Alfano v. Lynch, No. 16-1914 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendant, a police officer acting under color of state law, took Plaintiff into protective custody, handcuffed him, transported him to a police station, and jailed him after attempting to evaluate whether Defendant was incapacitated by his consumption of alcohol. Plaintiff sued in federal district court, arguing that Defendant lacked probable cause to take him into protective custody. The district court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds, concluding that the law was not clearly established as to the need for probable cause. The First Circuit vacated the entry of summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) the state of preexisting law established that a reasonable officer must have probable cause to take an individual into protective custody, handcuff him, transport him to a police station, and confine him in a jail cell; (2) an objectively reasonable officer in this case would not have had adequate reason to believe that Plaintiff, though intoxicated, was incapacitated; and (3) therefore, the qualified immunity defense was not available to Plaintiff.