CA7: No qualified immunity for seizure of pft’s vehicles from his yard by code enforcement officers

The seizure of plaintiff’s vehicles off his property without an opportunity to defend against it was an unreasonable seizure. Defendants don’t get qualified immunity. There was no action in court for plaintiff to resort to, so Rooker-Feldman doesn’t apply. Hamilton v. City of New Albany, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10719 (7th Cir. June 16, 2017)*:

Brewer and Speights also have attempted to invoke the shield of qualified immunity. See Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231, 129 S. Ct. 808, 172 L. Ed. 2d 565 (2009). As we have explained, the defendants introduced no evidence that the “cleanups” or resulting vehicle impoundments were undertaken in compliance with state law, and only an administrative warrant satisfying state legislative or administrative standards could have justified the taking of Hamilton’s belongings from his property. See Camara, 387 U.S. at 528-34. Brewer and Speights still might have asserted that they did not act unreasonably—for example, if they made a reasonable mistake or relied on another City official to ensure compliance with the law, see McGee v. Bauer, 956 F.2d 730, 738 (7th Cir. 1992). But at summary judgment they did not try to explain their actions or to justify their noncompliance with state laws intended to allow for administrative searches complying with the Fourth Amendment. Thus, Brewer and Speights did not establish entitlement to qualified immunity.

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