Interesting case out of the Ninth. Too busy to blog now. Check it out:
Detective Dale Rogers made a decision permitted by Idaho law to remove temporarily a sick infant from the custody of her parents in order to secure a medical diagnostic test and prophylactic treatment, procedures which pediatric doctors advised Rogers were both necessary and within the standard of care for the infant’s situation. At the time, the child had been taken to St. Luke’s hospital in Boise, Idaho, by her mother, while her father, Eric Mueller, remained at home to care for the couple’s other child. Detective Rogers intervened at the behest of hospital doctors after the child’s mother, Corissa Mueller, refused to consent to the recommended procedures. Eric Mueller was not given pre-deprivation notice of the detective’s intentions or post-deprivation notice by Detective Rogers, and the Muellers’s child received a medical test and treatment in Eric Mueller’s absence.
Eric Mueller sued Detective Rogers, claiming that he was deprived of (1) his substantive due process rights, and also (2) his individual procedural due process rights to both pre- and post-deprivation notice in connection with the detective’s decision. Corissa Mueller’s causes of action are not part of this appeal.
As a defense, Detective Rogers timely asserted qualified immunity. The district court (1) ruled with respect to both parties’ competing motions for summary judgment on the Muellers’s substantive due process claims that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the child was in imminent danger when Detective Rogers made his decision, (2) granted nonetheless Rogers’s request for qualified immunity on those substantive due process claims, (3) denied Rogers’s request for qualified immunity on Eric Mueller’s procedural due process claims, and (4) granted summary judgment to Eric Mueller on his procedural due process claims on the ground that Rogers’s failure timely to notify him both before and immediately after the deprivation of custody violated his constitutional rights as a matter of law.
In this appeal, Rogers asks us (1) to reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Eric Mueller’s procedural pre-deprivation and post-deprivation notice due process claims, and (2) to rule in his favor on those claims on the ground of qualified immunity.
We have jurisdiction over this timely appeal, and we conclude (1) that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to Eric Mueller on his procedural due process claims as a matter of law, and (2) that Detective Rogers is shielded by qualified immunity from those same claims. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.