Judge denies motion to let Mayor Hayward out of fire chief lawsuit

Federal Judge Roger Vinson denied Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward’s motion to be removed (in his individual capacity) from former Fire Chief Matt Schmitt’s lawsuit:

Judge Vinson concluded, “The defendants’ partial motion to dismiss (doc. 13) is DENIED, to the extent that it seeks dismissal of the claim against Mayor Hayward in his individual capacity. Per the stipulation of the parties (doc. 15), Olson and Sisson are hereby DISMISSED from this action, and the claim against Mayor Hayward in his official capacity is also DISMISSED. This action shall continue against the City, and against the mayor in his individual capacity.”

Mayor Hayward raised two arguments:

First, “based upon the face of the Complaint, Plaintiff fails to allege that [Mayor Hayward] took a materially adverse action against him.”

Vinson determined: “That is not so. The complaint alleges—and for purposes of this order I must accept as true—that all the defendants (including Mayor Hayward): (1) refused him a pay raise; (2) put him on administrative leave; (3) changed the appeals process set out in the HR manual to deprive him an appeal; (4) subjected him to an unwarranted investigation that publicly demeaned his good name and record; and (5) then terminated him, all in retaliation for his complaints about race discrimination.

Because these actions are not insignificant or trivial—and “might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination,” Burlington, supra, 548 U.S. at 68—“it is for a jury to decide whether [they] should be considered materially adverse to him and thus constitute adverse employment actions.” Crawford, supra, 529 F.3d at 973-74 & n.13.3.”

Second, Mayor Hayward is entitled to qualified immunity.

Vinson determined: “I disagree. As noted just a moment ago, a defendant acting under color of state law and within the scope of his discretionary authority (as the mayor obviously was here) is entitled to immunity unless he violated a “clearly established” constitutional or statutory right of which a reasonable person would have known. See Willingham, supra, 321 F.3d at 1301. For at least nine years—ever since the Supreme Court decided CBOCS W., Inc. v. Humphries, supra, in 2008—it has been settled law that Section 1981 encompasses “the claim of an individual (black or white) who suffers retaliation because he has tried to help a different individual, suffering direct racial discrimination, secure his § 1981 rights.” 553 U.S. at 452 (emphasis added).

“In sum, plaintiff has stated a claim for relief and Mayor Hayward is not entitled to qualified immunity.”

Read Order – Hayward.


1 thought on “Judge denies motion to let Mayor Hayward out of fire chief lawsuit

  1. Unfortunately for the TAXPAYERs, the 2 Clowns that were provided “immunity” from their stupidity (Olson & Sisson) were only following the Mayor’s orders and being “clowns” they screwed that up as City employees. Hence, the City taxpayers are liable for “reckless clown behavior, based upon the Mayor’s personal agenda.”

    The City’s liability has occurred because “the clowns” don’t have the integrity, ethics or competence to hold their City positions and made unlawful employer decisions (in the “City’s name”) that caused these two fine men (Glover and Schmidt) their jobs, livelihood and reputations.

    The TAXPAYER’S deserve this liability as they have taken NO action to Recall the Mayor and/or demand the termination of Olson and Sisson. The Taxpayer’s are aware of this incompetent and discriminatory actions of the Mayor (along with a laundry list of other “recall” offenses) and have chosen to accept the leadership of the Mayor – and therefore the liability of his actions.

    The Mayor is also personally liable for his duplicitous actions that were calculated, willful and malicious. He has a pattern of such discriminatory practices and the record regarding his ability to make competent decisions speaks for itself.

    However, when he disobeys the law and acts with disregard to the City’s own policies and procedures AND then tries to create facts that move his “personal agenda” to rid the Fire Department of these two Chief’s that were questioning the legality of the Mayor’s “decisions” – that makes him personally liable for his decisions, actions and outcomes that are contrary and in conflict with the city and federal laws.

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