Akin Gump Achieves Unanimous Supreme Court Decision Granting Immunity to Private Individuals Doing Government Work

(Washington, D.C.) A team of Akin Gump attorneys achieved a unanimous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of firm client Steve Filarsky in the case Filarsky v. Delia, an important case concerning qualified immunity from suit for private individuals retained by the government to carry out its work.

Mr. Filarsky, an attorney in private practice, was retained by the city of Rialto, California, to conduct an internal investigation of firefighter Nicholas Delia. Delia later sued, claiming a violation of his constitutional rights during the investigation. The court of appeals granted immunity to all of the government officials involved in the investigation, but held that Filarsky was not entitled to qualified immunity because he was not an employee of the city.

A team of Akin Gump attorneys was brought in to argue the case before the Supreme Court. In its unanimous decision, the Court reversed and held that private individuals temporarily retained to perform governmental work are equally eligible for qualified immunity.  The Court reasoned that such immunity ensures that talented individuals are not deterred from providing public representation or service by the threat of personal damages liability.