Okorie v. Crawford, No. 18-60335 (5th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims against Investigator Dalton. At issue was whether the government may detain the owner of a business that is being searched not because of suspected criminal activity but instead for possible civil violations. In this case, during the search of a medical clinic that resulted in plaintiff being detained for a few hours, the investigator pushed plaintiff down, drew his gun multiple times, and limited plaintiff's movement and access to facilities such as the restroom.
The court held that plaintiff's allegations established a Fourth Amendment violation based on the intrusiveness of the detention, but that the sparse caselaw in this area had not clearly established the unlawfulness of this type of detention. Therefore, the investigator was entitled to qualified immunity.