GMSR Wins Ninth Case In The United States Supreme Court

Continuing GMSR’s record of success in the United States Supreme Court—prevailing in nine of ten cases before the Court—Tim Coates and Nadia Sarkis convinced the Court to direct entry of judgment in favor of a Union City police officer based on qualified immunity in Rivas-Villegas v. Cortesluna (2021) 142 S.Ct. 4 (per curiam).  The officer had been summoned by a terrified 911 caller barricaded in a room reporting someone using a chainsaw to break down the door.  On arrival the officer encountered an armed, non-compliant suspect.  A video showed the officer applied a knee restraint with minimal force to secure the still-armed suspect during handcuffing.

The Court held that the Ninth Circuit erred when it found that existing precedent put the officer on notice that placing his knee on an armed defendant’s back for eight seconds in the course of handcuffing could constitute excessive force.  The Supreme Court agreed that prior precedent—involving a noise complaint, a suspect armed with nothing more than a ham sandwich, and the violent use of a knee restraint—was too dissimilar to put GMSR’s client on notice that his specific conduct could be deemed unlawful.

To view the United States Supreme Court Per Curiam Opinion:  View Document

Case Briefs

In The News:

Supreme Court Reinstates Qualified Immunity for Police Officers, Bloomberg Law:

The Supreme Court floats a startling expansion to police immunity from the law, Vox:

Supreme Court Bolsters Police Immunity In Face Of Criticism, Law360: