Advanced Building & Fabrication, Inc. v. California Highway Patrol, No. 17-16618 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment to a former employee of the California State Board of Equalization, based on qualified immunity, in an action alleging that the employee violated clearly established law by participating in a search of plaintiff's business following an altercation between the parties. The altercation led to the execution of a search warrant at Advanced Building by CHP officers.
The panel held that the employee violated clearly established law by participating in the search. Even assuming that state law permitted warrantless inspections of business records, the panel held that the intrusive search here would not withstand scrutiny under the Fourth Amendment. In this case, no analogously pervasive regulation or special governmental interest justified a diminished expectation of privacy. The panel held that the administrative search exception did not apply and the employee's presence was not necessary to aid in the officers' execution of the warrant.