Appeal from the United States District Court for the
Central District of California Florence Marie Cooper,
District Judge, Presiding D.C. No.
When these events occurred, July 10, 1998, it was clearly established that the amount of force Bybee says Erath used in handcuffing her was excessive, and a reasonable agent in Erath’s position would have known that such conduct violated the Fourth Amendment. See, e.g., Hansen v. Black, 885 F.2d 642, 645 (9th Cir. 1989) (“[T]he officers used excess force on Hansen by unreasonably injuring her wrist and arm as they handcuffed her.”). Agent Erath, therefore, is not entitled to qualified immunity on summary judgment as to Bybee’s excessive force claim.
The district court correctly determined that Agent Erath is not entitled to qualified immunity on summary judgment as to Bybee’s excessive force claim. The district court also correctly determined that Agent Erath is not entitled to qualified immunity on summary judgment as to Bybee’s claim that she was unlawfully detained for 30 minutes in overly tight handcuffs that caused her pain. As to these claims, we affirm the district court’s summary judgment denying Agent Erath qualified immunity.
I imagine agents for various Federal and state revenue agencies are going to start sweating once they realize the implications of this decision… if they’re not immune here, they’re probably not immune for the vast panoply of laws and Constitutional rights that they are violating and breaking every day in the course of their job. A government of laws, not men with guns and badges? Whatever shall we do?
The next thing you know, people will stop paying taxes that they don’t owe!
Good onya, Lynne Meredith. One agent down, only 36 to go. Boy, the IRS sure needs a lot of agents to subdue one woman and a few teenage girls, don’t they!