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Titlesort descending Citation Alternate Citation Summary Type
Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. v. Vilsack --- F.Supp.3d ----, 2015 WL 1432069 (D. Colo. 2015) 2015 WL 1432069 (D. Colo. 2015) In an amended complaint, Plaintiffs asserted four claims against Defendants relating to a May 7, 2013 United States Department of Agriculture inspection of Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. The claims included a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against the Inspector Defendants “because they acted under color of state law when they induced the deputies to cut the chains and enter the premises;” a declaratory judgment “declaring that [Defendant] Thompson inappropriately overrode the medical advice of [Plaintiff] Big Cats' veterinarians and declaring that, in the future, the USDA cannot force [Plaintiff] Sculac to choose between following the medical advice of his veterinarians and the mandates of a USDA inspector;” and a declaratory judgment that the USDA must follow its own regulations and that it cannot conduct a warrantless search of the Big Cats facility outside of ‘normal business hours' solely because an inspector ‘want [s] to’ or because an inspector subjectively ‘believe[s][it] necessary to determine the welfare status of the animals....' ” In addition to declaratory relief, Plaintiffs also sought compensatory and punitive damages, costs, expenses, and prejudgment interest. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. US Magistrate Judge issued a recommendation that, to the extent the Motion argued that the declaratory judgment claims should be dismissed because Plaintiffs lack standing, the Motion be granted in part and denied in part and that the declaratory judgment claims asserted by Plaintiffs Nick Sculac, Julie Walker, and Jules Investment, Inc. be dismissed without prejudice. In all other aspects, the Magistrate recommended that the Motion be denied. A District Court judge approved and adopted these recommendations and denied defendant’s objections to the recommendations. Case
Black v. Coughlin 76 F.3d 72 (2nd Cir. 1996)

Prisoner brought action under § 1983 against commissioner of state department of correctional services to recover damages for punishment imposed as a result of improperly conducted disciplinary hearing.

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Bogart v. Chapell 396 F.3d 548 (4th Cir., 2005)

A woman was housing hundreds of animals in her residential home, the animals were seized and more than two hundred of them were euthanized.  The woman brought a section 1983 claim against the county sheriff's department and human society.  The trial court granted defendants summary judgment and the Court of Appeals affirmed holding no viable due process claim existed arising from the euthanization. 

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Brandon v. Village of Maywood 157 F. Supp.2d 917 (N.D. Ill. 2001)

Plaintiffs brought § 1983 action against village and police officers after botched drug bust in which bystander and dog were wounded.  The court held that the police officers were entitled to qualified immunity in shooting of dog and the village did not have policies on police conduct that warranted liability.  However, issues of fact precluded summary judgment on false imprisonment claim based on officers' assertion of immunity.

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Brown v. Muhlenberg Tp. 269 F.3d 205 (3rd Cir. 2001)

Pet owners were unreasonably deprived of their Fourth Amendment rights to their pet by police officer. Pennsylvania Court would recognize a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress based upon the killing of a pet.

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Carroll v. Cnty. of Monroe 712 F.3d 649 (2d Cir. 2013) The Plaintiff-Appellant appeals a decision/order by the lower court to deny her motion to set aside the jury verdict or grant a new trial. At the original trial, a jury found plaintiff failed to prove her 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim that the shooting of her dog during the execution of a search warrant was an unconstitutional seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Plaintiff's dog was shot during a "no-knock" search warrant at plaintiff's residence, but the warrant team was aware that a dog would be present during the search. On appeal, this court held that the plaintiff was not entitled to a new trial because she failed to provide any “legally sufficient evidentiary basis” to show that the jury would find in her favor. The court believed that it was unlikely that a jury would find in her favor because of the fact that the dog was killed during a “no-knock” search of the home and the dog “quickly and aggressively” ran towards the police officer after he entered the home. Although the court agreed that the officers should have advised a plan to deal with the dog in a non-lethal way, it maintained that a jury would unlikely find that the officer’s use of force was unreasonable given the circumstances of this case. Affirmed. Case
Carroll v. County of Monroe 712 F.3d 649 (2nd Cir. 2013) Upon executing a no-knock warrant by using a battering ram to break through the front door of the plaintiff’s home, police encountered the plaintiff’s dog. An officer claimed the dog was growling, barking, and quickly and aggressively approaching him. He then fired one shot from his shotgun, striking the dog and killing him. Prior to the execution of the warrant, the officers were aware that a dog would be present and did not discuss a plan for controlling the dog or neutralizing the dog by any non-lethal means. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the police officers and municipality, alleging violations of her Fourth Amendment rights. The court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgement and held that the issue of whether the officer acted reasonably was a question for the jury. Case
City of Canton v. Harris 489 US 378 (1989)

Detainee brought civil rights action against city, alleging violation of her right to receive necessary medical attention while in police custody. The Supreme Court held that inadequacy of police training may serve as basis for § 1983 municipal liability only where failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to rights of persons with whom police come into contact.

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City of Houston v. Levingston Not Reported in S.W.3d, 2006 WL 241127 (Tex.App.-Hous. (1 Dist.))

A city veterinarian who worked for the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) brought an action against the city, arguing that he was wrongfully terminated under the Whistleblower’s Act. The vet contended that he reported several instances of abuses by BARC employees to the division manager. In upholding the trial court’s decision to award Levingston over $600,000 in damages, the appellate court ruled the evidence was sufficient to support a finding that the veterinarian was terminated due to his report . Contrary to the city’s assertion, the court held that BARC was an appropriate law enforcement authority under the Act to report violations of section 42.09 of the Texas Penal Code committed by BARC employees. Opinion Withdrawn and Superseded on Rehearing by City of Houston v. Levingston , 221 S.W.3d 204 (Tex. App., 2006).

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Com. v. Barnes 427 Pa.Super. 326, 629 A.2d 123 (Pa.Super.,1993)

In this case, the defendants argued that the police powers granted to a private entity, the Erie Humane Society, was an improper delegation of government authority. On appeal, the defendants’ asserted several arguments including a claim that Pennsylvania’s delegation of government authority is in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution The appeals court rejected each of defendants’ four arguments. Specifically, the court rejected defendants' assertion that the Erie Humane Society operates as "vigilantes," finding that the Society's actions are regulated by the Rules of Criminal Procedure with requirements of probable cause and the constraints of case law.

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