26 F.3d 727 (7th Cir. 1994), 93-3777, Jones v. Johnson

Docket Nº:93-3777.
Citation:26 F.3d 727
Party Name:Houston JONES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Tyson JOHNSON, et al., Defendants-Appellants.
Case Date:June 14, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 727

26 F.3d 727 (7th Cir. 1994)

Houston JONES, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Tyson JOHNSON, et al., Defendants-Appellants.

No. 93-3777.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 14, 1994

Argued May 10, 1994.

Edward G. Proctor, Jr. (argued), Sandman, Levy & Petrich, Chicago, IL, for plaintiff-appellee.

Richard T. Ryan, Mark F. Smolens (argued), Flynn, Murphy & Ryan, Chicago, IL, for defendants-appellants.

Before ESCHBACH, EASTERBROOK, and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM.

Defendants have filed an interlocutory appeal to assert the defense of official immunity.

Although Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 524-29, 105 S.Ct. 2806, 2814-17, 86 L.Ed.2d 411 (1985), permits immunity appeals under the collateral order doctrine, we held in Elliott v. Thomas, 937 F.2d 338 (7th Cir.1991), that defendants may urge only legal issues on such appeals. Accord, Crawford-El v. Britton, 951 F.2d 1314, 1317 (D.C.Cir.1991); see also Meyer v. Robinson, 992 F.2d 734, 737-38 (7th Cir.1993). A cry of "we didn't do it" does not present any distinctly legal issue or seek protection from legal uncertainty, the genesis of doctrines of official immunity.

To see that appellants are contending that they did not commit the acts of which plaintiff accuses them, one need not get beyond the first argument heading in their brief:

WHERE NOT A SCINTILLA OF EVIDENCE EXISTS THAT ONE OR MORE OF THE DEFENDANTS, JOHNSON, DEEVEY OR PAYNE, EVER STRUCK, PUNCHED OR KICKED THE PLAINTIFF, OR EVER OBSERVED ANYONE DOING SO--EITHER IN THE PARKING LOT OR IN THE POLICE STATION--SAID DEFENDANTS ARE ENTITLED TO A SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON THE PLAINTIFF'S "EXCESSIVE FORCE" CLAIMS

Page 728

Defendants do not deny that if they beat the plaintiff, as he believes they did, then they lack immunity. Whether they beat the plaintiff is a question that must be resolved in the district court before it may be reviewed on appeal. When asked at oral argument if they could lose the factual dispute and still prevail, defendants' lawyer answered no. In consequence, we lack appellate jurisdiction over the contention that the defendants did not commit or abet battery.

The excessive force claim must be distinguished from the plaintiff's argument that the defendants lacked probable cause to arrest him. It is undisputed that an officer found plaintiff, apparently intoxicated, hitting his head against a building, and took him into custody. These facts imply disorderly...

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