Utah Municipal Attorneys Association

United States Supreme Court, Filarsky v. Delia - Extension of Qualified Immunity

14 May 2012 6:32 AM | Heather Schriever
Thank you to Jeff Starkey for asking that this case be brought to the attention of the UMAA membership.

Quote from the opinion syllabus:

Respondent Delia, a firefighter employed by the City of Rialto, California, missed work after becoming ill on the job. Suspicious of Delia’s extended absence, the City hired a private investigation firm to conduct surveillance on him. When Delia was seen buying fiberglass insulation and other building supplies, the City initiated an internal affairs investigation. It hired petitioner Filarsky, a private attorney, to interview Delia. At the interview, which Delia’s attorney and twofire department officials also attended, Delia acknowledged buyingthe supplies, but denied having done any work on his home. To verify Delia’s claim, Filarsky asked Delia to allow a fire department official to enter his home and view the unused materials. When Delia refused, Filarsky ordered him to bring the materials out of his home for the official to see. This prompted Delia’s attorney to threaten a civil rights action against the City and Filarsky. Nonetheless, after the interview concluded, officials followed Delia to his home, where he produced the materials. Delia brought an action under 42 U. S. C. §1983 against the City, the Fire Department, Filarsky, and other individuals, alleging that the order to produce the building materials violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The District Court granted summary judgment to the individual defendants on the basis of qualified immunity. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed with respect to all individual defendants except Filarsky, concluding that he was not entitled to seek qualified immunity because he was a private attorney, not a City employee.
Held: A private individual temporarily retained by the government to carry out its work is entitled to seek qualified immunity from suit under §1983.

Filarsky v. Delia, 132 S. Ct. 1657 (2012)
Utah Municipal Attorneys Association
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software