Thompson v. Clark

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: March 8, 2021
  • Case #: 20-659
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 794 F. App’x 140 (2nd Cir. 2020)

The Petition is Limited to the Following Question: Whether the rule that a plaintiff must await favorable termination before bringing a Section 1983 action alleging unreasonable seizure pursuant to legal process requires the plaintiff to show that the criminal proceeding against him has “formally ended in a manner not inconsistent with his innocence,” Laskar v. Hurd, 972 F.3d 1278, 1293 (11th Cir. 2020), or that the proceeding “ended in a manner that affirmatively indicates his innocence,” Lanning v. City of Glens Falls, 908 F.3d 19, 22 (2d Cir. 2018); see also Laskar, 972 F.3d at 1293 (acknowledging 7-1 circuit conflict).

Petitioner was jailed for two days for obstructing government administration and resisting arrest. The charges were subsequently dismissed, and Petitioner sued the New York Police Department officers for malicious prosecution. The district court granted a judgment as a matter of law on Petitioner's section 1983 claim for malicious prosecution in favor of Respondents and the jury also found in the Respondents favor on the other section 1983 claims. The Second Circuit affirmed. Petitioner argues that the Court needs to directly address how the favorable termination requirement articulated in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 483, 484, 487 (1994) applies to plaintiffs who were never convicted because the charges were dismissed and there is no parallel proceeding nor conviction to collaterally attack. Petitioner contends that the majority rule applied by the Second Circuit conflicts with the Court’s precedent, common law, and Fourth Amendment principles. Petitioner also argues that the majority rule allows for abuse of the legal process and leads to awkward results when a person, wrongfully and maliciously prosecuted, must demand a trial for crimes he did not perpetrate so he could hold government employees accountable for misconduct.

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