Walker v. Beaumont Independent School District, No. 17-40752 (5th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
In the Fourth Amended Complaint (FAC), plaintiffs alleged that they are the victims of an extensive, long-lasting conspiracy designed to prevent African-American individuals in Beaumont from gaining power and influence in order to perpetuate "white dominion over Beaumont local politics."
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of all claims and all parties named in the complaint. In regard to RICO claims, the court held that plaintiffs failed to allege a RICO enterprise and pattern of racketeering activity. The court also held that the district court did not err by determining that government attorneys were entitled to prosecutorial immunity from their acts as prosecutors and officers of the court. Furthermore, there was no error in the district court's dismissal of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers defendants. The court also held that claims premised on allegedly defamatory statements made prior to July 16, 2014 were time-barred. In regard to the timely filed defamation claims against the Beaumont Enterprise defendants, the court held that these claims failed on the elements of actual malice and falsity, and when considered against the fair reporting defense. Finally, the court rejected plaintiff's tortious interference, equal protection, immunity, and state-law civil conspiracy claims.