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Morin v. Tormey, No. 09-2960

By FindLaw Staff | Last updated on
Civil Rights Action by Public Employee

In Morin v. Tormey, No. 09-2960, an action alleging that plaintiff was subjected to adverse employment actions in violation of the First Amendment because of her refusal to assist the defendants in gathering adverse information about a Family Court judge to aid their efforts to prevent the judge's election to a higher judicial office, the court affirmed the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity where neither the defense of qualified immunity nor defendant's alleged status as a policymaker had been established as a matter of law at this stage of the litigation.

As the court wrote:  "This interlocutory appeal from the denial of a motion to dismiss primarily concerns an allegation of retaliatory action taken against a state court employee because of her refusal to engage in partisan political activity. Defendants-Appellants James C. Tormey, State Supreme Court Justice and District Administrative Judge for the Fifth Judicial District; Bryan R. Hedges, Judge of the Onondaga Family Court; John R. Voninski, the former Executive Assistant to Judge Tormey; and William F. Dowling, former law clerk to Judge Hedges and currently a Court Attorney Referee in the Onondaga Family Court (collectively, "the Defendants"), appeal from the June 3, 2009, order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, David N. Hurd, Judge, denying their motion for summary judgment."

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