829 F.2d 576 (6th Cir. 1987), 86-1360, Campbell v. City of Allen Park

Docket Nº:86-1360.
Citation:829 F.2d 576
Party Name:Debra CAMPBELL and Dale Campbell, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. CITY OF ALLEN PARK and Frank Lada, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:September 18, 1987
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Page 576

829 F.2d 576 (6th Cir. 1987)

Debra CAMPBELL and Dale Campbell, Plaintiffs-Appellants,


CITY OF ALLEN PARK and Frank Lada, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 86-1360.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

September 18, 1987

Argued Feb. 13, 1987.

Page 577

Michael S. Cafferty (argued), Frimet, Bellamy & Gilchrist, P.C., Detroit, Mich., for plaintiffs-appellants.

John Dise, Craig, Farber, Downs & Dise, Detroit, Mich., Timothy Downs (argued), for defendants-appellees.

Before MARTIN, NELSON and BOGGS, Circuit Judges.

DAVID A. NELSON, Circuit Judge.

Appellant Debra Campbell lost her job with the City of Allen Park, Michigan, after she moved outside the city in alleged violation of a city charter provision requiring employees to reside within the city unless granted a specific exemption from that requirement by the city council. Contending that Allen Park had violated the United States Constitution by arbitrarily rejecting a request for a waiver of the residency requirement, Mrs. Campbell and her husband brought a civil rights action against Allen Park in federal court. The plaintiffs sought an order of reinstatement with back pay plus other relief.

While the federal action was pending, a state court to which Mrs. Campbell had appealed her discharge entered judgment in her favor. The federal district court thereafter granted summary judgment for the city, dismissing the case on the ground that no constitutional violation had occurred.

Page 578

We shall affirm the district court's judgment. In the first place, we agree that the Constitution was not violated. In the second place, Mrs. Campbell's election to pursue her remedies under state law had already resulted in her being reinstated, with an award of back pay, before the federal case came on for decision. That, in our view, ought to have ended the matter.

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Debra Campbell, nee Debra Hassell, was employed by Allen Park as a radio alarm operator in the fire department. In the fall of 1984 she became engaged to marry Dale Campbell, a firefighter employed by the neighboring city of Lincoln Park. That city had a residency requirement of its own, and Mr. Campbell was subject to it. Because he already owned a house in Lincoln Park, he and Miss Hassell decided that she would request an exemption from Allen Park's residency requirement so that the couple could live together in the Lincoln Park house after their marriage.

Miss Hassell wrote the Mayor and Council of Allen Park, shortly before her marriage, to request the exemption. Upon returning from her honeymoon, she made inquiry of the City Clerk as to the status of her exemption request and was told that the request was being processed. She says that she was also told she could live outside Allen Park while awaiting the Council's ruling, and she claims to have done so in reliance on this representation.

A month or two later the Council denied the exemption request. Shortly before the Council acted, Mrs. Campbell received a "Notice of Termination" from the Mayor. The notice, which did not refer to the advice allegedly given by the City Clerk, stated that Mrs. Campbell's employment was terminated because her non-residency was in violation of the Allen Park City Charter.

Mrs. Campbell elected to take advantage of the review procedures available under the Firemen and Policemen Civil Service System, M.C.L.A. Secs. 38.501 et seq. A hearing was held before the Fire and Police Civil Service Commission, but Mrs. Campbell was denied the opportunity to show, as she said she was prepared to do, that the real reason for her discharge was that she had requested a pregnancy leave. She was also denied the opportunity to show that she had obtained permission to live in Lincoln Park while her request for a waiver of the residency requirement was pending before the city council. The Commission upheld Mrs. Campbell's discharge.

Mrs. Campbell appealed the Commission's order to the Wayne County Circuit Court. Holding that the Commission had erred in refusing to entertain Mrs. Campbell's pregnancy and estoppel...

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