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July 20-24. 2009.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 21, 2009 Oscar Renda Contracting Inc. v. Lubbock, No. 08-10481 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action claiming that defendant city violated the First Amendment by denying plaintiff a construction contract, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where not all construction contract disputes involving government entities or agents are matters of public concern.
U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 21, 2009 US v. Whaley, No. 08-10951 Defendant’s conviction for failure to register in accordance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) is affirmed where SORNA does not exceed Congress’s powers under the Commerce Clause because it forbids sex offenders from using the channels of interstate commerce to evade their registration requirements.
U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 22, 2009 Waeschle v. Dragovic, No. 08-2228 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action against a county Medical Examiner for depriving plaintiff of her right to dispose of her deceased mother’s brain (removed in an autopsy and later incinerated as medical waste), denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity is reversed where plaintiff had no clearly established property right in the brain because it was removed and retained for study in furtherance of a lawful criminal investigation
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 21, 2009 Catlin v. City of Wheaton, No. 07-3903 In a civil rights action for false arrest and excessive force, summary judgment for defendants based on qualified immunity is affirmed where: 1) officers reasonably believed that the person arrested was the person sought; and 2) the officers’ use of force was not excessive, as the amount of force the defendants used to restrain defendant was reasonable, and it was not clearly established that defendants had a constitutional duty to identify themselves after they initially immobilized but before they fully restrained him.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 21, 2009 Milwaukee Deputy Sheriff’s Ass’n v. Clarke, No. 08-3298 In an action claiming retaliation in violation of the First Amendment, district court’s grant of summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where: 1) the officer’s disputed statements were not a matter of public concern, and thus were not protected by the First Amendment; and 2) the revised confidentiality policy issued by the Sheriff’s Office did not constitute an unlawful prior restraint because it regulates only speech not subject to First Amendment protection.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 20, 2009 Zanders v. Swanson, No. 08-3221 District court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ preenforcement challenge to a state criminal statute for lack of standing is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs failed to meet their Article III burden of proving that their First Amendment rights were chilled based on a subjective and sincere belief that under the statute they would be criminally charged for making truthful claims of police misconduct; and 2) the court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the claim of the one plaintiff with standing based on the Younger doctrine.
U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 22, 2009 Brown v. City of Golden Valley, No. 08-1640 In an action alleging excessive force by the police, district court judgment denying defendants’ motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity is affirmed where: 1) the court did not err in concluding that the officer’s use of force was not objectively reasonable as a matter of law; 2) the law is clearly established such that a reasonable police officer is informed that it is unlawful to Taser a nonviolent, suspected misdemeanant who was not fleeing or resisting arrest and posed little or no threat to anyone’s safety; and 3) a jury could find defendant is not entitled to official immunity because he willfully violated plaintiff’s right to be free from excessive force.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 21, 2009 Huppert v. Pittsburg, No. 06-17362 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action claiming that defendant city violated the First Amendment by disciplining plaintiff police officers based on their speech, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed where the speech at issue was made pursuant to plaintiffs’ job duties.
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 23, 2009 Renee v. Duncan, No. 08-16661 In a challenge to a Department of Education regulation permitting teachers participating in alternative route programs to be considered “highly qualified” under the No Child Left Behind Act, an order granting summary judgment to the Department is vacated with instructions to dismiss the action where plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the regulation because they could not show that invalidating the regulation would personally benefit them.
U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, July 24, 2009 Young America’s Found. v. Gates, No. 08-5366 In an action seeking to compel the Secretary of Defense to withhold federal funds from a university that allegedly denied military recruiters equal access to its campus, dismissal of the action is affirmed where plaintiff lacked standing because it failed to show that withholding funds would enable plaintiff’s members to meet with military recruiters at on-campus job fairs