McAfee v. Boczar, No. 12-2481 (4th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against defendant under, inter alia, 42 U.S.C. 1983 for violation of plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights after defendant, a deputy sheriff, arrested plaintiff for withholding information about possibly rabid animals. On appeal, defendant challenged the judgment of damages plus attorney's fees entered against her in the section 1983 proceeding. The court concluded that, by securing a warrant that lacked adequate evidentiary support, defendant infringed plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to be free from capricious arrest and this constitutional right was clearly established. Therefore, defendant could not shield herself from damages liability by invoking qualified immunity. Because the district court overstated plaintiff's degree of success, it erred in not making an attorney's fee award that would properly reflect her success in this case. Accordingly, the court affirmed the verdict of damages but vacated the attorney's fee award, remanding for an award of $100,000, exclusive of costs.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on January 23, 2014.