Successfully Challenge of Denial of Summary Judgment on Behalf of Municipality

June 26, 2012


Marcie Thorp convinced a United States District Court judge to reconsider and reverse a previous denial of summary judgment on behalf of her client, a city, after a plaintiff accused 10 police officers of infringing on his constitutional rights during an arrest.  

Following an acquittal on murder charges after spending almost three years in prison, the plaintiff sued the city and the individual police officers for violating his constitutional rights by charging, arresting, incarcerating, and prosecuting him for murder based on alleged coerced witness identifications. The court initially denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment on every claim, with the exception of the plaintiff’s false imprisonment count - finding issues of fact precluded full summary judgment. The defendants moved to reconsider the partial denial of summary judgment - urging that the court either misunderstood the arguments presented or misapplied federal law.  

Less than two months before the trial was scheduled, the court agreed. In granting the defendants summary judgment, the court ruled that the plaintiff has no substantive due process claim under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and no due process claim for the defendants’ alleged mishandling of his arrest and prosecution. The court refused to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s pendent state law claims and dismissed them.