Burger v. County of Macon, No. 18-3430 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Burger worked in the Macon County Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office, starting in 2010. Scott was the elected State’s Attorney and his deputy was Assistant SA Kroncke. Burger alleges that Kroncke had authority to hire and fire employees, including Burger. After Burger had been working at the Office for about five years, she married. Her husband had been convicted of a felony drug offense in Wyoming in 2009. The same year she married, Burger told Scott that she believed Kroncke had violated state and federal laws and employee-handbook provisions, by disclosing confidential information and by discriminating against and harassing employees. Scott told Kroncke. Kroncke started treating Burger poorly: excluding Burger from meetings and other communications, bypassing Burger in the chain of command, and calling Burger demeaning names. Burger complained to human-resource personnel. Months later Burger was told that her employment was being terminated because of her association with her husband, who had been convicted of a crime. Burger sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983, The district court affirmed the dismissal of the case. Under “Monell,” local governments may be liable for violating individuals’ rights guaranteed by federal law but are responsible only for “their own illegal acts.” Local governments are not responsible for others’ acts falling outside an official local-government policy. In this case, the alleged illegal conduct was directed by an officer of the state, not Macon County.