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And The Defense Wins

And The Defense Wins

DRI member Mark E. Levitt, a partner with Allen, Norton, & Blue, P.C. in its Orlando, Florida office, successfully defended the City of Ormond Beach, Florida in a Section 1983 claim asserting a violation of the First Amendment. A department director alleged that he was terminated for speaking out on matters of public concern in violation of his free speech rights under the First Amendment.

After four days of trial, the U.S. District Court judge granted the City’s Rule 50 Motion for Judgment. The court found the department director was speaking out as an employee, within the scope of his official duties, rather than as a citizen. Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballas, the speech activity in question was, therefore, not protected.

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