Oral argument: Jan. 17, 2012
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Sep. 9, 2010)
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY, CIVIL RIGHTS CLAIMS, PRIVATE ATTORNEY
After petitioner Steve Filarsky, a private attorney retained by the City of Rialto to conduct an internal affairs investigation, prompted City officials to order respondent Nicholas Delia, a local firefighter, to consent to a warrantless search of his home, Delia brought a civil rights claim against both Filarsky and the City, alleging, among other things, a violation of his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The district court granted a motion by Filarsky and the officials to dismiss the case on qualified immunity grounds, but the Ninth Circuit reversed in part, ruling that Filarsky, as a private attorney, could not enjoy immunity. Other circuit courts, however, have granted qualified immunity to private lawyers retained by the government. The Supreme Court must resolve the circuit split.