Maresca v. County of Bernalillo, No. 14-2163 (10th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs-Appellants Stephen Maresca, Heather Martin-Maresca, and their three children were driving back from a family hike when they were arrested in a “felony stop” carried out by Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputies J. Fuentes, G. Grundhoffer, and four other officers. Deputy Fuentes initiated the stop because she mistakenly believed that the Marescas were driving a stolen vehicle. The Marescas sued, alleging that the officers violated the Marescas’ Fourth Amendment rights both by unlawfully arresting them and by using excessive force in doing so. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court held that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity because they had not violated clearly established Fourth Amendment standards. After review of the trial court record, the Tenth Circuit concluded: (1) the Marescas were entitled to summary judgment against Deputy Fuentes on their unlawful arrest claim because they were arrested without probable cause as the result of Deputy Fuentes’ unreasonable conduct; (2) Deputy Grundhoffer was entitled to qualified immunity on the unlawful arrest claim against him because he was entitled to rely on information conveyed to him by Deputy Fuentes; and (3) disputed issues of material fact precluded summary judgment for Fuentes, Grundhoffer, or the Marescas on the excessive force claim. The Tenth Circuit therefore reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded the case for further proceedings.