Ioane v. Hall 9th CIR (10SEP2018)

Ioane v. Hall 9th CIR (10SEP2018)

The Ninth Circuit  affirmed the district court’s order denying qualified immunity on summary judgment to an IRS Supervisory Special Agent in an action alleging that the agent violated plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment right to bodily privacy when, during the lawful execution of a search warrant at plaintiff’s home, the agent escorted plaintiff to the bathroom and monitored her while she relieved herself.

The Ninth Circuit held that weighing the scope, manner, justification, and place of the search, a reasonable jury could conclude that the agent’s actions were unreasonable and violated plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights. The agent’s general interests in preventing destruction of evidence and promoting officer safety did not justify the scope or manner of the intrusion into plaintiff’s most basic subject of privacy, her naked body. The panel further held that a reasonable officer in the agent’s position would have known that such a significant intrusion into bodily privacy, in the absence of legitimate government justification, was unlawful.

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