Findlaw Case Summaries: Constitutional Law 17

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May 17-22, 2009.

U.S. Supreme Court, May 18, 2009 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, No. 07-1015 In an action alleging that Plaintiff, who was arrested on suspicion of September-11th terrorist activity, was unconstitutionally detained, the denial of the government’s motion to dismiss is reversed and remanded where the complaint failed to plead sufficient facts to state a claim for purposeful and unlawful discrimination, as it did not show that the government policy under which Plaintiff was detained was based on discriminatory factors.

U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 21, 2009 McLean v. US, No. 06-7784 In an action by a prisoner against the U.S. claiming that the AEDPA statute of limitations is unconstitutional, the complaint’s dismissal is affirmed, where Plaintiff did not violate the Prison Litigation Reform Act by filing his suit because a dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim does not count as a “strike” under 28 U.S.C. section 1915(g), but Plaintiff’s claim nonetheless failed due to the U.S.’s immunity from suit.

U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 21, 2009 Fields v. Prater, No. 08-1437 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action claiming that Defendants prevented a state agency from hiring Plaintiff based on her political affiliation, the denial of Defendants’ motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity is affirmed, where clearly established law did not prohibit Defendants’ actions. .

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 18, 2009 Nichols v. Dancer, No. 07-15654 In an action alleging that Defendants terminated public employee-Plaintiff for exercising her First Amendment rights, summary judgment for Defendants is reversed, where the patronage dismissal doctrine does not immunize public employers who terminate employees on the basis of a perceived lack of personal loyalty.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 18, 2009 Byrd v. Maricopa Cty. Sheriff’s Dept., No. 07-16640 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action by an arrestee alleging an illegal pat down search by a female officer, judgment for Defendants is affirmed where: 1) Plaintiff failed to allege any discriminatory intent; and 2) Plaintiff opened the door to the introduction of a video describing how searches such as the one at issue were performed.

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