Brandon v. Holt
469 U.S. 464 (1985)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Brandon v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464 (1985)

Brandon v. Holt

No. 83-1622

Argued November 5, 1984

Decided January 21, 1985

469 U.S. 464

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

Syllabus

In petitioners' action in Federal District Court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, they alleged and proved that they had been assaulted by an officer of the Memphis Police Department who had a history of violent behavior that was well known within the Department. The court's judgment for petitioners, in addition to awarding compensatory and punitive damages against the officer, also awarded compensatory damages against the then Director of the Police Department "in his official capacity," the court having found that, although the Director had no actual knowledge of the officer's disciplinary record because of the Department's administrative policies, he should have known of the officer's dangerous propensities. The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment against the Director, holding that he had acted in good faith and was accordingly entitled to immunity. The court rejected petitioners' contention that the action against the Director was tantamount to an action against the city of Memphis, which could not claim the qualified immunity that its agents could assert, and thus was liable for the damages awarded against the Director. The court concluded that the suit was against an individual, not the city.

Held:

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