MONTH-IN-BRIEF (Aug 2020)
Eighth Circuit Finds Qualified Immunity Protects Officers From Privacy Violations
By Nehama Hanoch, The George Washington University Law School
In a case involving members of the reality-television family the Duggars, the Eighth Circuit recently held en banc that officers may be protected under qualified immunity against allegations of violations of the constitutional right to privacy because the Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy has not been clearly established by the Supreme Court. Dillard v. O'Kelley, 961 F.3d 1048 (8th Cir. 2020)
The issue in the interlocutory appeal was whether the individual defendants, employees of the City of Springdale Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, were entitled to qualified immunity after they released redacted copies of reports relating to a 2006 sexual misconduct investigation in response to a tabloid’s FOIA request. The redactions did not prevent the public from identifying the plaintiffs in this case, who were minors at the time. The plaintiffs, child television stars in Arkansas, asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.