Friday, February 02, 2007

Fourth Circuit grants Tazewell sheriff qualified immunity in sex discrimination case under section 1983

In Johnson v. Caudill the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Duncan, joined by Chief Judge Wilkins and Judge Widener, reversed the denial of the motion for summary judgment brought by the Sheriff of Tazewell County, in a case where the plaintiff alleged that she was fired because she is a woman. The Court concluded that "a reasonable official in Sheriff Caudill’s position would not have considered the termination to violate Johnson’s clearly established constitutional rights."

This is a good example (or bad, depending on your point of view) of the fact-specific nature of the qualified immunity defense. The issue was not simply, does the plaintiff have a clearly-established right to be free from sex discrimination.

No comments: