Morgan v. Robinson, No. 17-1002 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
A public employee cannot be terminated for making protected statements during a campaign for public office where that speech has no demonstrated impact on the efficiency of office operations. The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity in an action alleging that defendant terminated plaintiff's employment as a deputy in the Sheriff's Office for statements plaintiff made during an election campaign. The court held that plaintiff's statements were made as a citizen on matters of public concern; defendant failed to show an adequate justification for his actions, and thus plaintiff's speech was protected by the First Amendment; and defendant was not entitled to qualified immunity where defendant's termination of plaintiff violated a right secured by the First Amendment and that right was clearly established at the time of the termination.