Anderson v. City of Hopkins, C2-86-899

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Citation393 N.W.2d 363
Docket NumberNo. C2-86-899,C2-86-899
PartiesBernard ANDERSON, et al., Respondents, v. The CITY OF HOPKINS, et al., Petitioners, Appellants.
Decision Date19 September 1986

Syllabus by the Court

An order denying a motion for summary judgment made by defendants in a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is an appealable order if the motion for summary judgment is based on a claim of immunity from suit.

Jonathon P. Parrington, Minneapolis, for appellants.

Karla R. Wahl, Minneapolis, for respondents.

Considered and decided by the court en banc without oral argument.

AMDAHL, Chief Justice.

This is a civil rights action brought by plaintiff against the City of Hopkins and two of its police officers pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants moved for summary judgment claiming that they were immune from suit under their qualified immunity recognized in Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73 L.Ed.2d 396 (1982). The trial court denied the motion. Relying on Mitchell v. Forsyth, --- U.S. ----, 105 S.Ct. 2806, 86 L.Ed.2d 411 (1985), defendants appealed from the order denying summary judgment. The Court of Appeals granted the plaintiff's motion to dismiss. We granted the defendants' petition for review. Concluding that the order is an appealable order, we reverse the Court of Appeals and remand for consideration of the merits of the appeal.

In the Mitchell case, the Supreme Court held, inter alia, that the United States Circuit Court of Appeals had jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 over an appeal by former Attorney General John Mitchell from an order of the Federal District Court denying his claim of immunity from suit for authorizing a warrantless wire tap. The Supreme Court ruled that a decision of the district court denying summary judgment is a final one for purposes of the "final judgment" rule if the decision finally determines a claim of right "separable from, and collateral to, rights asserted in the action, too important to be denied review and too independent of the cause itself to require that appellate consideration be deferred until the whole case is adjudicated." 105 S.Ct. at 2815, quoting from Cohen v. Beneficial Industrial Loan Corp., 337 U.S. 541, 546, 69 S.Ct. 1221 at (1225-1226) 93 L.Ed. 1528 (1949). The Court concluded that an order denying summary judgment on the ground of immunity from suit is a final judgment or order for purposes of appealability under section 1291 because the immunity is an immunity from suit rather than a mere defense and the immunity is effectively lost if a case is erroneously permitted to go to trial. 105 S.Ct. at 2815-17.

In an analogous context, the Supreme Court held that under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 a criminal defendant could appeal before trial from a decision of the trial court refusing to dismiss a criminal charge on the ground of double jeopardy. Abney v. United States, 431 U.S. 651, 97 S.Ct. 2034, 52 L.Ed.2d...

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    ...401 Mass. 26, 513 N.E.2d 1277 (1987), cert. denied, 485 U.S. 906, 108 S.Ct. 1078, 99 L.Ed.2d 237 (1988); Anderson v. City of Hopkins, 393 N.W.2d 363 (Minn.1986); Corum v. University of N.C., 97 N.C.App. 527, 389 S.E.2d 596 (1990); Richardson v. Chevrefils, 131 N.H. 227, 552 A.2d 89 (1988); ......
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    ...jurisdictional provision, or rule, without deciding whether or not the decision would mandate such a result. Anderson v. City of Hopkins, 393 N.W.2d 363, 364 (Minn.1986). See also, Robinson v. Beaumont, 291 Ark. 477, 725 S.W.2d 839, 842 (1987); Breault v. Chairman of the Board of Fire Commi......
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