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Lumpkin v. Jordan

Court of Appeal of California
57 Cal. Rptr. 2d 303 (1996)


Facts

San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan (defendant) appointed Reverend Eugene Lumpkin, Jr. (plaintiff) to the city’s human rights commission (Commission). The following year, Lumpkin publicly called homosexuality a sin. After Jordan declined to remove Lumpkin from the Commission, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution seeking Lumpkin’s resignation or removal in order to “restore public confidence” in the Commission, particularly its work promoting equality and respect for gay and lesbian residents. A month later, Lumpkin publicly asserted that he believed everything stated in the Bible, including that homosexuals should be put to death. When Lumpkin refused to resign from the Commission, Jordan removed him. Lumpkin filed a lawsuit against Jordan and the City and County of San Francisco (City) (defendants) in a California state court, alleging that he had been terminated solely on account of his religious beliefs in violation of his federal constitutional rights protected by 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state rights under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The case was removed to federal court, where the defendants moved for summary judgment. The court granted summary judgment to the defendants on the § 1983 claims, concluding that Lumpkin’s removal was attributable to legitimate secular concerns over facilitating the goals of the Commission and averting public controversy. The court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the FEHA claims. Lumpkin appealed to the Ninth Circuit. Pending resolution of that appeal, Lumpkin refiled his FEHA claims against Jordan and the City in state court. The defendants demurred to the complaint on the basis of collateral estoppel. The trial court agreed and granted a demurrer to Lumpkin’s FEHA action. Lumpkin appealed.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Champlin, J.)

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