Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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Plumhoff v. Rickard

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: November 15, 2013
Case #: 11-5266
Court Below: 6th Cir. 2012
Full Text Opinion: http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/12a1178n-06.pdf

Constitutional Law: (1) Whether the Sixth Circuit incorrectly denied qualified immunity to Petitioner and (2) whether the force used by Petitioner was reasonable.

Police pulled over Respondent's father for a broken headlight. Respondent's father fled and was eventually shot down by the police. Respondent filed suit against Petitioner alleging that the police used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Petitioner argues that the officers were acting in their official capacity and therefore had either qualified or absolute immunity. Additionally, Petitioner argues that Scott v Harris should be applied. Scott v Harris held that an officers attempt to stop a high speed pursuit which threatens innocent bystanders is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The lower court and Sixth Circuit held that immunity only applies when officers act reasonably and the officers did not act reasonably. Petitioner appealed and the Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide (1) Whether the Sixth Circuit incorrectly denied qualified immunity to Petitioner and (2) whether the force used by Petitioner was reasonable.