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Fourteenth Amendment

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//February 13, 2023//

Fourteenth Amendment

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//February 13, 2023//

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Eddie Bradley v. Village of University Park, Illinois

Case No.: 22-1903

Officials: Rovner, Hamilton, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Fourteenth Amendment

This appeal is a sequel to the decision in Bradley v. Village of University Park, 929 F.3d 875 (7th Cir. 2019) (Bradley I). The Village of University Park hired plaintiff Eddie Ray Bradley in 2013 as chief of police and in 2014 renewed his contract for two years. In 2015, after new elections changed the balance of political power in the village, Bradley was fired without notice or an opportunity for a hearing. Bradley brought this suit against the village and its mayor under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for firing him without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. He also asserted several state-law claims.

The district court found in 2016 that Bradley failed to state a viable procedural due process claim under federal law and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law claims. Dkt. 35 at 1, 3. In Bradley I, the Seventh reversed that dismissal and remanded the case. 929 F.3d at 899. The village had conceded that Bradley had a property interest in his job as chief. Accordingly, firing Bradley without notice or an opportunity to be heard would have deprived him of that property without due process of law. The Seventh Circuit rejected the district court’s view that relief was not available under federal law on the theory that the due process violation by the mayor and village board had been “random and unauthorized.” Id. at 879.

Summary judgment for the village and Mayor Covington on Bradley’s federal due-process claim is reversed. Bradley is entitled to summary judgment as to liability on his federal due process claim against the village itself. Summary judgment for the defendants on all state-law claims is affirmed. The Seventh Circuit remands to the district court for further proceedings on damages for Bradley on his federal claim against the village, on Mayor Covington’s defense of qualified immunity, and on such other issues as may arise, consistent with both this opinion as a whole and the Seventh Circuit’s specific mandates

Reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded.

Decided 02/03/23

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