Citation. 168 F.3d 158 (5th Cir. 1999)
Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiffs sued Defendants for conspiracy to violate their civil rights, after they were stopped by a cop and searched for drugs. Defendants plead qualified immunity as an affirmative defense.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A district court should require a plaintiff to reply to a defendant’s qualified immunity defense, under Rule 7(a).
Florentino and Elizabeth Martinez and Elizabeth’s daughter were driving in a truck owned by Ramiro Reyes (Plaintiffs). Plaintiffs were stopped by State Trooper Carl Sazan (Defendant), who searched the truck for contraband and ordered Plaintiffs to the police station despite finding nothing. Plaintiffs sued Defendant and his supervisors (Defendants) for conspiracy to violate their civil rights. Defendants asserted qualified immunity as an affirmative defense and moved to dismiss the lawsuit.
Is the Plaintiff required to reply to the Defendant’s qualified immunity defense?
Yes, the District Court should have required the Plaintiff to reply to the Defendant’s qualified immunity defense. The District Court’s decision is reversed and remanded.
The Court determined that the Plaintiff did not allege the conspiracy claim with particularity. The Plaintiff must file a reply under Rule 7(a) to provide sufficient evidence against the qualified immunity defense and survive a motion to dismiss.