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Fourth Amendment Malicious Prosecution Claim: Charge-Specific Rule v. “Any-Crime” Rule

Case Name: Chiaverini v. City of Napoleon (6th Cir. Jan. 11, 2023, No. 21-3996 [nonpub. opn.]), cert. granted 12/13/2023
Case #: 23-50
Last Updated: December 13, 2023

To make out a Fourth Amendment malicious prosecution claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must show that legal process was instituted without probable cause. Thompson v. Clark, 142 S. Ct. 1332, 1338 (2022). Under the charge-specific rule, a malicious prosecution claim can proceed as to a baseless criminal charge, even if other charges brought alongside the baseless charge are supported by probable cause. Under the “any-crime” rule, probable cause for even one charge defeats a plaintiff’s malicious prosecution claims as to every other charge, including those lacking probable cause.

The question presented is: Whether Fourth Amendment malicious prosecution claims are governed by the charge-specific rule, as the Second, Third, and Eleventh circuits hold, or by the “any-crime” rule, as the Sixth Circuit holds.

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