McCoy v. Alamu, No. 18-40856 (5th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment based on qualified immunity to a correctional officer in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action. Plaintiff, a Texas prisoner, filed suit alleging that the officer violated his Eighth Amendment rights by spraying him in the face with a chemical agent without provocation.
The court held that, although a reasonable jury could conclude that the officer's use of force was excessive, it was not beyond debate that the officer's single use of spray stepped over the de minimis line. Therefore, the law was not clearly established at the time and the officer was entitled to qualified immunity. Finally, the court held that the district court did not err by refusing plaintiff leave to amend his complaint and for injunctive relief.