April 18th, 2023
Adams v. City of Harahan
Opinion Date: April 16, 2023
Judge: Carl E. Stewart
Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Personal Injury
This appeal arises from Plaintiff’s suit against the City of Harahan (“the City”) for its alleged deprivation of his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. In October 2019, the Harahan Police Department (“HPD”) Chief of Police determined that Plaintiff was guilty of numerous offenses. Plaintiff was entitled to a fifteen-day appeal window of the Chief’s disciplinary determinations. Plaintiff exercised his right to appeal a week after the charges. However, the Chief emailed the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office (“JPDA”) to inform it of his disciplinary action against Plaintiff before he exercised his right. Plaintiff brought a civil rights suit against the City for violation of his procedural due process rights, stigma-plus-infringement, and defamation. He included Louisiana state law claims for defamation, invasion of privacy, and negligence. The City moved to dismiss his Section 1983 claims under Rule 12(c). The primary issue is whether the district court erroneously determined that Plaintiff had a liberty interest in his “future employment as a law enforcement officer.
The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of the City’s Rule 12(c) motion and dismissed Plaintiff’s due process claim. The court explained that Plaintiff’s alleged liberty interest in his career in law enforcement has no basis in Supreme Court or Fifth Circuit precedent. Moreover, he does not provide a different constitutional anchor for this proposed liberty interest. Because he fails to state facts supporting the violation of a cognizable liberty interest, he fails to plead a due process violation. Furthermore, the court declined to address the adequacy of the process he received.
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