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7th Circuit grants city, mayor’s request for stay

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The doctrine of “pendent appellate jurisdiction” allows the city of Anderson to ask the District Court to stay proceedings in a case alleging city employees were fired because of political affiliation, ruled the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The case against the city is directly tied to the result of the case against the city’s mayor.

Robin Allman and other former employees of the city of Anderson fired by Mayor Kevin Smith sued him and the city, claiming their firings violate their First Amendment rights. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted summary judgment in favor of the mayor on nine of the 11 plaintiffs, finding the two remaining plaintiffs’ claims may not be barred by the mayor’s claim of immunity.

Pratt refused to certify the case for interlocutory appeal or grant Smith’s motion to stay the proceedings pending appeal. The city also sought a stay of the claims pending against Smith after its summary judgment motion was denied. In order to prevail, the city has to show that Smith hadn’t violated aany constitutional rights, which would eliminate the city’s liability because its liability is derivative from the mayor’s.

Pratt denied both Smith’s and the city’s motions to stay.

The 7th Circuit reversed and stayed the proceedings against the mayor and the city, citing the doctrine of pendent appellate jurisdiction, which it noted is an embattled doctrine.

“The prospect of two trials involving the same facts and witnesses is not an attractive one. If the district court proceedings against the city are stayed, and the merits panel decides that the mayor did not violate the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, there will be no trial. If (with the stays granted) the merits panel decides that the mayor did violate the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights but is entitled to qualified immunity, there will be one trial, against the city. Finally, if the merits panel rejects the mayor’s appeal, the plaintiffs can try their claims against both the mayor and the city in a single proceeding. Each of these outcomes is preferable to allowing the proceedings in the district court against the city to continue while the mayor’s appeal is under consideration by this court,” Judge Richard Posner wrote in Robin Allman, et al. v. Kevin Smith, et al., 14-1792.  
 

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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