Meadows v. Rockford Housing Authority, No. 15-3897 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Meadows worked for the Rockford Housing Authority (RHA), and leased, for $10 per month, an RHA apartment in a high-rise occupied by elderly and disabled tenants. RHA tenants complained that someone else was living in Meadows’s apartment. RHA’s manager saw an unidentified man leave the apartment and lock the door with a key and reported to RHA’s director, who contacted Metro, a private security company under contract with the RHA. Metro employee Novay, knocked on the door and spoke with a Sockwell, who stated that he was renting the apartment. Novay took Sockwell’s key and escorted him from the building. Meadows returned to the apartment, and, without notifying RHA or Metro, installed a new lock. That evening, RHA's director suggested changing the apartment's locks to protect the other tenants. The next morning, Meadows went to the police station to report that his apartment “had been ransacked.” Novay arrived to supervise the locksmith and found that Sockwell’s key no longer worked. The locksmith picked the locks. Meadows arrived, became enraged, tried to physically remove Novay, and called the police. Meadows was given a new key and allowed to remain in the apartment that day. Meadows sued Metro’s employees under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the defendants; the employees of a private security company, who carried out the RHA’s order, are entitled to qualified immunity.