Professor Katherine Macfarlane’s Article on Section 1983 Cited in Qualified Immunity Ruling

Professor Katherine Macfarlane’s article Accelerated Civil Rights Settlements in the Shadow of Section 1983, 2018 Utah L. Rev. 639 (2018) was cited by District Judge Carlton W. Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in a ruling in Green v. Thomas, denying a motion to dismiss malicious prosecution and false arrest claims on the grounds of qualified immunity. In his decision, Judge Reeves cites Professor Macfarlane’s article on Section 1983, a law that was passed originally as part of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, and its historic role in civil rights litigation, writing:

The Ku Klux Klan Act “established a new legal order that contemplated direct federal intervention in what had been considered to be state affairs, a system in which federal courts were to enforce newly created federal constitutional rights against state officials through civil remedies and criminal sanctions.” Katherine A. Macfarlane, Accelerated Civil Rights Settlements in the Shadow of Section 1983, 2018 Utah L. Rev. 639, 660 (2018) (quotation marks and citation omitted). 

In conclusion, Judge Reeves writes:

“Desmond Green has suffered two injustices. The judiciary should not impose a third. If qualified immunity would do that, closing the courthouse doors to his claims, then the doctrine should come to its overdue end. The motion to dismiss is denied. This case is stayed so that Detective Thomas can exercise her right to an immediate interlocutory appeal. If she declines to timely appeal, the case will proceed into discovery as to this defendant. Detective Thomas can exercise her right to an immediate interlocutory appeal. If she declines to timely appeal, the case will proceed into discovery as to this defendant.”

Judge Reeves also cited Professor Macfarlane in his 2020 decision in Jamison v. McClendon.