Big Cats of Serenity Springs, Inc. v Rhodes and Thompson

Rhodes and Thompson appealed the denial of their qualified immunity motions in Big Cat’s Bivens and 1983 actions alleging constitutional violations when Rhodes and Thompson forcibly entered Big Cat’s facility without a warrant. The panel affirmed as to Bivens and reversed as to 1983. As to Bivens, it held a remedy should lie here as the administrative review process for Animal Welfare Act citations did not provide any mean to remedy unreasonable searches and thus cannot be held to show Congress intended to have the review process prevent a Bivens action and no special factors counsel against the Bivens remedy as inspectors such as Rhodes and Thompson do not face a comprehensive disciplinary scheme and Bivens actions for 4th Amendment violations have been allowed against other federal agents in the FBI, IRS and marshals service. While indicating it would not have created a remedy here absent Bivens, precedent supports the remedy here and the panel thus agreed the claim could proceed. It held the alleged forcible entry here violated clearly established United States Supreme Court case law that bars forcible entry for an administrative search of commercial property without a warrant or under a recognized exception to the warrant requirement neither of which applied here. It reversed on 1983 as the facts viewed most favorably to Big cats do not support an inference the state deputies called by Rhodes and Thompson to assist entry had any state law objectives and in fact acted under the false impression there was a warrant allowing entry and thus there is no basis to conclude Rhodes and Thompson were acting under state law when they forced entry.

In re Long (Nelson, Trustee v Long)

Nelson appealed the bankruptcy court ruling that life insurance proceeds paid to Long before he filed for bankruptcy were not part of the bankruptcy estate. The panel affirmed. It held that under Oklahoma statute Title 36, section 3631(A), applying the same meaning to “paid or rendered” as the meaning given to similarly worded statutes by the Oklahoma supreme Court, life insurance proceeds, whether paid before or after bankruptcy is filed and thus the proceeds here were correctly excluded from the estate.

United States v Taylor

Taylor appealed his felon in possession sentence arguing a prior state assault conviction was not a crime of violence for federal setting guideline purposes. The panel affirmed. It held that the conclusion that convictions Oklahoma’s assault and battery with a dangerous weapon was a crime of violence reached in an unpublished opinion earlier this year was correct as the Oklahoma statute has divisible elements with two crimes namely assault with a dangerous weapon or shooting at another, the modified categorical approach is appropriate here and the need to prove use a dangerous weapon makes even the least serious apprehension based assault conviction under the relevant statute a crime of violence  as the amount of force required is such as can cause serious bodily injury which satisfies the United States Supreme Court’s interpretation of the elements guideline which requires the element of violent force.