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Kenosha used Comsys as its information-technology department. Comsys had its offices inside City Hall and stored its electronic information on the City’s servers. Their contract automatically renewed from year to year unless terminated, and provided that either party “shall have the right, with or without cause, to terminate the Agreement by written notice delivered to the other party at least twelve (12) calendar months prior to the specified effective date of such termination.” In 2014, hostilities broke out between the parties: a Comsys employee because a city employee with plans to bring the IT department in-house and there were allegations of stolen email and a search of the servers. The City’s Common Council voted to end the contract. The Mayor delivered formal notice days later. The contract ended a year later. Comsys sued, alleging First and Fourth Amendment violations. The district court dismissed several claims on the pleadings and dismissed the Council’s members on the ground of legislative immunity but denied motions for summary judgment on the First and Fourth Amendment claim and official immunity claims by the Mayor, City Administrator, and the City Manager. The Seventh Circuit reversed as to those officials, finding that they did not violate clearly established law and cannot be ordered to pay damages under 42 U.S.C. 1983, and noting that trying to isolate contract administration from speech may be impossible in this situation. View "Comsys Inc. v. Pacetti" on Justia Law

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Kenosha used Comsys as its information-technology department. Comsys had its offices inside City Hall and stored its electronic information on the City’s servers. Their contract automatically renewed from year to year unless terminated, and provided that either party “shall have the right, with or without cause, to terminate the Agreement by written notice delivered to the other party at least twelve (12) calendar months prior to the specified effective date of such termination.” In 2014, hostilities broke out between the parties: a Comsys employee because a city employee with plans to bring the IT department in-house and there were allegations of stolen email and a search of the servers. The City’s Common Council voted to end the contract. The Mayor delivered formal notice days later. The contract ended a year later. Comsys sued, alleging First and Fourth Amendment violations. The district court dismissed several claims on the pleadings and dismissed the Council’s members on the ground of legislative immunity but denied motions for summary judgment on the First and Fourth Amendment claim and official immunity claims by the Mayor, City Administrator, and the City Manager. The Seventh Circuit reversed as to those officials, finding that they did not violate clearly established law and cannot be ordered to pay damages under 42 U.S.C. 1983, and noting that trying to isolate contract administration from speech may be impossible in this situation. View "Comsys Inc. v. Pacetti" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was when public school students are entitled to Miranda warnings at school. B.A., who was thirteen years old, was escorted from a school bus and questioned in a vice-principal’s office in response to a bomb threat on a bathroom wall. Three officers wearing police uniforms hovered over B.A. and encouraged him to confess. B.A. moved to suppress the evidence from his interview, arguing that he was entitled to Miranda warnings because he was under custodial interrogation and officers failed to secure waiver of his Miranda rights under Indiana’s juvenile waiver statute, Ind. Code 31-32-5-1. The juvenile court denied the motion and found B.A. delinquent for committing false reporting and institutional criminal mischief. The Supreme Court reversed B.A.’s delinquency adjudications, holding (1) B.A. was in police custody and under police interrogation when he made the incriminating statements; and (2) therefore, B.A.’s statements should have been suppressed under both Miranda and Indiana’s juvenile waiver statute. View "B.A. v. State" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the trial court had authority to enjoin the state from enforcing new statutes as punishment for contempt of court. The court of common pleas found the state to be in contempt of a court order that permanently enjoined the state from enforcing several statutes that the court had declared unconstitutional. The contempt finding was based on the General Assembly’s enactment of new statutes that reduced funding to cities that were not acting in compliance with the statutes that were previously declared unconstitutional. As punishment for the contempt, the state was enjoined from enforcing the new laws. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, vacated the order of contempt, and dissolved the injunction against enforcing the spending provisions enacted by 2015 Am.Sub.H.B. No. 64 (H.B. 64), holding that the trial court lacked authority to enjoin enforcement of the spending provisions enacted in H.B. 64 because the statutes had not been declared unconstitutional. View "Toledo v. State" on Justia Law

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Montana’s Preferred Provider Agreements Act (MPPAA), Mont. Code Ann. 33-22-1701 to -1707, does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Montana Constitution. Plaintiff sought and received treatment from St. Peter’s Hospital for various injuries and symptoms. Because Plaintiff did not have health insurance the Hospital billed Plaintiff directly, but almost all of Plaintiff’s treatments costs were either covered by another party’s insurance or significantly discounted by the Hospital’s financial-need discount. Plaintiff brought this lawsuit arguing that the statutes authorizing the Hospital’s billing practices violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Montana Constitution. The district court concluded that the MPPAA creates similarly situated classes but does not violate Plaintiff’s equal protection rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the MPPAA, which authorizes the Hospital’s billing practices, does not deprive Plaintiff of her right to equal protection. View "Gazelka v. St. Peter's Hospital" on Justia Law

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Because Defendant’s affirmative actions at trial resulted in a violation of his right to an impartial jury, the invited-error doctrine required that Defendant’s conviction be affirmed. After a second trial, Defendant was found guilty of murder. During trial, defense counsel expressly agreed to the trial court’s constitutionally defective procedure for removing and replacing a juror after deliberations had begun. On appeal, Defendant argued that, despite his acquiescence, the court’s procedure violated his constitutional right to an impartial jury, thus resulting in reversible error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there is no reason to exempt structural errors from the invited-error doctrine; and (2) Defendant invited the error in this case as part of a deliberate trial strategy, and therefore, his conviction must be affirmed. View "Durden v. State" on Justia Law

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Milliman, then a McHenry County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) deputy, gave a deposition in which he accused Sheriff Nygren of corruption, bribery, securing fraudulent loans, trafficking illegal aliens, and soliciting two murders. Nygren and his subordinates referred Milliman to a psychologist to evaluate whether he was fit for duty. The psychologist determined that Milliman suffered from cognitive and psychological problems from a previous brain tumor that rendered him unfit to perform his duties. MCSD terminated Milliman based upon the results of that examination, the false allegations against Nygren, and violations of MCSD General Orders. Milliman sued Nygren, Nygren’s subordinates, and the county under 42 U.S.C. 1983, claiming that defendants violated his First Amendment rights by retaliating against him for protected speech. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants and the Seventh Circuit affirmed, on the ground that the fitness‐for‐ duty examination provided an independent, non‐retaliatory, non‐pretextual basis for Milliman’s termination. The court rejected Milliman’s argument that a jury could question whether Milliman’s fitness examination was ordered in good faith because he received a “standard” rating in his last annual performance review, citing the importance of such precautionary measures in the law enforcement context due to “the risks posed by an officer who is not well enough to work.” View "Milliman v. Prim" on Justia Law

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The district court granted summary judgment for defendants on all charges, except for an unlawful arrest claim, in an action alleging violation of plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights. On appeal, Officer Thomas argued that he was entitled to qualified immunity on the unlawful arrest claim. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed and held that the officer did not have arguable probable cause to arrest plaintiff where the officer's search did not reveal clothing that matched the perpetrator's, any threatening note resembling what the perpetrator presented at the pharmacies, a face mask, two pill bottles containing a total of six pills, a Walgreens bag, or anything else connecting defendant to the crimes. Furthermore, the officer had been told the readily verifiable exculpatory fact that the perpetrator's multiple tattoos did not match plaintiff's single tattoo. View "Cozzi v. Thomas" on Justia Law

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Joint Logistics (JL) hired Oliver, an African-American, as a truck driver in 2012, subject to a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which outlined two seniority units: the Motor Vehicle Repair Employees and the Motor Vehicle Operation Employees (transportation unit). When JL conducted layoffs, the most junior employees within a “seniority unit” were let go first. When JL filled a position more senior employees within the unit had hiring priority. At various points during 2013–2015, Oliver was laid off from and subsequently recalled to his position in the transportation unit. Each time he was laid off, Oliver was the least senior member of that unit. In 2014, Oliver applied for an open mechanic position in the repair unit. Vance, a white male, also applied. Neither had seniority over the other. While JL considered his application, Oliver filed a charge with the EEOC alleging discrimination and retaliation. Weeks later, JL hired Vance to fill the position. During the following months, JL filled other mechanic positions, for which Oliver did not apply. Oliver brought discrimination and retaliation claims under 42 U.S.C. 1981. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of JL. Oliver cannot establish a prima facie case that he was laid off because of his race; he presented no adequate comparators. Oliver cannot demonstrate that JL hid a discriminatory motive when it failed to hire him for the mechanic position. View "Oliver v. Joint Logistics Managers, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's motion to dismiss a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12181, et seq. The court held that plaintiff's claims were not moot due to the fact that defendant entered into a remediation plan as a result of a settlement between the defendant and a different plaintiff in an almost identical earlier-filed suit. Rather, plaintiff's complaint presented a live case or controversy where there was nothing in the record demonstrating that Hooters has successfully updated the accessibility of its website; some of the relief requested by plaintiff remained outstanding and could be granted by the court; and plaintiff was not a party to the previous settlement. In this case, plaintiff, who is blind and a disabled person within the meaning of the ADA, attempted to read and navigate Hooters' website but was unable to do so because the website was not compatible with Screen Reader Software. View "Haynes v. Hooters of America, LLC" on Justia Law