Submitted: May 11, 2017
from United States District Court for the District of
Nebraska - Omaha
RILEY, BEAM, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
Manning sued Vaughn Cotton and Theodore Delezene, both police
officers for the City of Omaha ("Officers"), and
the City of Omaha (collectively "Defendants")
following her arrest for possession of methamphetamine.
Manning filed a civil rights action against the Officers for
violating her Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights,
and against the City under a theory of municipal liability.
The district court denied qualified immunity for the Officers
and denied the City of Omaha's motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the
district court's denial of qualified immunity and dismiss
the City's appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
was driving to pick up her children from a house in Omaha,
Nebraska, when the Officers stopped her for a broken
taillight. Manning had attempted to cover the taillight with
tape, but white light showed through. The broken taillight
violated Nebraska Revised Statutes §§ 60-6, 219(3)
and (6)(b).Manning disputes that her taillight was
defective and that white light was showing. The Officers'
police cruiser was equipped with a video camera that turns on
when the lights are activated and records footage both
outside and inside the police cruiser. Once stopped, the
Officers approached Manning's vehicle and told her the
reason they pulled her over. Manning then confessed that she
did not have a driver's license or registration and that
she had warrants out for her arrest. Officer Cotton confirmed
with dispatch that there were two warrants out for her
arrest. He then informed her that they would have to arrest
her and take her to the Douglas County Correctional Center.
Neither officer searched Manning, but they handcuffed her
before placing her in the police cruiser. After she was
handcuffed, Manning asked Officer Delezene to take her cell
phone out of her left back pocket so that it would not break.
He complied. Officer Cotton searched Manning's purse.
Officer Delezene then helped Manning into the passenger side
of the backseat. As he did, his flashlight illuminated the
backseat. Neither the Officers nor Manning saw anything in
the backseat at that time.
the ride, Manning was the only person in the backseat of the
police cruiser. Once they arrived at the Correctional Center,
the Officers exited the vehicle and according to the
officers, placed their weapons in the trunk of the police
cruiser. Manning disputes that the officers even went to the
trunk. At this point, the video recording stopped. The
government explains that it stopped recording at the time
Officer Cotton turned the engine off, but Manning states that
the video stopped because one of the officers turned it off.
Officer Cotton entered the backseat from the driver side of
the vehicle to unbuckle Manning's seatbelt. Officer
Delezene opened the passenger side door to help Manning out
of the police cruiser. After Manning exited the police
cruiser, Officer Delezene noticed a small package on the door
seal that appeared to be drugs. Testing later confirmed that
it was methamphetamine. No one had ridden in the police
cruiser before Manning, and at the beginning of their shift,
Officer Cotton inspected the backseat of the police cruiser
and found nothing. Manning denied the package was hers.
Officer Delezene threatened to have her tested for drugs if
she did not tell the truth about the package. Manning asked
if she could take a drug test and if the package could be
fingerprinted. Officer Cotton reviewed the camera footage
from inside the police cruiser and determined that it was
inconclusive. The Officers refused to administer a drug test
or fingerprint the package.
Officers arrested Manning for possession of methamphetamine,
and she remained incarcerated for three days. She then
brought a civil rights action against the Officers alleging
that they violated her Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth
Amendment rights by planting the methamphetamine, conspiring
together against her, falsely implicating her in a felony,
and falsely testifying against her. She also alleged that the
City of Omaha proximately caused the Officers'
unconstitutional conduct and failed to adequately train the
Officers. The Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment
challenging the merits of the claims and claiming qualified
immunity. The district court granted summary judgment on the
conspiracy claim, holding that there was no evidence of a
conspiracy, only "pure speculation." The district
court denied the motion in all other respects. Holding that
the Officers were not entitled to qualified immunity, the
district court stated, "[I]f hypothetically speaking an
officer illegally plants drugs on or around someone, there
would be no qualified immunity. So, because of the claims of
the plaintiff, the Court finds there is no qualified immunity
based on these allegations." Denying the City of
Omaha's motion for summary judgment on Manning's
municipal liability claim, the district court held that
although "evidence of a policy or custom is thin, . . .
based on [a] previous incident and the alleged [inadequate]
response by law enforcement, a jury could find there is an
unwritten custom or practice of not thoroughly investigating
now appeal, arguing that the district court (1) failed to
make the required individualized analysis for qualified
immunity; (2) erred in holding that Officer Cotton was not
entitled to qualified immunity; (3) erred in holding that
Officer Delezene was not entitled to qualified immunity; and
(4) erred in denying the City of Omaha's motion for
Standard of Review
we generally lack jurisdiction to hear an immediate appeal
from the district court's denial of summary judgment, we
have "limited authority . . . to review the denial of
qualified immunity through an interlocutory appeal under the
collateral order doctrine." Shannon v. Koehler,
616 F.3d 855, 861 (8th Cir. 2010) (alteration in original)
(quoting Langford v. Norris, 614 F.3d 445, 455 (8th
Cir. 2010)). Under this doctrine, we may only "determine
whether all of the conduct that the district court
'deemed sufficiently supported for purposes of summary
judgment' violated the plaintiff's clearly
established federal rights." Lockridge v. Bd. of
Trs. of Univ. of Ark., 315 F.3d 1005, 1008 (8th Cir.
2003) (en banc) (quoting Behrens v. Pelletier, 516
U.S. 299, 313 (1996)). Thus, "we have jurisdiction to
decide whether, accepting [Manning's] version of the
facts, [the Officers are] entitled to qualified immunity as a
matter of law." Shannon, 616 F.3d at 861.
review the district court's grant of summary judgment de
novo, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party and drawing all reasonable inferences in
favor of the nonmoving party. Bishop v. Glazier, 723
F.3d 957, 960-61 (8th Cir. 2013). A party is entitled to
summary judgment only if there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "When a defendant
asserts qualified immunity at the summary judgment stage, the
plaintiff must produce evidence sufficient to create a
genuine issue of fact regarding whether the defendant
violated a clearly established right." Bishop,
723 F.3d at 961. In doing so, the plaintiff "may not
rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading,
but . ...