677 F.2d 622 (7th Cir. 1982), 81-1961, Bart v. Telford

Docket Nº81-1961.
Citation677 F.2d 622
Party NameMary A. BART, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. William C. TELFORD, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case DateMay 12, 1982
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 622

677 F.2d 622 (7th Cir. 1982)

Mary A. BART, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

William C. TELFORD, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 81-1961.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 12, 1982

Argued April 8, 1982.

Page 623

Andrew J. Leahy, Springfield, Ill., for plaintiff-appellant.

Fredric Benson, Peter K. Woody, Springfield, Ill., for defendants-appellees.

Before CUMMINGS, Chief Judge, POSNER, Circuit Judge, and GRANT, Senior District Judge. [*]

POSNER, Circuit Judge.

We are required to consider in this case questions relating to the First Amendment rights of public employees who run for public office.

Mary Ann Bart is an employee of the City of Springfield, Illinois. She works in the city's Department of Development and Programs, though we have not been told the nature of her work. The department is

Page 624

apparently under the direct supervision of the Mayor of Springfield. Miss Bart brought this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the mayor and three of his subordinates, seeking actual and punitive damages for their alleged violations of her rights under the First Amendment, made applicable to the states by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Her brief in this court also charges the defendants with having violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; but there is no such allegation in the complaint, and since the case is before us on her appeal from the dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the equal protection claim is not properly before us.

The complaint contains two distinct allegations. The first is directed only at the mayor. Miss Bart alleges that when she told him she was going to run for mayor, he replied that she would have to take a leave of absence from her job with the city to do so. She complied, and now complains that in forcing her to take the leave of absence the mayor violated her First Amendment rights. The second allegation is that after she returned from the leave of absence, having lost the race, the mayor-who though not a candidate for re-election was still in office (apparently Miss Bart's candidacy aborted early in the campaign season)-orchestrated a campaign of petty harassments designed to punish her for having run for public office, and the other defendants participated in this campaign. The campaign included such things as baseless reprimands and "Holding her up to ridicule for bringing a birthday cake to the office on the occasion of the birthday of another employee although the practice was common and was especially favored in the case of supervisory personnel."

So far as the first allegation is concerned, that by forcing her to take a leave of absence the mayor infringed her First Amendment rights, the only right specifically alleged is the right to run for public office. The First Amendment does not in terms confer a right to run for public office, and this court has held that it does not do so by implication either. Newcomb v. Brennan, 558 F.2d 825, 828 (7th Cir. 1977). It is true that political campaigns are important vehicles for the expression of ideas and opinions on public issues, notably by the candidates themselves, and therefore that restrictions on eligibility for public office could impair free speech. Nevertheless, this court held in Newcomb that a restriction on candidacy could not be presumed to have this effect; something more than the restriction had to be shown to bring the First Amendment into play. The complaint in Newcomb alleged that the plaintiff had been fired from his city job because his superiors opposed his candidacy for...

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423 practice notes
  • 636 F.Supp.2d 812 (W.D.Wis. 2009), 08-cv-447-bbc, Elborough v. Evansville Community School Dist.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Western District of Wisconsin
    • June 23, 2009
    ...that a " campaign of petty harassment" may add up to create an injury justifying an action for damages. E.g., Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622 (7th Cir.1982). However, in light of the small span of time that is relevant to this claim (only a day or two), I cannot conclude that the in......
  • 67 F.3d 655 (7th Cir. 1995), 94-3498, Wallace v. Benware
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 13, 1995
    ...immunity defense and affirm the district court's judgment. In my view, the analysis of the immunity issue must begin with Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622 (7th Cir.1982). We held there that a campaign of petty harassment in response to views expressed during a political campaign is actionable ......
  • 977 F.2d 299 (7th Cir. 1992), 91-3469, Hessel v. O'Hearn
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 6, 1992
    ...civil rights cases, or for that matter in other federal-question cases, with trivial exceptions, but remind us that in Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622 (7th Cir.1982), we said that "even in the field of constitutional torts de minimis non curat lex." Id. at 625. Bart does not stand a......
  • Marinelli v. Potter, 072209 MADC, 07-40223-FDS
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 1st Circuit United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • July 22, 2009
    ...of harassment. A campaign of petty harassment that is trivial in detail may nonetheless be substantial in gross. See Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622, 626 (7th Cir. 1982) (addressing retaliation for conduct protected by the First Amendment). “[W]orkplace harassment, if sufficiently severe or p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
420 cases
  • 636 F.Supp.2d 812 (W.D.Wis. 2009), 08-cv-447-bbc, Elborough v. Evansville Community School Dist.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Western District of Wisconsin
    • June 23, 2009
    ...that a " campaign of petty harassment" may add up to create an injury justifying an action for damages. E.g., Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622 (7th Cir.1982). However, in light of the small span of time that is relevant to this claim (only a day or two), I cannot conclude that the in......
  • 67 F.3d 655 (7th Cir. 1995), 94-3498, Wallace v. Benware
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 13, 1995
    ...immunity defense and affirm the district court's judgment. In my view, the analysis of the immunity issue must begin with Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622 (7th Cir.1982). We held there that a campaign of petty harassment in response to views expressed during a political campaign is actionable ......
  • 977 F.2d 299 (7th Cir. 1992), 91-3469, Hessel v. O'Hearn
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • October 6, 1992
    ...civil rights cases, or for that matter in other federal-question cases, with trivial exceptions, but remind us that in Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622 (7th Cir.1982), we said that "even in the field of constitutional torts de minimis non curat lex." Id. at 625. Bart does not stand a......
  • Marinelli v. Potter, 072209 MADC, 07-40223-FDS
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 1st Circuit United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • July 22, 2009
    ...of harassment. A campaign of petty harassment that is trivial in detail may nonetheless be substantial in gross. See Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622, 626 (7th Cir. 1982) (addressing retaliation for conduct protected by the First Amendment). “[W]orkplace harassment, if sufficiently severe or p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Drug testing welfare recipients as a constitutional condition.
    • United States
    • Stanford Law Review Vol. 65 Nbr. 5, May 2013
    • May 1, 2013
    ...right, though it may be limited in several respects. See, e.g., Randall v. Scott, 610 F.3d 701, 713-14 (11th Cir. 2010); Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622, 625 (7th Cir. 1982); Magill v. Lynch, 560 F.2d 22, 27 (1st Cir. 1977). (186.) See Budd, supra note 1, at 766-67. (187.) Unless one still be......
  • It's Dispositive: Considering Constitutional Review for First Amendment Retaliation Claims.
    • United States
    • Missouri Law Review Vol. 82 Nbr. 4, September 2017
    • September 22, 2017
    ...42 U.S.C. [section] 1983 (2012). (57.) Garcia v. City of Trenton, 348 F.3d 726, 728 (8th Cir. 2003). (58.) Id. (citing Bart v. Telford, 677 F.2d 622 (7th Cir. 1982)). (59.) Id. at 729 (quoting Bart, 677 F.2d at 625). (60.) Bennie, 822 F.3d at 399 (quoting Blankenship v. Manchin, 471 F.3d 52......