Friday, November 30, 2012

Certiorari petition challenges Second Circuit's ruling in public employee speech case

In July 2012, the Second Circuit held that a Department of Social Services caseworker could be terminated in retaliation for her testimony in Family Court. While the caseworker challenged her termination under the First Amendment, the Northern District of New York and the Second Circuit disagreed, holding that her speech was unprotected under Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), which holds that the First Amendment does not protect speech made pursuant to the employee's job duties.

The case is Kiehle v. County of Cortland, summarized here. I represented Kiehle on appeal. On November 14, 2012, the Yale Supreme Court Clinic, in conjunction with my office, filed a certiorari petition with the United States Supreme Court, asking that the case be heard in light of disagreements among the federal circuit courts about whether the First Amendment prevents public supervisors from disciplining or terminating employees in retaliation for their good faith courtroom testimony. A copy of the petition is here.

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