Mancini v. Northampton County, No. 15-2790 (3d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Mancini, a former Northampton County, Pennsylvania assistant county solicitor, filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action against Northampton County, County Executive Brown, and County Solicitor Scomillio, in connection with their termination of her employment. Mancini, a Democrat, alleged that she was a protected career service employee and that the newly elected Republican administration wrongfully dismissed her in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause and the First Amendment. The elimination of her position was the only ground Northampton provided for Mancini’s dismissal. Although the county held an informal hearing on her grievance after her termination, no decision was ever announced. A jury found that Northampton County, but not Brown or Scomillio, violated Mancini’s procedural due process rights and awarded her $94,232 in damages. The Third Circuit affirmed. A claimed “reorganization exception” to the constitutional procedural due process requirement cannot apply, as a matter of law, if there is a genuine factual dispute about whether the reorganization was a pretext for an unlawful termination. Northampton did not provide Mancini the meaningful process she was due and the jury could have reasonably concluded that the reorganization of the Solicitor’s Office was a pretext for unlawfully terminating Mancini.