McAllister v. LAUSD

McAllister v. LAUSD (2013) 216 Cal. App. 4th 1198 

Patricia McAllister was a substitute teacher who was dismissed by the District after she had disclosed that she was a District employee while she made anti-Semitic remarks during an interview at an Occupy LA rally in October 2011.  After her at-will employment was terminated, she sued the District and Superintendent Deasy alleging that her free speech rights had been violated under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the California Constitution claiming over $25 million in damages.  She further asserted claims for public policy wrongful termination and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

At the trial court level, Judge Rita Miller sustained the demurrer filed on behalf of the District and Dr. Deasy, thereby dismissing the entire case.  McAllister appealed the Judgment claiming that the trial court erred in its ruling.  The Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (Division Two), affirmed the Judgment in full. 

In its unanimous published decision, the Court upheld the ruling that because Dr. Deasy was being sued in his official capacity as Superintendent (and not as an individual), Plaintiff could not state a § 1983 claim against him in that capacity.  With respect to the other claims, the panel of judges completely agreed with the defense arguments that: 1) under these facts, there can be no private right of action for damages under the California Constitution (free speech violation); 2) no injunctive relief was available; and 3) LAUSD and Dr. Deasy are not subject to public policy wrongful termination and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims under the Government Code and caselaw.