Plaintiff's Civil Rights Claim Goes Up In Smoke
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a chief of campus security, a private university and two security guards. The campus security guards responded to a Resident Assistant's complaint of a strong smell of marijuana coming from the plaintiff's dormitory room. Following procedures in the university handbook, they searched the room. The plaintiff asked to use the bathroom during the search, was permitted to do so and promptly left the Commonwealth in his pajamas. He was arrested in New York and eventually pled guilty to the possession of various narcotics and paraphernalia. The plaintiff claimed that, because one of the security guards was also a local police officer, the actions of all converted to state action for purposes of a civil rights claim. The court disagreed. The plaintiff's claims of an illegal search and violation of his due process rights were dismissed.