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Unlawful Patronage Dismissal Claim and a Suit Against Tyson Farms

By FindLaw Staff on May 10, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Summe v. Kenton County Clerk's Office, No. 09-5794, concerned challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's federal claims and dismissal of her state law claims in a suit against a county clerk alleging a claim of unlawful patronage dismissal in violation of the First Amendment, and against county claiming violation of her constitutional privacy rights by disseminating certain personnel records during the campaign in which she ran against and was defeated by the new county clerk for the position.

In affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's patronage dismissal claim, the court held that under McCloud v. Testa, 97 F.3d 1536 (6th Cir. 1996), the position of Chief Deputy County Clerk in Kenton County, Kentucky, falls within the second and third McCloud exceptions to unlawful patronage dismissal.  The court also affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's substantive due process claim.  

In Terry v. Tyson Farms, Inc., No. 08-5577, the Sixth Circuit dealt with a poultry farmer's suit against Tyson Farms under the Agricultural Fair Practices Act of 1967 (AFPA) alleging unlawful interference and discrimination based on his membership in the grower's association, as well as claims under the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA). 

In affirming the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint, the court held that the district court properly determined that plaintiff's complaint does not allege that Tyson's actions had an anticompetitive effect, and as such, it was not an error to grant Tyson's motion to dismiss the PSA claim.  Furthermore, plaintiff has failed to allege that Tyson's unlawful actions stem from his involvement with an AFPA-protected "association of producers."  Lastly, district court's award of attorney fees to Tyson is affirmed as plaintiff has forfeited his argument. 

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