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16-3035 - HARNISHFEGER v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al


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16-3035 - HARNISHFEGER v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al
March 29, 2018
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ENTRY ON PENDING MOTIONS - This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants, Louis Lopez ("Lopez"), Emily Kubiszewski ("Kubiszewski") and Col. Lisa Kopczynski ("Kopczynski") (collectively, the "Individual Defendants") (Filing No. 20); and a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant United States of America (the "Government") (collectively with the Individual Defendants, the "Defendants"), (Filing No. 22). Also pending is a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiff Amy Harnishfeger ("Harnishfeger") (Filing No. 27). On November 6, 2016, Harnishfeger filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Damages. She alleges violation of her First Amendment rights after she was terminated as a result of her publication of a book describing disturbing conversations that she had with men while she was employed a phone-sex operator. In their Motions, the Defendants assert that they cannot be liable for violating Harnishfeger's First Amendment rights because Harnishfeger did not speak on a matter of public concern and because her interests in speaking as a public employee did not outweigh the Defendants' interests in promoting the efficient provision of government services ( Filing No. 21 at 17-21; Filing No. 23 at 23-36; Filing No. 32 at 31-50). Additionally, the Defendants assert that even if Harnishfeger could demonstrate that they violated her First Amendment rights, she had no cause of action through which she could hold any of the Individual Defendants or the Government liable (Filing No. 21 at 7-26; Filing No. 23 at 12-17). In contrast, Harnishfeger contends that she is entitled to summary judgment--on all issues other than damages--because her speech was not related to her public role, was on a matter of public concern, and did not negatively affect the efficiency of governmental operations enough to justify suppression (Filing No. 28 at 24-60). The Court GRANTS the Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment (Filing No. 20; Filing No. 22) and DENIES Harnishfeger's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Filing No. 27). Judgment will be entered accordingly. (See Entry.) Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 3/29/2018. (RSF)