Cases on Campus

LANE v. FRANKS, 134 S. Ct. 2369 (2014)

Argued:
April 28, 2014
Decided:
June 19, 2014
Decided by:
Roberts Court, 2013
Action:
Affirmed and reversed (or vacated) in part and remanded. Petitioning party did not receive a favorable disposition.

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Facts/Syllabus:
As Director of Community Intensive Training for Youth (CITY), a program for underprivileged youth operated by Central Alabama Community College (CACC), petitioner Edward Lane conducted an audit of the program’s expenses and discovered that Suzanne Schmitz, an Alabama State Representative on CITY’s payroll, had not been reporting for work. Lane eventually terminated Schmitz’ employment. Shortly thereafter, federal authorities indicted Schmitz on charges of mail fraud and theft concerning a program receiving federal funds. Lane testified, under subpoena, regarding the events that led to his terminating Schmitz. Schmitz was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison. Meanwhile, CITY was experiencing significant budget shortfalls. Respondent Franks, then CACC’s president, terminated Lane along with 28 other employees in a claimed effort to address the financial difficulties. A few days later, however, Franks rescinded all but 2 of the 29 terminations—those of Lane and one other employee. Lane sued Franks in his individual and official capacities under 42 U. S. C. §1983, alleging that Franks had violated the First Amendment by firing him in retaliation for testifying against Schmitz.

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Topics: Cases on Campus, Faculty Academic Freedom, Freedom of Speech & Expression, Government Employment

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