Abrams v. Jones

Qualified Immunity and Sovereign Immunity
Docket Number: 
Case Description: 

After Cincinnati police officers used force to handcuff Nathaniel Jones and hold him prone on the ground, Jones stopped breathing. Nevertheless, the officers waited for additional emergency personnel to arrive before changing his position or providing any first aid or medical assistance to Jones, and Jones died. Jones's estate brough a section 1983 suit against the officers, and the officers moved to dismiss on the basis of qualified immunity. The Sixth Circuit denied the motion. The questions presented are:


  1. Whether the “for all purposes” mandate of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10© requires that federal courts accept as true the facts stated in exhibits to a complaint for purposes of evaluating a motion to dismiss.

  2. Whether the rule of Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372 (2007) (requiring summary judgment reliance on incontrovertible facts established by a public record videotape), also applies to Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss asserting public employees’ qualified immunity defense.

  3. Whether the substantive due process “malice and intent to harm” standard, rather than the “deliberate indifference” standard, governs judicial review of police officers’ on-the-scene immediate reaction to a suspect’s need for medical care.


Brian Wolfman and Leah Nicholls of Public Citizen assisted the respondent at the cert stage, and the Supreme Court denied cert.