Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

AUGUSTINE v. EDGAR

December 13, 1983

TIMOTHY AUGUSTINE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES EDGAR, ETC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nordberg, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the court on the motions of the defendants to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff's complaint seeks damages and specific performance pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the reasons set forth below, the motions are denied.

FACTS

The plaintiff, Timothy Augustine, was an employee of the Office of the Secretary of State of Illinois at the State Drivers License facility on Elston Avenue in Chicago. At all times relevant to this case, the defendants were employed as follows: James Edgar was Secretary of the State of Illinois; Christopher Mariades was Director of Personnel at the Office of the Secretary of State; and William Logan was Director of the Driver Services Department of the Office of the Secretary of State.

On or about January 29, 1981, plaintiff Augustine's name and picture were broadcast on the evening news report of a local television station. He was alleged to have been a part of a scheme to receive bribes from driver education schools to obtain driver's licenses.

The next day, Augustine was informed by the Office of the Secretary of State that he was suspended for 29 days without pay, pending an investigation by the Office of the Secretary of State into Augustine's failure to adhere to policies and standards in the examination of driver's licenses. Prior to the end of the suspension period, Augustine was informed that he was discharged from employment at the Office of the Secretary of State, to be effective on the final day of his suspension. At the time of the discharge, press releases were issued to the media from the Office of the Secretary of State. The releases indicated that the plaintiff Augustine had failed to administer a vision test and a written examination to an individual. Defendant Edgar repeated the charge against Augustine in press conferences.

MOTION TO DISMISS

The defendants argue several bases to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Defendants contend that: 1) no constitutional right of the plaintiff has been violated by defendants conduct; 2) as state officials, they are immune from liability, if any; 3) there is a lack of sufficient personal involvement by the defendants on which to base liability; and 4) the action is actually one against the State of Illinois and is therefore barred by the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution. Defendants contend in the alternative that the remedy of reinstatement is inappropriate.

The guidelines to be used to consider a motion to dismiss are clear. A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to the relief requested. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322, 92 S.Ct. 1079, 1081, 31 L.Ed.2d 263 (1972); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 101-102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit stated: "Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, it is well established that, on a motion to dismiss, a complaint must be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the allegations thereof taken as true; and if it appears reasonably conceivable that at trial the plaintiff can establish a set of facts entitling him to some relief, the complaint should not be dismissed." Mathers Fund, Inc. v. Colwell, 564 F.2d 780, 783 (7th Cir. 1977).

PROTECTED CONSTITUTIONAL INTEREST

Defendants contend that the injury the plaintiff has allegedly suffered is not one protected by the Constitution and therefore a claim is not stated under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To support their contention, defendants attempt to distinguish cases which hold that such an injury does state a claim.

In several landmark decisions the United States Supreme Court has addressed the issue of discharge from state employment coupled with defamatory remarks about the discharged employee as a violation of an individual's constitutional interest. In Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 92 S.Ct. 2701, 33 L.Ed.2d 548 (1972), the Court recognized that a state's discharge or refusal to rehire an individual coupled with a charge which reflects negatively on that individual's reputation can violate that individual's liberty interest which is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Id., 408 U.S. at 573, 92 S.Ct. at 2707. The Court in Roth distinguished the facts of the case before it and described a set of facts which would state a cognizable constitutional claim:

    The State in declining to rehire [the plaintiff], did not
  make any charge against him that might seriously damage his
  standing and associations in the community. It [the state]
  did not base the non-renewal of his contract on a charge, for
  example, that he had been guilty of ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.