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Schultea v. Wood

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
47 F.3d 1427 (5th Cir. 1995) (en banc)


Facts

Joseph M. Schultea (plaintiff), a former police chief, filed suit against the city manager and three city councilmen, including David R. Wood (defendant), alleging that Wood and others were working together to demote Schultea because he was investigating the officials for illegal activity. The evidence suggested that when Schultea began investigating Wood, Wood insisted that Schultea be added to the council agenda for possible sanction, and subsequent to the private council meeting Schultea was demoted. Several requests by Schultea for administrative appeals were denied, and the council issued a memorandum which implied that Schultea was demoted for wrongdoing. Schultea filed suit, alleging that he was deprived of property and liberty interests without due process and that his First Amendment rights were violated. Wood moved to dismiss and brought an interlocutory appeal, challenging the denial of his qualified immunity. The panel remanded to allow Schultea to amend his complaint, holding that despite the United States Supreme Court ruling in Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence and Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163 (1993), the Fifth Circuit’s heightened pleading standard remained intact.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Higginbotham, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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