Durham v. Jones, No. 12-2303 (4th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
After a deputy sheriff broadly publicized the corrupt and unlawful practices occurring in the Office of the Sheriff, the Sheriff terminated his employment. A jury awarded $1.1 million in favor of the deputy on his claim of retaliation for the exercise of his First Amendment rights. At issue was whether the district court erred in failing to grant qualified immunity to the Sheriff. The court found that the district court was right to conclude that the Sheriff violated the deputy's First Amendment right. The court concluded that it was clearly established at the time that an employee's speech about serious governmental misconduct was protected. Accordingly, the court held that the district court did not err in failing to grant qualified immunity to the Sheriff and affirmed the judgment.