Businessmen can sue prosecutor and investigator for violation of civil rights
The West Michigan Film LLC sued an Assistant Attorney General and Investigator, arguing that they destroyed the business's opportunity to pursue a $10 million dollar tax credit by accusing the Company and its principals of fraud. The entity argued that the government actors "conducted a baseless investigation," that they abused potential witnesses, that they arrested the principals without probable cause and that they disseminated false and misleading information that caused a breach in the firm's business expectancy.
The case was summarily dismissed after the two government actors claimed absolute witness and prosecutorial immunity. The Court of Appeals partially reversed this decision, holding that to the extent the two defendants acted as investigators, they were held to the same duty of care as an ordinary police officer. Therefore, they were entitled only to qualified immunity for their investigative actions and could be successfully sued if the plaintiff is able to document actual malice or acts that were "wrongful per se."