Court denies motion to dismiss First Amendment claim against sheriff’s office

Last year, Patterson Harkavy filed federal suit against the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office on behalf of former deputy sheriff Jeffrey Randleman.  The suit alleges that Mr. Randleman was fired for testifying truthfully about alleged racial profiling within the Sheriff’s Department, and that this constituted unconstitutional retaliation against Mr. Randleman.

Yesterday, United States District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss Mr. Randleman’s claims under the First Amendment.  In a published decision, Judge Schroeder recognized that Mr. Randleman would be entitled to relief if he lost his employment because of constitutionally protected testimony.  The Court rejected the Defendant’s arguments to the contrary, including its argument that Mr. Randleman’s claim failed because he lacked a “property interest” in his employment.  By denying the motion to dismiss, Judge Schroeder permitted the case to proceed to discovery.  Click here to read Judge Schroeder’s opinion.

Narendra Ghosh and Paul Smith represent Mr. Randleman.  The lawsuit has received coverage in the Greensboro News & Record and the Burlington Times-News.  For more information, read the complaint and Patterson Harkavy’s brief in opposition to Defendant’s motion to dismiss.