Cause of Action Applauds Settlement in Qualified Immunity Case

Washington, D.C. (Aug. 14, 2018) – Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) today applauds the settlement in the case of Allah v. Milling. The case revolved around the prison officials denying an inmate named Almighty Supreme Born Allah, due process and holding him in solitary confinement. The District Court ruled in favor of the inmate. That decision was overturned by the Appellate Court, citing the broad definition of “qualified immunity,” even though the Appellate Court recognized that the inmate was denied due process. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that shields public officials from civil suits. Cause of Action supports narrowing the scope to ensure citizens who are harmed by corrupt public officials can have relief in court.

John J. Vecchione, president and CEO of Cause of Action Institute issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to see the state of Connecticut recognize that Mr. Allah was harmed and has settled this case. Although we were anxious to see an overbroad application of qualified immunity redressed in the United States Supreme Court, we hope this case serves as a reminder that public officials are accountable to the citizens they serve, and an overbroad definition of qualified immunity undermines the trust we place in those who choose a path of public service by providing far too much protection to individuals who violate their commitment and the public’s trust.”

The case was unique for many reasons, most notably, the diverse coalition that came together in defense of Mr. Allah and to challenge qualified immunity. Cause of Action Institute signed an amicus brief alongside American Civil Liberties Union, American Association for Justice, Alliance Defending Freedom, Americans for Prosperity, The Institute for Justice, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, among many others and led by the Cato Institute.

Allah v. Milling Background:

While awaiting trial on a drug charge, Mr. Allah was kept in solitary confinement for seven months because he had once asked a question to a guard during a previous period of incarceration. Both the District Court and Appellate Court agreed that the defendants had denied Mr. Allah due process. However, the Appellate Court ultimately reversed the lower court’s ruling citing qualified immunity.

Qualified immunity has become a broad legal doctrine that protects government employees from civil lawsuits. In the amici, we argued, “qualified immunity denies justice to victims of unconstitutional misconduct.” We had hoped the United States Supreme Court would recognize that the defendants constitutional right to due process had been violated and therefore narrow the legal doctrine of qualified immunity to ensure defendants like Mr. Allah receive the justifiable relief they’re owed.


About Cause of Action Institute

Cause of Action Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to enhance individual and economic liberty by limiting the power of the administrative state to make decisions that are contrary to freedom and prosperity by advocating for a transparent and accountable government free from abuse.

Media Contact:
Matt Frendewey