Sutterfield v. City of Milwaukee

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Section 1983 Action
Case Number: 
No. 12-2272
Decision Date: 
May 9, 2014
Federal District: 
E.D. Wisc.
Dist. Ct. did not err in finding that defendants-police officers were entitled to qualified immunity in section 1983 action, alleging that defendants violated plaintiff’s rights under 2nd , 4th and 14th Amendments, when they made warrantless entry into plaintiff’s home and removed her, after defendant had received report from plaintiff’s doctor that plaintiff was suicidal and had obtained Wisconsin section 51.15 statement of emergency detention, since such entry and seizure of plaintiff was justified under exigent circumstances to 4th Amendment’s warrant requirement. Moreover, while defendants’ subsequent seizure of plaintiff’s gun from her home may have violated plaintiff’s 4th Amendment rights, defendants were entitled to qualified immunity where: (1) it was reasonable for defendants to have believed that plaintiff’s gun should be seized for safekeeping until it could be determined that plaintiff no longer posed danger to herself; and (2) Wisconsin courts had given broad scope to community caretaking doctrine that arguably supported defendants’ protective sweep of plaintiff’s home and seizure of her gun.