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Wilson v. Lamp

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 28, 2018

Levi Wilson, Individually; M W, by and through his next friend Levi Wilson Plaintiffs - Appellees
v.
Scott Lamp, in his individual and official capacity; Iowa, State of Defendants - Appellants Jessica Dorhout-VanEngen, in her individual and official capacity; John Doe, in his individual and official capacity Defendants Levi Wilson, Individually; M W, by and through his next friend Levi Wilson Plaintiffs - Appellees
v.
Scott Lamp, in his individual and official capacity; Iowa, State of Defendants Jessica Dorhout-VanEngen, in her individual and official capacity Defendant-Appellant John Doe, in his individual and official capacity Defendant

          Submitted: October 19, 2017

          Appeals from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa - Sioux City

          Before GRUENDER and BENTON, Circuit Judges, and TUNHEIM [1] , District Judge.

          BENTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Levi S. Wilson and his minor son, M.W., sued two officers for unreasonable search and seizure, and use of excessive force under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The district court denied the officers' motions for summary judgment. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court reverses in part, affirms in part, and remands.

         I.

         The parties dispute the following facts, which are stated here favorably to the plaintiffs. On September 23, 2014, officers Scott E. Lamp and Jessica Dorhout-VanEngen were surveilling a park. Based on conversations with Hollie

         Vlietstra-Levi's ex-girlfriend, and the mother of M.W. and a minor girl-the officers believed a convicted child molester, David C. Wilson, was meeting the minor girl at 8:00 p.m. at the park. David had multiple outstanding warrants. The officers knew that David's brother, Levi, and seven-year-old M.W. were at a Boy Scout meeting and would leave the park around 8:00 p.m. to meet Vlietstra. At about 7:10 p.m., the officers received a call that someone had just driven away without paying for gas. An attendant identified David as the driver of the vehicle, quickly determined to be Levi's. At 7:50 p.m., a pickup truck with a covered bed-which had been parked during the officers' surveillance-left the park. The officers knew it also belonged to Levi. After following the truck for a few minutes, they stopped it. They approached with guns drawn. They told the driver to put his hands up. He complied. Officer Dorhout-VanEngen recognized Levi and called him by name. The officers ordered him out of the truck. He complied. Officer Lamp grabbed Levi and threw him against the truck, with a gun pointed at the back of his head. The officers did a patdown of Levi. They searched the vehicle and left. Throughout the stop, Levi and M.W. had at least one weapon pointed at them. Levi and M.W. now both suffer from and receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

         The officers sought summary judgment, asserting qualified immunity. The district court denied qualified immunity. The officers appeal.

         II.

         Levi and M.W. argue that this court lacks jurisdiction. They agree that this court may review the denial of qualified immunity if the issue "is a purely legal one: whether the facts alleged . . . support a claim of violation of clearly established law." See Pace v. City of Des Moines, 201 F.3d 1050, 1052 (8th Cir. 2000), quoting Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 528 n.9 (1985). However, Levi and M.W. believe that because the issues on appeal are based in fact, this court lacks jurisdiction. See Johnson v. Jones, 515 U.S. 304, 313 (1995). To the contrary, the officers' arguments address the legal determinations of the district court based on the facts viewed favorably to Levi and M.W. This court has jurisdiction.

         III.

         This court "review[s] the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo, viewing the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and drawing all reasonable inferences in that party's favor." Chambers v. Pennycook, 641 F.3d 898, 904 (8th Cir. 2011). The denial of qualified immunity is reviewed de novo. Boude v. City of Raymore, 855 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2017). Government actors have qualified immunity as a shield against litigation if their actions do not "violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known." Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). To defeat qualified immunity, the plaintiff has the burden to prove: "(1) the facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, demonstrate the deprivation of a constitutional or statutory right; and (2) the right was clearly established at the time of the deprivation." Howard v. Kansas City Police Dep't, 570 ...


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