A mobile home park owner requested the presence of deputy sheriffs to deter any resistance during an eviction. Up to five deputy sheriffs were present as park employees disconnected the trailer’s sewer and water connections and towed it out of the park, which caused serious damage to the home. The deputies informed the tenant that they were there to prevent him from interfering. Throughout this period, the deputies were aware that the park owner did not have an eviction order and that the eviction was unlawful.
Whether the officers “seized” the mobile home?
Yes. The officers had “seized” the mobile home within the definition of the Fourth Amendment and could be subject to a § 1983 lawsuit.
The Court held that the forcible removal of the trailer home from the park was a “seizure” of the home within the meaning of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. This was true although the officers did not enter the home or rummage through the homeowner’s possessions and did not interfere with the homeowner’s liberty during the eviction. The Court cited precedents indicating that the Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable seizures of property regardless of whether the seizure is the outcome of a search, and protects pure property interests even in a setting other than law enforcement.
506 U.S. 56, 113 S. Ct. 538 (1992)