Saturday, April 21, 2012

Filarsky v. Delia, 132 S.Ct. 1657 (2012)

The 9th Circuit notches another reversal on the issue of qualified immunity.

The City of Rialto retained an experienced and qualified lawyer to assist in the investigaton of an employee suspected of falsifying his work injury record and allegedly was constructing a house.  After unuccessful attempts by City employees to convince the employee to confirm his disability, the attorney asked the employee to bring out building materials he had purchased for his house. The employee retained counsel who refused cooperation, threatened litigation, and subsequently sued City employees and the private lawyer for Fourth Amendment violations. The U.S. District Court held the attorney and City employees immune from litigation. The employee appealed.

The 9th Circuit on appeal from the district court decision held a private lawyer retained by a public agency, which employed no one with the experience to investigate work fraud, did bit not qualify for immunity. Although the City employees could exercise immunity, the lawyer retained by the City could not.

The Supreme Court reviewed the doctrine of immunity extensively, and held the lawyer essentially did the work of a public employee in the absence of a trained person on the City staff.  Reversed.

Although not a breathtaking case, the Supreme Court discussion of immunity is an excellent summary of a  doctrine (soverign immunity) initiated as far back as the early days in the United States.  A 9-0 ruling.

See 9th Circuit on remand to the district court  (above, June 27, 2012)


  1. This could not be more improper. The immunity gets extended as the [illegal] actions of the contractor can be used as leverage to avoid prosecution for those actions for the contractor's other clients.

    Real life example: My wife hired the private investigator used by the county for [illegal] surveillance. The PI has hacked my computers and phones and used technology to harass and terrorize me. Law enforcement refuses to respond to any report of intrusion/harassment. This has been ongoing since 2007. There is no end in sight because they cannot be prosecuted. My terror continues.

    There can be logical ethical or moral way that this ruling can stand.

    My case is documented at

    Not only was the PI used to leverage immunity for their crimes, but a judge intentionally issued an order which was kept secret - undocketed and undistributed. The result was the complete perversion of any court proceeding as the lawyers leveraged the 'secret order' to obtain immunity to defy EVERY court order.

    I am seeking to find a lawyer, but no lawyer wants to go against the county departments, law enforcement and 8 judges,... The situation is insane, but the victim is not.

  2. It's interesting how some people would have the guts to falsify a work injury just to receive some compensation out of it. He should be sensitive enough to realize that there are people who actually suffer accidents at work, and in some cases leads to death.

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