Costa-Urena v. Segarra, No. 07-2739
In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against various officials of Puerto Rico alleging plaintiffs were terminated from career positions they held with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company in violation of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs and district court's additional order of relief against defendant-governor is vacated in part and reversed in part and remanded where: 1) judgment on the First Amendment claim is vacated and remanded as the evidence was sufficiently mixed that it would allow a reasonable, properly instructed jury to find that the defendants had established a Mt. Healthy defense; 2) judgment on the Fourteenth Amendment claim is reversed and remanded as the question of whether the plaintiffs held a protected property interest in other career positions was never squarely before the jury, and the plaintiffs failed to make the requisite efforts to establish a protected interest in other career employment with the Tourism company; 3) on remand, the executive director of the Tourism company is not entitled to qualified immunity; and 4) judgment on the spouses' derivative claim under Article 1802 is vacated and the order of reinstatement is stricken.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico
Decided December 22, 2009
Before: Howard, Ripple, and Seyla, Circuit Judges
Opinion by Howard, Circuit Judge
For Appellant: Antonio Sagardia De Jesus, Secretary of Justice, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Landrón & Vera, LLP., Eileen Landrón Guardiola and Eduardo A. Vera Ramirez
For Appellee: Marie Elsie López-Adames and González-López & López-Adames