The plaintiff’s estate brought state and federal claims against police officers after the unarmed plaintiff was shot and severely wounded (he would later die of those injuries) by police following a car chase in Newark. Though the Third Circuit determined that Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on their federal constitutional claims, on remand, the state trial court was obligated to examine plaintiff’s state constitutional claims brought pursuant to the New Jersey Civil Rights Act (“NJCRA”).

As amicus, the ACLU-NJ argued that in cases with state law claims, trial courts must consider a defendant’s request for qualified immunity under New Jersey law and its broader statutory and constitutional protections for individuals than the federal constitution. By considering broader protections, the court should review the trial court’s qualified immunity grant under New Jersey’s statutory and constitutional jurisprudence and find that the harms caused as a direct result of the Defendants’ unconstitutional behavior cannot protect them from suit because of New Jersey’s deeper protections for individual rights.


Brause, Brause & Vintrice, L.L.C.

Date filed

September 24, 2020


New Jersey Supreme Court