Kansas City partners Steve Coronado and Chris Heigele successfully defended a local county and its sheriff in a federal civil rights suit, obtaining summary judgment on all claims. The claimant was estranged from her husband, who passed away at home and was found by coworkers and family members. She alleged the sheriff improperly allowed family to remain in the home while he tried to locate and notify her of the death and further alleged her in-laws took property from the home while there. The federal court dismissed the claims, finding the sheriff was simply functioning as a community caretaker fulfilling his responsibilities as sheriff. The court ruled the sheriff committed no improper search (he was invited into the home by family with apparent authority to be in the home) or seizure (he took no property from the home) and, thus, did not violate any state law or federal rights. The court agreed the sheriff committed no wrong and granted judgment. Because there was no constitutional violation, the county was dismissed as it is vested with sovereign immunity.
To read court’s order, click here.