October 25th, 2020
Arnold v. Williams
Opinion Date: October 23, 2020
Judge: Jennifer Walker Elrod
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law
The Fifth Circuit withdrew its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. Plaintiff filed suit against defendant under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for violations of various constitutional rights and under Louisiana tort law. In this case, after defendant approached, questioned, and reached to grab plaintiff outside of his home, plaintiff fled, fell off a fence, and dislocated his shoulder. The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the unreasonable search claim and remanded for the district court to consider qualified immunity before proceeding to the merits of the case. The court held that plaintiff's complaint plausibly alleges a trespassory search of his home where the officer's search of the curtilage of plaintiff's home was unreasonable insofar as it infringed on plaintiff's reasonable expectation of privacy and exigent circumstances were lacking. However, the court held that the complaint lacks allegations that would allow the court to draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor and to conclude that he plausibly alleged a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Therefore, the court affirmed the dismissal of the unreasonable seizure claim. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's remaining section 1983 claims, holding that plaintiff failed to state a false arrest/false imprisonment claim because he failed to plausibly allege that his ultimate arrest was false; plaintiff failed to state a claim for malicious prosecution because, as the district court correctly observed, there is no freestanding right under the Constitution to be free from malicious prosecution; and plaintiff failed to state a claim for a violation of procedural and substantive due process because resort to a generalized remedy under the Due Process Clause is inappropriate where a more specific constitutional provision provides the rights at issue. The court also affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim for intentional infliction of emotion distress under Louisiana law, the district court's grant of summary judgment, and the three evidentiary rulings appealed by plaintiff.
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