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ROTC officer's civil rights suit against a university for injuries during a student protest
Melendez-Garcia v. Sanchez, 08-2530, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment on the federal-law claims and dismissal of the state-law claims, in plaintiff's suit against various university officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and Puerto Rican state laws, claiming that they failed to protect him from injury during a student protest at a university.
In affirming, the court held that the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion for Rule 37 sanction was proper. The court rejected the plaintiff's claim that the district court abused its discretion in refusing to set aside its summary judgment given the defendants' failure to produce certain documents. The court held that defendants were entitled to grant of qualified immunity on plaintiff's due process claim as it would not have been clear to a reasonable university official that the conduct at issue was unlawful. Further, plaintiff's right to equal protection was not violated and the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on the equal protection claim as plaintiff has failed to show that the defendants acted with discriminatory intent. Because plaintiff was not deprived of any benefit of employment within the meaning of the USERRA, as a ROTC officer, he cannot predicate his section 1983 claims on a USERRA violation. Lastly, the court held that the district court's dismissal of the state-law claims for lack of jurisdiction was proper as its determination that plaintiff was domiciled in Puerto Rico in April 2002 was not clearly erroneous.