Bruce v. Worcester Regional Transit Authority, No. 21-1293 (1st Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendants and dismissing Plaintiff's claims challenging the termination of his employment on free speech grounds, holding that summary judgment was improper in this case.
Plaintiff, a former bus driver for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA), brought this action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 claiming that Defendants violated his right to free speech under the First Amendment to the federal constitution and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (MCRA) when they terminated his employment following public comments that he made to a television network about proposed budget cuts to the WRTA. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The First Circuit remanded the case, holding (1) the district court erred in concluding that, as a matter of law, Plaintiff was not speaking "as a citizen" during the television interview; and (2) Defendants did not have an adequate justification for treating Plaintiff differently from other members of the general public by terminating him for his protected speech.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on May 23, 2022.