D. H. v. McDowell, No. 14-14960 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, on behalf of her minor son D.H., filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against school officials, including Assistant Principal Tyrus McDowell, and others, alleging that defendants deprived D.H. of his rights to privacy, to be secure in his person, and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. On appeal, McDowell challenged the district court’s interlocutory order denying his motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. The district court found that McDowell’s strip search of D.H., a minor student, violated clearly established constitutional law. The court concluded that McDowell violated D.H.'s constitutional rights. Furthermore, a reasonable official in McDowell’s position would not have believed that requiring D.H. to strip down to his fully naked body in front of several of his peers was lawful in light of the clearly established principle that a student strip search, even if justified in its inception, must be “reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student and the nature of the infraction.” Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court’s denial of McDowell’s motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity.