Daytona Beach Personal Injury Lawyers
Free Consultations 386.258.1622

Eleventh Circuit reverses district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s civil rights lawsuit against Miami-Dade public school police officer, finding that witness corroboration of officer’s account did not justify summary judgment

On July 7, 2021, in Khoury v. Miami-Dade County School Board, et al, No. 18-11430, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s order granting summary judgment to a Miami-Dade Public School police officer in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights case after concluding that the district court had impermissibly weighed the evidence and discounted the plaintiff’s account of what transpired in favor of the officer’s account because the officer’s testimony was corroborated by a witness. The Eleventh Circuit stated: “[t]here is simply no basis for ‘imposing a corroboration gloss on Rule 56,’” quoting from United States v. Stein, 881 F.3d 853, 858 (11th Cir. 2018). The complaint in this case included counts alleging false arrest and First Amendment retaliation, the latter of which was premised on the plaintiff’s allegation that the officer arrested her in retaliation for her attempt to record his activities on her cell phone. As with the false arrest count, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that the district court erred in finding that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity from the First Amendment retaliation count, noting that questions of fact remain as to whether there was a causal connection between the arrest and the adverse effect on speech.