Berry v. Leslie (Eleventh Circuit en banc)
Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, individuals may sue police officers for causing constitutional violations, including violations of their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. An officer is entitled to qualified immunity from a § 1983 claim if, despite having violated a constitutional right, the alleged violation was not clearly established in the law. In this case, we argued that a police officer who participated in a SWAT-style raid of the plaintiffs’ barbershop should be liable for violating the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights based on his integral participation in the raid, although he did not personally handcuff or search them. The Eleventh Circuit took the case en banc to decide whether that is the correct rule, and if so, whether it was clearly established at the relevant time. After we argued the case before the en banc Eleventh Circuit, we negotiated a favorable settlement for our clients.