CA11: QI for officers sued in Florida spa video surveillance case

Plaintiff’s § 1983 case over the video surveillance in the East Sea Spa case (see here) fails on qualified immunity for lack of clearly established law. Thompson v. Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 10266 (11th Cir. Apr. 15, 2022):

Charles Thompson made a furtive offer in what he thought was the secluded privacy of a spa massage room. But unbeknownst to him, the county sheriff’s office had made a few surreptitious arrangements of its own. Thompson was arrested for soliciting prostitution based on footage from a surveillance camera that county officials had hidden at the spa. The officials had acted pursuant to a warrant, but Florida state courts concluded that the surveillance operation had violated the Fourth Amendment and that the evidence had to be suppressed.

Thompson sued two detectives and the county sheriff seeking damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He now appeals the district court’s dismissal of his action for failure to state a claim. But Thompson failed to show that the detectives violated a clearly established constitutional right, so the district court properly concluded that the detectives are entitled to qualified immunity. And Thompson also failed to identify a custom or policy constituting deliberate indifference to his constitutional rights, so he cannot succeed on his claim against the sheriff. We therefore affirm the district court’s dismissal of Thompson’s case.

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