Pretzel & Stouffer’s attorneys continue to excel in federal court in Madison, Wis. Judge William Conley recently granted summary judgment in favor of the town of Beloit, Wis., and its former police chief in a federal discrimination case. This is the second of five cases in which Pretzel & Stouffer’s lawyers are defending the former police chief. Pretzel & Stouffer attorneys John Walsh and Cynthia Alkhouja Faccenda, with support from Miguel Ruiz and Suzanne Crowley, filed the winning briefs in the case, and the town’s attorneys adopted all of Pretzel & Stouffer’s arguments.
The case involved allegations by a former Beloit police sergeant that the chief 1) retaliated against him for opposing claimed discrimination against the town’s only minority police officer, and 2) retaliated against him and others for opposing the chief’s alleged use of racist comments and conduct. The plaintiff claimed that the chief’s actions violated Sec. 1981 and 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 14th Amendment and the common law.
In his 29-page opinion, Judge Conley ruled that the plaintiff had failed to show that he 1) opposed unlawful discrimination or was the object of unlawful discrimination, 2) opposed retaliation against others or was the object of retaliation, or 3) that there was any causal connection between the chief's threats and any protected activity by the plaintiff. Judge Conley stated that the chief may have had a “personal dislike” of the plaintiff, and he may have been a “lousy boss,” but that was not sufficient evidence of retaliation against the plaintiff for engaging in any constitutionally protected activity.
The plaintiff’s lawyer was the same lawyer against whom Pretzel & Stouffer successfully tried a racial discrimination case on the chief’s behalf in April. That trial resulted in a court award of $1 in damages. Judge Conley also presided over that case.