More on Appealable Denials of Summary Judgment

Wow, who’d have thought two cases in two days involving interlocutory appeals from denial of summary judgment premised on qualified immunity grounds?  Bingue v. Prunchak, case no. 05-16388 (9th Cir. Jan. 15, 2008) actually came out a day earlier than the case in my immediately prior post, but I’m catching up in reverse chronological order, so I saw it second.

Anyway, in my first post on the topic, I reminded you that one exception to the general rule against interlocutory appeals is that an order denying summary judgment sought on qualified immunity grounds may be appealed.

In Bingue, the plaintiff complained that the court could not review the denial of summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds because the existence of qualified immunity depended on the resolution of disputed material facts and the court’s appellate jurisdiction extends only to questions of law in such appeals.  But there are two  ways around this.  First, the court can review as a matter of law by assuming the truth of the facts set forth by the plaintiff.  Second, the court can determine that the disputed facts are not actually material.

Here, the court uses the former analysis to evaluate whether qualified immunity exists under the facts as asserted by the plaintiff.  And finds that it does.