Williams v. Consolidated City of Jacksonville, 341 F.3d 1261 (11th Cir. 2003)]
1. Active Learning Discussion
Read the assigned case. Before you read the court’s decision determine how you would find if you were
the judge. Write a discussion post based on your decision. After your post, go back in the case. Were you
correct? Did the court find the way you thought they would find? Did they do so for the same reasons?
Post a reflective post on your analysis of the case versus the court’s analysis.
You must read at least three other students’ reviews and comment. Your replies must be no less than
100 words each.
Rachel Richards posted May 9, 2019 11:26 PM
Ross v. Clayton County, 173 F.3d 1305 (11th Cir. 1999)
In the case of Ross v. Clayton County, Officer Gary Ross presents an appeal claiming
violation of his civil rights under the First Amendment. Ross was demoted after it was
revealed that he was sharing a residence with his brother, who happened to be a
felon. After reading the initial information provided in this case, it appeared as if the
ruling could legally go either way. However further analysis showed a clear verdict. Due
to his lack of permanent position as a probationary employee, he wasn’t owed the
privilege of an appeal to begin with. That in and of itself speaks to the legality of where
the verdict could (and most likely would) lean. Also due to his employment status, it was
deemed he did not have property interest to support his claim to appeal for rights
violation. In addition, the circumstances surrounding how this information regarding his
living situation with his brother came to light sullied his argument. First off, it was
clearly noted that with proper notice and approval, he could have been granted the
living situation with a known felon due to the familial tie. Secondly, not only did he not
report and/or seek approval of the arrangement, but his brother was accused of
kidnapping and sexual assault within their shared residence. This in combination with
the reports that Ross was “confrontational and belligerent in his interactions” with the
officers who arrived on scene (Ross v. Clayton County, 173 F.3d 1305 (11th Cir. 1999)
was evidence that his association with said felon was indeed a threat to the reputation of
his department. For these reasons, I do not think his appeal stands on any solid ground
and therefore should not be granted.
Nickolas Parker posted May 13, 2019 11:45 AM
Andrew (Jack) Jackson Terry was a former Special Agent with the Immigration and
Naturalization Service who had over 15 years of experience and was a well-known
Special Agent. In October 1992, the INS published Vacancy Announcement 92–59 for the
position of supervisory criminal investigator Terry applied for the promotion and
believed that with his experience and good history that he would qualify for the job and
eventually receive the promotion. Lesley Smail of the Immigration Naturalization Service
(INS) was the personnel staffing specialist who reviewed all applications and created a
“Best Qualified List” which indicated the candidates who best fit the position.
After Terry learned that the position was given to someone who did not have as much
experience as him and his work background wasn’t as strong Terry decided to file a
complaint with the EEO alleging that race and age based discrimination were behind the
decision not to promote him. Terry claimed that he was wrongfully excluded from the
“Best Qualified List” due to his race and age being that a younger black male received the
position without having as much experience. The same issue happened again in 1993
when Terry applied or vacancy 93-01 which was the supervisory criminal investigator
position in which two women and one white male were selected over him even though
his name did appear on the “Best Qualified List”.
Over the next few years things for Terry didn’t get any easier; in 1994 he was
hospitalized for chest pain and diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse which is basically
an irregular heartbeat in which he filed a claim for workers compensation. Shortly after
recovering Terry attended the “Police Olympics” where he won 5 gold medals which lead
to him having to complete a “fitness for duty” exam so that he could return back to work.
After passing the exam and returning back to work Terry received a new assignment and
then began having issues with several employees in which Terry was advised by one of
his Co-workers that he didn’t receive a promotion because he’s getting older and the
department wants to have some younger people who can be here for years to come.
As the judge in this case and looking at all the different series of events and things that
took place during the times Terry filed each complaint. I would have to say that Terry’s
Title VII of the Civil Right Act has been violated based solely on the fact that it was stated
that the “Best Qualified List” did not include race or age however, it was later found that
Terry’s application included his race which was written at the top. Also the reasoning
behind my decision is that the African American male received the promotion solely
based on a recent performance that received praised from the hiring supervisor. Lastly
my reasoning for saying his rights were violated were not only the remarks made from
someone stating that “he’s too old” and “the department wants younger people” but the
simple fact that each time he applied for a position his age would interfere with him
being promoted when the department promoted others that were either the same age or
older than him. It seemed as if the people in the department didn’t like Terry and would
do anything for him not to promote.
Crystal Stubbs posted May 14, 2019 6:39 AM
Holiday v. City of Chattanooga, 206 F.3d 637 (6th Cir. 2000)
In April of 1993, Holiday submitted an application to the City of employment as a police
officer. He was required to pass a written and physical test in which he passed both in
September of 1993. The physical test consisted of various tests of physical strength and
endurance including running, jumping hurdles, and obstacle course and carrying heavy
weights. Once this was completed, the City’s Police Department contacted Holiday for an
interview in October of 1994. When the interview was done, he was offered employment
as long as he passed the physical test administered by a licensed physician. The city has
a contract with outside health care providers, including the Memorial Hospital in
Chattanooga to perform the post-offer physical examination required. The city does not
normally test employment applicants for HIV or AIDS; nor does it have a policy requiring
that all persons who apply for a position as a police officer must test negative for HIV. Dr.
Dowlen examined Holiday on October 21, 1994 and at that time Holiday informed the
doctor that he was infected with HIV. According to Dr. Dowlen at the end of the
interview; he informed Holiday that he had passed the examination. Dr. Dowlen’s office
contacted Donna Kelley the City’s Personnel Director and informed her that Mr. Holiday
had failed his examination. Kelley obtained Mr. Holiday’s examination. Dr. Dowlen
concluded based on the examination that Mr. Holiday was unable to perform his duties
of a police officer because he was not strong enough to withstand the rigors of police
work due to his health conditions.
After speaking with Dr. Dowlen, Kelly discussed Holiday’s medical issues with Dinsmore,
Administrator of the City’s Department of Safety. He ultimately made the decision not to
hire Holiday based on Dr. Dowlen’s medical report. The City claimed that Holiday’s HIV
status presents a health concern/safety threat to others, based on the possibility of
blood-to-blood contact during work. On June 19, 1997, Holiday filed suit in district court
alleging that the City had violated the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act by refusing to hire
him due to his HIV-positive status. The ADA refers to a qualified individual with a
disability as an individual with a disability who with or without reasonable
accommodation can perform the essential functions of the employment position that
such individual holds or desires. If I was the judge over this case, I would rule in favor
for Mr. Holiday. Having a good understanding of ADA, I would consider HIV as a
disability. In his medical examination, Dr. Dowlen did nothing to assess if Holiday was
physically fit or not. He only judged that based on the simple fact that he disclosed that
he was HIV positive. The city did not have a policy established that all applicants have to
test negative for HIV. In fact he was offered the position base on his previous test that
resulted that he was physically fit. I think he lost the job based on Dr. Dowlen’s report.
Holiday v. City of Chattanooga, 206 (United States Court of Appeals August 13, 1999)
Williams v. Consolidated City of Jacksonville, 341 F.3d 1261 (11th Cir. 2003)]
2. Case Brief Guidelines:
Students will brief all assigned cases for the module in which they are assigned. The case briefs
are to be the student’s own work. The learning process takes place with the student reading,
analyzing, and summarizing the facts and issues in a case; copying someone else’s work is not
part of the learning process. However, students may consult with each other, discuss cases, and
use the product of those discussions to write their briefs.
Your classmates will depend on you to write a thorough, accurate brief of the case(s) assigned.
You, in turn, will rely on your classmates to do the same for their cases.
A copy of your brief will be posted in this module’s Case Brief Discussion board.
Be prepared to explain, justify, or dissent from your assigned case, as the instructor and/or
classmates may query you about the case.
3. Case Brief Discussion
In the Case Briefs Discussion area, give your constructive feedback on the submissions that have been
posted by your classmates. Your remarks can be opinion, but must be based on your experience,
research, and/or prior learning. Use this area to gain valuable insight on how your fellow colleagues
approached the Case Briefs and how your professor gave feedback and suggestions. Apply this
information going forward to strengthen your own work. Apply this information going forward to enrich
your understanding of the material, improve your ability to apply that knowledge to new content, and to
strengthen your own work.
You must read at least three other students’ reviews and comment no later than Sunday 11:59 PM
EST/EDT. Your replies must be no less than 100 words each.
Theresa Lehman posted May 15, 2019 5:23 PM
Assignment sub-heading: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Racial Discrimination
TITLE AND CITATION:
Williams v. Consolidated City of Jacksonville, 341 F.3d 1261 (11th Cir. 2003)
TYPE OF ACTION:
Review by United States Court of Appeals to determine the immunity of Chief Alfred in
his individual capacity when Plaintiffs claim Title VII violation of equal protection from
race and gender discrimination.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
In 1995, Chief Alfred was appointed the Chief of the Jacksonville Fire Department and
tasked with reducing the amount of racism claims amongst the department. Chief Alfred
was approached by a subordinate in 1999 about creating four permeant captain
positions for the four firefighters who were up for promotion. These four men would be
required to retake the test that qualifies them for promotion again in nine days because
the results from these tests expire every two years. After being approached about
creating these four positions, Chief Alfred decided not to create the positions even
though these men had impressive credentials. His reasoning was because he has just
promoted eight white men and did not want to create four new permanent positions for
an additional four white men and be blamed for excluding other races in promotions.
Chief Alfred decided to hold off creating new positions until the new test results are
released to see if other race options become available for promotion. The four men
decided to bring a Title VII against Chief Alfred in both a personal and official aspect
claiming discrimination. The four men claimed he refused to promote them because of
their race and gender which was unlawful. The Chief is claiming immunity from these
charges because of his position as a government official and his lack of knowledge in
committing unlawful discrimination.
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES:
Consolidated city of Jacksonville: The consolidated city of Jacksonville (Chief Alfred)
contends that Chief Alfred did not knowingly violate the equal protections clause by
refusing to create new positions and claims immunity in an individual capacity.
Williams: The four plaintiffs (Williams) contends that their Title VII Equal Protections
from Discrimination were violated because Chief Alfred based his decision not to create
new positions for these four men based on their race and gender.
Does the defendant receive qualified immunity when the unlawfulness of his actions was
Yes, because at the time of this incident, there was no case law that could prove that the
defendant knew his actions were unlawful.
The court applied the reasoning of clearly established law. The defendant acted with his
discretionary powers to not create positions for these four plaintiffs to fulfill his
assigned duties to control the look of racism amongst the department. The general equal
protection right to be free of employment discrimination did not provide the defendant
with fair and clear notice that these actions were unlawful.
RULE OF LAW:
Clearly established law requires the specifics of a law to give fair and clear notice that a
person’s actions are unlawful. In 1999, the Equal Protection Clause was not specific and
therefore did not provide clear and fair understanding that the actions in this case were
unlawful. This is known as the “clearly established law” rule.
Karri Greene posted May 16, 2019 2:48 PM
Assignment sub-heading: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
TITLE AND CITATION: Phelan v. City of Chicago, 347 F.3d 679 (7th Cir. 2003)
TYPE OF ACTION: James Phelan appeals to the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh
Circuit, regarding the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois,
dismissing the Due Process and FMLA counts and, granting the City of Chicago’s motion
for summary judgment on Title VII count.
FACTS OF THE CASE: James Phelan was employed in two separate positions by the City
of Chicago. In 1992 he was hired by the City as a police officer. In October 1993 the
Chicago Police Department granted him a leave of absence. In November 1995, while he
was on leave from the Police Department, Phelan was hired by the City's Department of
Streets and Sanitation to work as ward superintendent for the 23rd Ward. Phelan
worked full time as ward superintendent until July 1997 at which time he took leave
because of personal health problems. Phelan exhausted all of his sick days but was still
unable to return to work. In September 1997, he applied for and was granted leave
under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
In September 1997 Phelan was indicted for mail fraud. Shortly after his indictment, City
personnel requested that he resign. When he refused to resign, the City fired him.
Phelan's discharge was processed the same day that he officially returned from his FMLA
leave. On October 27, 1997, Phelan requested that the City reinstate him to his position
as a probationary police officer. The City notified Phelan that he no longer had
employment with the Police Department.
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES:
PHELAN: Plaintiff, James Phelan claimed that the City 1) violated the Due Process
Clause, 2) breached the Family and Medical Leave Act, and 3) violated Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act.
CITY OF CHICAGO: Defendant contends, (1) employee's positions were career service
exempt and not afforded procedural protections from dismissal under Municipal Code of
Chicago, and there was no clearly implied promise of continued employment; (2)
employee's termination was motivated by his poor performance and did not violate
FMLA simply because it occurred while he was on FMLA leave; and (3) employee failed
to establish prima facie case of reverse race discrimination by demonstrating
background circumstances supporting inference that city was unusual employer inclined
to discriminate against majority, and neither of employee's alternate theories provided
“fishy” circumstances raising inference of racial discrimination.
ISSUE: The first claim presented by Phelan's appeal is that the City's termination of his
employment violated his Fourteenth Amendment Due Process rights when the
departments terminated him from his positions as ward superintendent and police
officer without notice or a hearing. Phelan's second claim is that his dismissal violates
the FMLA. Finally, Phelan, a Caucasian man, argues that his termination violated Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because the City of Chicago mistreated him due to his race.
DECISION: The United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit AFFIRMS the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, dismissing the Due Process and
FMLA counts and, granting the City of Chicago’s motion for summary judgment on Title
REASONING: The Fourteenth Amendment states that no state shall “deprive any person
of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ....” U.S. CONST. Amend. XIV, § 1.
To assert a violation of the Due Process Clause, a plaintiff must be able to show that 1) he
or she had a “property interest” and 2) that he or she was deprived of this interest
without due process of law. The court notes that, although pleading standards are
relaxed, a plaintiff must still plead sufficient facts to allow the district court to
understand the gravamen of the plaintiff's complaint. Even under the relaxed standards,
Phelan did not meet the minimum requirements. Based on the pleadings, it is clear that
Phelan cannot show any facts to prove that his Due Process rights were violated.
Phelan elected to take leave under the FMLA for some time from September 12, 1997, to
October 16, 1997. When he returned to work in October, he was terminated. The City
states that before Phelan's absence, the quality of his work had been reduced, and during
his absence, the employee hired to fill in for Phelan was more satisfactory. For these
reasons, the City chose to terminate Phelan.
A plaintiff must show “background circumstances” that demonstrate that a particular
employer has “reason or inclination to discriminate invidiously against whites” or
evidence that “there is something ‘fishy’ about the facts at hand.” Phelan failed to show
proof that any of this had happened.
RULE OF LAW: With no absolute right to reinstatement, whether an employer violates
the FMLA turns on why the employee was not reinstated. An employee may not be fired
because he or she took leave—that would be in direct violation of the statute. However,
an employee may be fired for poor performance when he or she would have been fired
for such performance even absent his or her leave.
Timothy Robinson posted May 16, 2019 7:43 PM
Timothy G. Robinson Jr
Legal Issues in Criminal Justice Administration
Case Brief #3
Assignment Sub-heading: The Fair Labors Standards Act
TITLE AND CITATION: Houston Police Officers Union v. Houston, 330 F.3d 298 (5th Cir.
TYPE OF ACTION: Appeal heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circut in which the
appellant (Police Officers Union) a police officer is suing the c ...
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