The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the dismissal of a federal civil rights case against a local municipality and its elected council members. Attorneys Cipriani and Sbrolla had successfully obtained the dismissal of the action before the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania through a Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff took an appeal to the Third Circuit arguing that the District Court erred by dismissing the action and that Plaintiff should be permitted discovery.
The Plaintiff had served as the Borough’s K-9 officer for fifteen years. Borough Council enacted a budget that eliminated the K-9 program due to the costs associated with the program, including overtime. The police officer brought suit against the Borough alleging violations of his First Amendment free speech rights and violation of his procedural and substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. He alleged that the elimination of the K-9 program was in retaliation for unspecified union activity. He also alleged that he was entitled to a hearing prior to the elimination of the program.