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Sunday, October 14, 2012

KELLY RAMOS VS. HERBERT FLOWERS, ET AL. A-4910-10T3


KELLY RAMOS VS. HERBERT FLOWERS, ET AL.
          A-4910-10T3
Plaintiff, who asserts that he was in the process of filming a documentary about gang activity in a public area, filed suit against the police officer whom he alleges ordered him to stop filming, claiming that the officer violated his free-speech rights under Article I, paragraphs 6 and 18 of the New Jersey Constitution, as well as the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. He brought the suit under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act, N.J.S.A. 10:6-1 to -2. The Law Division granted defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the complaint, finding that qualified immunity barred the free-speech claims. We reversed.
We determined that the affirmative defense of qualified immunity is available in actions brought under the Civil Rights Act, just as it is in actions brought under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983. However, as is the case with § 1983, it is only applicable to claims for money damages and does not apply to injunctive relief.
We further determined that the motion judge erred in applying the defense on summary judgment because the alleged actions of defendant, taken in the light most favorable to
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plaintiff, violated plaintiff's free-speech rights, which we held were well-established at the time of the incidents that gave rise to plaintiff's claims. Under those circumstances, qualified immunity is not applicable.
We remanded claims involving allegations of an unlawful arrest for further consideration and the articulation of reasons for the dismissal of those claims. 09-21-12