Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for DCDC in an action alleging claims of gender, age, and disability discrimination under state and federal civil rights laws. Plaintiff, a 56 year old woman, worked as a correctional officer until she was injured in inmate altercations. After plaintiff worked the maximum allowable number of days of light duty pursuant to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), she was terminated when no other suitable position was found. The court held that plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of sex discrimination; plaintiff's prima facie evidence of bad faith supporting her claim of failure to accommodate/disability was rebutted by the incontrovertible evidence that plaintiff could not have been reasonably accommodated; and plaintiff's age discrimination claim failed because she did not produce evidence of a similarly situated younger person who was treated differently. View "Faulkner v. Douglas County" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment for a sheriff's deputy in an action filed by plaintiff under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the deputy used excessive force while arresting her. The court held that the deputy was entitled to qualified immunity where it was not clearly established at the time that a deputy was forbidden to use a takedown maneuver to arrest a suspect who ignored the deputy's instruction to "get back here" and continued to walk away from the officer. View "Kelsay v. Ernst" on Justia Law

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The North Dakota Secretary of State filed a motion to stay an order of the district court that enjoined parts of the North Dakota elections statutes. The district court enjoined the Secretary from enforcing a provision that required a voter to present at the polls a valid form of identification that provides the voter's current residential street address. The Eighth Circuit granted the motion and held that the Secretary demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits in his challenge to this aspect of the injunction, the State would be irreparably harmed by the injunction during the general election in November, and a stay should be granted after consideration of all relevant factors. View "Brakebill v. Jaeger" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment granting petitioner's application for habeas corpus relief from his death sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254. The court held that, because the district court's partial grant of petitioner's rule 59(e) motion was not subject to this appeal, the court did not address the merits of the district court's application of Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309 (2012), and its finding of extraordinary circumstances. The court also held that the district court's finding that petitioner was prejudiced by counsel's deficient performance was supported by the evidence. Therefore, the district court properly concluded that petitioner established ineffective assistance of counsel. The court agreed with the district court that, as to Ground I, petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion was not a successive claim under 28 U.S.C. 2244(b). Finally, the district court did not err in denying respondent's Rule 59(e) motion; the judgment granting habeas relief was not the result of any manifest error; and the motion was not supported by any showing of extraordinary circumstances. View "Barnett v. Roper" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was appointed as a presidential elector during the 2016 presidential election, he was deemed to have vacated his position under Minnesota's Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act, Minn. Stat. 208.40-208.48, when he attempted to vote for candidates other than those to whom he was pledged. Plaintiff then filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the Minnesota statute and to enjoin Minnesota officials from counting the vote of the substitute elector. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action as moot where Congress had counted the Minnesota elector votes, and denied plaintiff's motion to supplement the record and to remand for further proceedings on mootness. The court held that plaintiff failed to establish that his action fell within the mootness exception for cases that were capable of repetition yet evading review because plaintiff failed to file his action sooner. View "Abdurrahman v. Dayton" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Trimark in an action filed by plaintiff, alleging that she was terminated from her job as an executive housekeeper because of her age, in retaliation against her, because she took protected leave, and because she opposed Millennium's discriminatory practices. The court held that plaintiff failed to provide direct evidence that she was retaliated against because of her deposition testimony. Under the McDonnell-Douglas framework, even assuming plaintiff could establish a prima facie case of retaliation, Millennium had clearly shown a legitimate non-discriminatory or retaliatory reason for firing her. In this case, Millennium's internal investigation credibly exposed that plaintiff regularly altered employee hours without using a company-sanctioned form. The court also held that plaintiff failed to show a specific link between any age discrimination and her termination sufficient to support the inference that the discrimination was the cause of her termination. Finally, plaintiff failed to provide any direct evidence that she was fired because she took protected leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. View "Naguib v. Trimark Hotel Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Holiday Stationstores, alleging claims for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) based on the company's failure to provide a compliant handicap-accessible parking space at one of its stores. The district court granted Holiday's motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff's claims. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied plaintiff's motion to strike the affidavit of Holiday's Vice President of Engineering. The court vacated the district court's judgment dismissing the ADA claim and held that, although the ADA claim was moot after Holiday permanently flattened the access aisle, it was wrong to dismiss the claim because the proper procedure was to remand the claim to state court. Furthermore, the portion of the judgment dismissing plaintiff's claim for injunctive relief under the Minnesota Human Rights Act must also be vacated and remanded to state court. Finally, the court held that plaintiff's claim for damages under the MHRA was not moot and the district court should, on remand, determine whether it wished to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over this claim. View "Hillesheim v. Holiday Stationstores, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and his wife filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the City and members of the police department who investigated a student's allegation that plaintiff sexually assaulted her. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants, holding that the district court correctly identified the governing Rule 56(d) principles, so there was no error of law amounting to an abuse of discretion. In this case, plaintiff presented no evidence tending to refute or contradict defendants' strong evidence from the state court proceedings that their conduct in investigating the student's serious allegation of sexual misconduct, however questionable or incomplete, was not conscious-shocking behavior as a matter of law. The court held that officers were entitled to summary judgment where the investigation did not violate plaintiff's constitutional rights. Consequently, the district court dismissed claims for supervisory liability against the police chief and the city. The court affirmed the dismissal of claims for malicious prosecution, negligent hiring and supervision and loss of consortium affirmed. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiffs' Rule 56(d) request to defer its ruling until additional discovery was completed and in granting summary judgment dismissing all claims. View "Johnson v. Moody" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order permanently enjoining enforcement of a recently enacted provision of the Missouri Constitution, Missouri Constitution Article VIII, Section 23.3(12), which prohibits a political action committee from receiving contributions from other political action committees. The court held that the prohibition unconstitutionally infringed on a political action committee's First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. The court held that the amendment violated the First Amendment as applied to political action committees (PACs) that donate only to candidates and to PACs that both donate to candidates and make independent expenditures, and the state did not have a sufficiently important interest in preventing contributions to a PAC that makes only independent expenditures. View "Free and Fair Election Fund v. Missouri Ethics Commission" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit vacated a preliminary injunction enjoining provisions of Missouri Revised Statute section 197.200 (2007), which required a doctor who performs abortions at an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) to have surgical privileges at a licensed hospital in the community, and regulations issued by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which required a number of physical design and layout provisions for facilities performing abortions. The court held that a substantive due process challenge to the Physical Plant Regulations—governed by the "cost-benefit analysis" required by the undue burden standard—was not currently fit for judicial resolution given the paucity of evidence on how DHSS will grant waivers. Because the court lacked sufficient information to make a constitutional determination on the Physical Plant Regulations, the court remanded to the district court for further consideration. The court also held that the district court failed to apply the plain language of Whole Women's Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct. 2292, as revised (June 27, 2016), when it enjoined the Hospital Relationship Requirement. Therefore, the court remanded for the district court, at the very least, to weigh the state's asserted benefits against the burdens associated with the requirement. View "Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains v. Hawley" on Justia Law