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RAUB v. CAMPBELL, NO. 14-1277

Decided: April 29, 2015

The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to grant the Defendant summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity and to deny Plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief.

This appeal stemmed from the district court’s granting of summary judgment to a mental health evaluator, Michael Campbell, for petitioning the state for a temporary detention order for the Plaintiff, Brandon Raub after Raub composed a series of ominous Facebook posts, which drew the attention of his former fellow marines.  Local officers, acting on Campbell’s recommendation, detained Raub for evaluation, and Raub was subsequently questioned at his home.  Thereafter, authorities placed Raub in custody and transported him to a local jail where Campbell asked Raub about his recent Facebook posts and radical beliefs.  After interviewing Raub, Campbell petitioned for and received a temporary detention order from a magistrate judge.  Raub was then taken to a hospital and then to treatment.  Raub subsequently filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking damages and injunctive relief against Campbell for violating his Fourth and First Amendment rights.  The district court granted summary judgment to Campbell and denied Raub’s request for injunctive relief.  Thereafter, Raub appealed, arguing that Campbell violated his Fourth and First Amendment rights.  Additionally, Raub claimed that, even if his constitutional claims failed, he was still entitled to injunctive relief.

The court determined that summary judgment on Raub’s Fourth Amendment argument was proper because Campbell’s conduct was not proscribed by clearly established law and because his actions were reasonable under prevailing legal standards.  Moreover, the court determined that Raub failed to establish a viable First Amendment claim because Campbell’s decision to recommend Raub’s detention was not based solely on Raub’s statements, but it was also based on Raub’s demeanor, emails, the nature of his posts, and other facts that were indicative of Raub’s mental disturbance.  Lastly, the court rejected Raub’s claim for injunctive relief because Raub’s claim that he would be subject to unreasonable seizures and retaliation in the future were merely speculative.  Thus, the court affirmed the district court’s judgment.

Full Opinion

Charles Buist