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Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Labor & Employment – Civil Rights – Discrimination Claims – Insubordination – Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies – Statute of Limitations (access required)

Capers v. Behr Heat Transfer Systems Even if plaintiff could make out a prima facie case of race discrimination, the defendant-employer has proffered a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for firing plaintiff: on top of her poor work record, she disobeyed her supervisor’s express instructions twice in six months.

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Prisons & Jails – Civil Rights – ‘3 Strikes’ Dismissal – Inmate’s Appeal (access required)

Henslee v. Keller In an inmate’s suit alleging prison barbers do not sanitize equipment and put inmates at risk for infection, the district court’s dismissal of the suit cannot act as “strike three” that prevents the inmate from gaining IFP status to appeal the dismissal; the 4th Circuit joins the majority of federal appellate courts to consider the question to hold that a district court dismissal may not act as a third strike under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

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Prisons & Jails – Civil Rights – Religion – Beard Policy – Health & Security Concerns (access required)

Couch v. Jabe Virginia prison officials failed to show how allowing a Sunni Muslim inmate to wear a one-eighth-inch beard would implicate prison health or security concerns, and the 4th Circuit vacates summary judgment for defendant officials in the inmate’s suit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

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Civil Rights – Schools & School Boards – Student Assignment Plan – Burden of Proof – Racial Disparities (access required)

Everett v. Pitt County Board of Ed. Parents’ groups that oppose a county school board’s 2011-2012 student assignment plan win their appeal in the 4th Circuit, which says the district court erred by failing to apply, and requiring the school board to rebut, a presumption that racial disparities in the assignment plan resulted from the school board’s prior unconstitutional operation of a racially segregated school district.

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Civil Rights – Malicious Prosecution – Qualified Immunity – Lack of Probable Cause – Impersonating a Police Officer (access required)

Merchant v. Bauer A Fairfax County police officer could not objectively and reasonably have believed plaintiff was impersonating a police officer in violation of a Virginia statute when plaintiff, a psychologist who served as deputy director of a Maryland county correctional department, had a badge in her pocket, used air quotes to refer to her county-provided “police car,” and told the officer he should show her professional courtesy; the 4th Circuit upholds a denial of qualified immunity to the officer.

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Civil Rights – Search & Seizure – Tort/Negligence – Trespass & Assault — Bail Bondsman – No Qualified Immunity (access required)

Gregg v. Ham A bail bondsman pursuing a fugitive in his home neighborhood must pay $100,000 to a disabled woman whose home the bondsman surveilled and searched; the 4th Circuit says the bail bondsman is not entitled to qualified immunity from the woman’s § 1983 claim and the district court did not err in submitting the immunity issue to the jury.

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Civil Rights – Private Company – Policy or Custom – Municipal – Tort/Negligence — Assault & Battery (access required)

Kinard v. City of Greenville Plaintiff does not identify a specific policy or custom of defendant American Services, Inc. pursuant to which defendant Mills acted when he allegedly assaulted plaintiff. Nor does plaintiff allege a direct causal link between any such policy or custom and his injuries. Plaintiff has not sufficiently pled a claim against American Services under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

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Elections – Civil Rights – Voting Rights Act – Schools & School Boards – At-Large Elections – Multiple Seats – Multiple Votes per Voter (access required)

Levy v. Lexington County In 1994, the General Assembly changed elections for the Board of Trustees for School District Three from an annual February vote to a biennial vote at the time of the general election in November (an at-large election in which voters may cast multiple votes to fill multiple seats on the board).

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Civil Rights – Constitutional — Search & Seizure – Probable Cause — Refusal of Consent – Eleventh Amendment Immunity (access required)

White v. Boone A reasonable officer would have known that plaintiff’s refusal to consent to a search did not give the officer probable cause for a search warrant. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted as to defendant Boone in his individual and official capacities, granted as to defendant Cox in his official capacity, and denied as to defendant Cox on his individual capacity.

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