U.S. Sixth Circuit - The FindLaw 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Pucci v. Nineteenth Dist. Court, 08-2017

Civil rights suit against a district court and its chief judge

Pucci v. Nineteenth Dist. Court, 08-2017, concerned a plaintiff's suit against the Nineteenth District Court and the court's chief judge, claiming that she was terminated in retaliation for her complaints to state court official's about the judge's use of religious language from the bench.


In reversing the district court's partial grant of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, the court held that the the Nineteenth District Court is entitled to the immunity protections of the Eleventh Amendment, and all federal claims against it must be dismissed.  Further, the court held that. as an officer of the Nineteenth District court, the chief judge is also entitled to sovereign immunity from all federal claims against him in his official capacity seeking damages and retrospective relief.  However, the court affirmed the district court's denial of qualified immunity to the judge in his personal capacity on plaintiff's First Amendment and due process claims.

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