Case Name: Keith B. Baranski, et al. v. Fifteen Unknown Agents of ATF, et al.
Abstract: Plaintiffs, Keith B. Baranski and Pars International Corporation, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Defendants, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, alleging that Defendants obtained an unlawful search warrant and then violated Plaintiffs? Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights by seizing 372 machine guns under authority of the warrant. The subject warrant was issued by a magistrate judge who sealed the affidavit supporting the warrant and identifying the machine guns for seizure after issuance of the warrant. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. The Court held that Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity because Plaintiffs did not have a clearly established constitutional right to a unsealed affidavit. The Court also held that Plaintiffs could not rely on the violation of federal statute as a vehicle for alleging a constitutional claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents, et al., 403 U.S. 388 (1971).