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Peroza-Benitez v. Smith

3rd Circuit

April 8, 2021

In Peroza-Benitez v. Smith, Plaintiff sued members of the City of Reading Police Department pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the  U.S. Constitution. Plaintiff also asserted battery claims under Pennsylvania common law. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds of qualified immunity, which Plaintiff opposed only as to two Defendants, Criminal Investigator (C.I.) Haser and Officer White. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of C.I. Haser as well as Officer White and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s state law claims. Plaintiff appealed, and the Third Circuit vacated the District Court’s order and remanded. The Third Circuit held that, due to the disputed issues of material fact, the District Court erred in finding that C.I. Haser and Officer White were entitled to qualified immunity for their actions. The Third Circuit also directed the District Court to reconsider the question of supplemental jurisdiction in light of the decision to reinstate Plaintiff’s § 1983 claims.

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