Justia U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Smith v. Munday

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against law enforcement officers and others, alleging violation of her constitutional rights when she was arrested and held in police custody for eighty days. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants, finding that the officers had probable cause to believe plaintiff illegally possessed and sold crack. The court concluded that the district court properly stylized plaintiff's false arrest claims against the investigating officers as malicious prosecution claims. The court also concluded that Officer Munday's application for an arrest warrant lacked probable cause and thus violated plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights. In this case, Munday had no evidence about plaintiff's conduct whatsoever, let alone any evidence connecting her to the crime in question. Because it would be unreasonable for any officer to view Munday's dearth of evidence as sufficient to establish probable cause, he is not entitled to qualified immunity. The court reversed the district court's judgment and remanded to the district court to consider in the first instance plaintiff's state-law claims against all of the individual officers, and negligent-supervision and pattern-or-practice theories of liability against the Chief of Police and City of Lincolnton. The court affirmed as to the false arrest claim against Officers Greene and Lesassier because the officers merely executed the arrest as they were required to do, pursuant to a facially valid warrant. View "Smith v. Munday" on Justia Law