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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Police May Be Sued in Unlawful Evictions


January 1993

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police may be sued for illegal seizure if they help a landlord unlawfully evict a tenant (Scripps Howard News Services, "Police Can Be Sued in Unlawful Eviction," Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/9/92).

The high court action reinstates a civil rights suit by Edward Soldal and family against Cook County, Illinois, Soldal v. Cook County, IL, 113 S.Ct. 538, because sheriff's deputies stood by as the Soldals' landlord removed their mobile home from its rented plot without a court order. Writing for the Supreme Court, Justice Byron White wrote: "We fail to see how being unceremoniously dispossessed of one's home in the manner alleged to have occurred here can be viewed as anything but a seizure invoking protection of the Fourth Amendment."