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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit posts one Indiana case, decided June 24th

In Robin Allman v. Kevin Smith and City of Anderson (SD Ind., Pratt), a 9-page opinion, Judge Easterbrook writes:

After being elected Mayor of Anderson, Indiana, a city of about 56,000 people, Kevin Smith replaced many members of the City’s staff with his political supporters or persons he deemed trustworthy. Eleven of the fired workers filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. §1983, contending that the discharges violated the First Amendment as understood in Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347 (1976). The district judge concluded that all plaintiffs have enough evidence to require a trial but that Mayor Smith is entitled to qualified immunity with respect to nine of the eleven plaintiffs’ claims. 6 F. Supp. 3d 889 (S.D. Ind. 2014).

The Mayor has appealed from the adverse portion of this interlocutory decision, relying on Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511 (1985), and its successors. Surprisingly, the City also has appealed, even though as a municipal body it is not entitled to any form of immunity and is outside Mitchell’s ambit. The City invokes the doctrine of “pendent appellate jurisdic tion,” which barely survived its scathing treatment in Swint v. Chambers County Commission, 514 U.S. 35 (1995), and today allows a court of appeals to review an interlocutory order only when it is “inextricably intertwined” with an appeala-­‐‑ ble decision. Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 707 n.41 (1997). * * *

The appeal is dismissed to the extent it concerns the City of Anderson or Robin Allman’s claim. The district court’s decision that Mayor Smith is not entitled to qualified im munity on Margaret Baugher’s claim is affirmed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 25, 2015 09:44 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions