Zaloga v. Borough of Moosic, No. 15-2723 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Zaloga owns Correctional Care, a medical company, which contracted with theCounty Prison Board to provide medical services to the Lackawanna County Prison. Zaloga was frustrated with how the Borough (Moosic) handled disputes between Zaloga and a tire company that occupied a facility immediately adjacent to the Zalogas’ home. Among other actions, Zaloga opposed Mercatili’s reelection as the President of the Borough Council. About a month later, the Lackawanna County Solicitor notified Zaloga that the County intended not to continue the contract with Correctional Care upon its expiration, but that Correctional Care could compete in bidding for a new contract. Prison Board members and others indicated Mercatili and another were attempting to block Correctional Care’s contract renewal. Despite the purported political pressure, the County unanimously voted to award Correctional Care a three-year contract renewal. Zagora filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging retaliation in response to Zaloga’s exercise of his First Amendment rights. The district court decided that Mercatili’s claim to qualified immunity depended on disputed facts and would have to be resolved by a jury. The Third Circuit reversed. Mercatili’s conduct, even if Zaloga’s allegations are true, did not violate clearly established law.