District court order dismissing a federal civil rights lawsuit affirmed.
A panel of the the Third Circuit unanimously affirmed an order of the U.S.D.C. for the District of Delaware which granted a Rule 12 motion to dismiss in favor of law enforcement officials. The plaintiff filed suit under Section 1983, seeking damages for the alleged violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights following a traffic stop, for driving under the influence of alcohol, and the lawful seizure of blood alcohol evidence. The officials moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims were barred by the claim accrual rule in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). The district court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit. The plaintiff appealed.
Counsel argued on appeal that the plaintiff was convicted of “reckless driving” and was subject to the “alcohol-related” penalty provision of Delaware’s reckless driving statute. As such, the imposition of the plaintiff’s sentence requires his willful or wanton disregard for safety of others be related to alcohol use. The Third Circuit agreed. In affirming, the court explained, “[c]onsidering that alcohol involvement was the basis for the alcohol-related penalty provision and considering the evidence obtained through the challenged search was integral to establishing the involvement of alcohol, any error in the search would not be harmless.” Because the plaintiff failed to show his sentence has been set aside, the court agreed that the plaintiff cannot bring his claims at this time.