Haverda v. Hays County, et al., No. 12-51008 (5th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, an employee of the Hays County Sheriff's Office for over twenty years, filed suit alleging constitutional violations against Hays County; the Sheriff's Office; and Sheriff Gary Cutler, in his official and individual capacities. Plaintiff claimed that the comments he made during the Sheriff's Election motivated his demotion. The court found that defendants failed to show that they would have terminated plaintiff in the absence of his protected speech and, in the alternative, plaintiff was speaking as a citizen and his letter to the editor was protected speech under the First Amendment. The court concluded that plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence to raise a genuine dispute as to a material fact relating to his claim of First Amendment retaliation and that defendants were not entitled to summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings.