El v. City of Pittsburgh

In El v. City of Pittsburgh, the 3rd Circuit confronted two brothers’ Section 1983 actions against three Pittsburgh police officers. What started as an investigatory detention over the possibility that one brother might have purchased tobacco underage (he didn’t) ended with one brother tasered, and the other brother slammed against a wall. The Court reiterated … Read more

Allen v. NJ State Police

In Allen v. N.J. State Police, the 3rd Circuit considered whether a criminal case ended in the plaintiff’s favor when the state abandoned prosecution after he pleaded guilty, though the N.J. Supreme Court later reversed the judgment, finding that a pre-trial motion to suppress was erroneously denied. The 3rd Circuit determined that the sworn testimony … Read more

Bletz v. Corrie

In Bletz v. Corrie, the 3rd Circuit opined about when law enforcement may shoot the family dog. Seriously. The Court held that the use of deadly force against a household pet is reasonable if the pet poses an imminent threat to the law enforcement officer’s safety, viewed from the perspective of an objectively reasonable officer.

Harvard v. Cesnalis

Read the 3rd Circuit’s opinion in Harvard v. Cesnalis. It is equal parts sad and unbelievable. In this Section 1983 suit, the police believed a (White) violent attacker’s implausible story, discredited the (Black) plaintiff’s corroborated and perfectly plausible story, and charged the plaintiff with DUI despite his heroic acts to protect a stranger from her … Read more

Porter v. Pa. Dep’t of Corr.

In Porter v. Pa. Dep’t of Corr., the 3rd Circuit ruled that its 2017 decision in Williams v. Sec’y Pa. Dep’t of Corr. applied to a plaintiff in a Section 1983 action where that plaintiff’s death sentence had been vacated, but the vacatur order was currently stayed pursuant to local district court rules. The Court … Read more

Diamond v. PA Educ. Ass’n

In Diamond v. PA Educ. Ass’n, the 3rd Circuit held that, because the PA Educ. Association and other similarly situated unions had collected “fair-share” fees in good faith reliance on a governing state statute and Supreme Court precedent, which was subsequently overruled, the unions were entitled to, and successfully made out, a good faith defense to … Read more

Campbell v. PA School Bds. Ass’n

In Campbell v. PA School Bds. Ass’n, the 3rd Circuit held that, though the District Court erred in utilizing a heightened standard of proof, the grant of summary judgment was affirmed because the petitioner’s civil rights claim would fail under any standard of proof.

DeLade v. Cargan

Delade v. Cargan involved a suit against a state trooper. The 3rd Circuit held that the Fourth Amendment always governs claims of unlawful arrest and pretrial detention when the detention occurs prior to the detainee’s first appearance before a court. The Court then ruled that the claim of unlawful arrest and pretrial detention was not cognizable … Read more

Weimer v. Cnty. of Fayette

In Weimer v. Cnty. of Fayette, Weimer, who had served eleven years in prison, filed a civil rights suit after her conviction for murder was vacated with prejudice. The 3rd Circuit held that, because Weimer alleged the prosecutor had engaged in investigatory conduct, absolute immunity did not protect the prosecutor from suit. However, the prosecutor was … Read more

Downey v. Penn. Dept. of Corr.

Unlike that Robert Downey, this Robert Downey was an inmate in state prison and suffered from severe glaucoma. In Downey v. Penn. Dept. of Corr., the 3rd Circuit held that he did not fail to exhaust his administrative remedies in this Section 1983 prison litigation case because he faced an emergency and an urgent need … Read more