Trial

Smith v. Ray (Lawyers Weekly No. 15-01-0267, 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 […]

Nov 6, 2014

Civil Rights — Due Process – Search & Seizure – Domestic Relations – Child Abuse Allegation – Qualified Immunity

Worlock v. County of Cumberland (Lawyers Weekly No. 14-02-1041, 7 pp.) (Terrence Boyle, J.) 4:14-cv-00102; E.D.N.C. Holding: While plaintiff was serving her country in Afghanistan, her children were removed from the custody of her husband and were not immediately returned to her upon her arrival at home; nevertheless, the defendant-social workers followed the statutory framework […]

Jun 14, 2012

Civil Rights – Constitutional – Due Process – Exculpatory Evidence – Withheld by Police – Civil Practice – Statutes of Limitations & Repose – Qualified Immunity –Tort/Negligence – Obstruction of Justice

Chapman v. Rhoney Even though North Carolina has a 10-year statute of repose for personal injury claims, the statute of repose does not apply to Reconstruction-Era civil rights claims.

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 27, 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 [...]

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