Love subjected Redd to a prolonged and humiliating interrogation, triggering his suicide the next day, the suit alleged.
Unless the Redd family asks for reconsideration, Monday's ruling should put the contentious lawsuit against Love to rest, although the Redd family has an appeal pending in a separate lawsuit against the federal government. U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart dismissed that case last year.
While the Redd litigation winds down, Blanding residents' resentment toward the BLM has not begun to fade.
Redd was a pillar of the community, and the raid was seen by some as unnecessary and thuggish invasion into the homes of law-abiding citizens. Since then, tensions have only escalated in San Juan County after the conviction of a county commissioner for leading a protest ride into Recapture Canyon and the controversial designation of the Bears Ears National Monument.
But as for Love, his conduct remained within the confines of the U.S. Constitution, despite the presence of as many as 22 federal officers at Redd's home at the time of Redd's arrest, according to Monday's opinion written by Judge Gregory Phillips of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Many of the officers were called in to help catalog hundreds of artifacts found in the Redd home, and extra security was needed in the face of threats, Love and other federal witnesses testified. Agency policies required that officers wear armor and firearms in situations where confrontations could be expected.
"Agent Love's conduct deploying 22 agents wearing soft body armor and carrying firearms in compliance with agency policy was not objectively unreasonable under the circumstances," Phillips wrote in the opinion that upheld a lower court ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby.
The Redd family alleged far more than 22 officers came to the home, but the evidence never determined how many were there at one time or even how many Redd would have seen. He was being processed in and out of jail during much of the time his home was searched.
After the Blanding raids, the BLM promoted Love to special-agent-in-charge for Utah and Nevada. In that role, he repeatedly upset rural sheriffs, county commissioners and lawmakers for what they alleged was his refusal to cooperate with local law enforcement. Love has since been reassigned.
Brian Maffly covers public lands for The Salt Lake Tribune. Maffly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-257-8713.