American Journal of Law & Medicine

Constitutional law: search and seizure, state hospital administrator's search of doctor's office - Ortega v. O'Connor.

Constitutional Law: Search and Seizure, State Hospital Administrators' Search of Doctor's Office--Ortega v. O'Connor(1)--The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in favor of Dr. Magno Ortega's claim under 42 U.S.C. [sections] 1983. The appellate court held that: (1) the district court judge gave an appropriate jury instruction on both prongs of the defendants' qualified immunity defense and the defendants could not have prevailed on this defense;(2) (2) a hospital administrators' search of Ortega's office was unconstitutional because it was not justified at its inception;(3) and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding all seized evidence of sexual harassment in the liability phase of trial.(4)

Ortega, a licensed physician and psychiatrist, had been Chief of Professional Education at Napa State Hospital since 1964 and was in charge of its residents. In March 1981, he purchased a new computer with donations from hospital residents. …

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