Extending Qualified Immunity To Private Individuals

Law360, New York (May 31, 2012, 1:26 PM EDT) -- On April 17, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Filarsky v. Delia that private individuals retained to carry out government work are entitled to seek qualified immunity in section 1983 lawsuits. Section 1983 allows lawsuits alleging infringement of civil rights by individuals acting under color of law.

Nicholas Delia, a firefighter employed by the city of Rialto, Calif., missed work after becoming ill on the job. Suspicious of Delia's extended absence, the city hired a private investigation firm to conduct surveillance on him.

When Delia was seen buying fiberglass insulation and other building supplies, the city initiated an internal...

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