Joseph Watley v. Michael Felsman


NOT PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT ______________ No. 19-2820 ______________ JOSEPH J. WATLEY v. MICHAEL FELSMAN; DANIEL NILON; JAMES SOHNS Michael Felsman; Daniel Nilon, Appellants ______________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 3-16-cv-2059) District Judge: Honorable A. Richard Caputo ______________ Argued on May 27, 2020 Before: AMBRO, HARDIMAN, and RESTREPO, Circuit Judges (Filed: December 30, 2020) Daniel C. Beck [Argued] Emily Jane Rodriguez Pennsylvania State Police Office of Chief Counsel 1800 Elmerton Avenue Harrisburg, PA 17110 Counsel for Appellants Cynthia L. Pollick [Argued] P.O. Box 757 Clarks Summit, PA 18411 Counsel for Appellee ______________ OPINION* ______________ RESTREPO, Circuit Judge Corporals Michael Felsman and Daniel Nilon appeal from the judgments entered against them in this civil rights action brought by Joseph J. Watley stemming from a traffic stop. Nilon appeals the judgment in favor of Watley following trial related to his search of Watley’s vehicle.1 Felsman appeals the summary judgment entered against him and in favor of Watley on Watley’s unreasonable seizure claim and the judgment entered against him after trial and in Watley’s favor on a related excessive force claim. Both * This disposition is not an Opinion of the full Court and, pursuant to I.O.P. 5.7, does not constitute binding precedent. 1 To the extent Nilon intends an appeal of the order denying his summary judgment motion as to the qualified immunity defense to the illegal search claim, we dismiss because he did not appeal the order within 30 days and the claim proceeded through trial. See Ortiz v. Jordan, 562 U.S. 180, 189 (2011) (holding that a party may not appeal an order denying summary judgment after a trial on the claim and must proceed by way of Rule 50 motions to preserve the issue); Weimer v. County of Fayette, Pa., 972 F.3d 177, 184 (3d Cir. 2020) (“An interlocutory order appealable under the collateral order doctrine must be appealed within thirty days of its entry.”). 2 challenge the denial of qualified immunity related to those claims. For the reasons which follow, we affirm in part and reverse in part. I. On May 11, 2016, Mr. Watley was pulled over by Corporal Felsman who issued three traffic citations. After issuing the citations, Felsman arrested Watley and placed him in hand and leg restraints before transporting him to appear before a state magisterial district judge to address the citations. Corporal Nilon and Trooper James Sohns conducted a search of Watley’s vehicle before it was towed. Nilon searched the driver’s side of the vehicle, including the passenger compartment, underneath and behind the seats, in the door cubbies, in the center console, the trunk, and around the spare tire. Trooper Sohns searched the passenger side of the vehicle, including the passenger compartment and under the seats. He also looked in the trunk of the vehicle. Sohns testified that only a camera phone and accompanying phone case were found. After his initial appearance, the judge ordered Watley to …

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