US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Solis v. Serrett
Opinion Date: April 21, 2022
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law
Appellee sued officers asserting various Section 1983 claims including excessive force, unreasonable seizure due to an arrest without probable cause, malicious prosecution, violation of her First Amendment rights for arresting her in retaliation for filming the officers, and violation of her Fourteenth Amendment rights. The district court held that disputed issues of material fact barred summary judgment on the excessive force claim and that, viewing the facts in Appellee’s favor, the officers violated a clearly established right.
The Fifth Circuit denied Appellee’s motion to dismiss, reversed the district court’s order denying Appellant’s motion for summary judgment, and remanded with instructions that Appellee’s claims be dismissed.
The court analyzed the officers’ actions and found that their conduct was not so objectively unreasonable as to violate Appellee’s constitutional rights. First, Appellee’s minor injuries weigh in favor of finding qualified immunity. Second, qualified immunity can apply even when only one factor weighs against the plaintiff. Finally, it was reasonable of Appellants to believe that, in light of Appellee’s interjections, comments, resistance, and indignation, some degree of force would be necessary to subdue her. The court further held that even if the officers violated Appellee’s constitutional rights, the right was not clearly established at the time of the alleged violation.
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