United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Marnocha was fired from her position of Deputy City Attorney
for the City of Elkhart after a new mayor was elected.
Marnocha alleges she was sacked for exercising her First
Amendment rights and because of her gender and age.
Defendants counter that this house-cleaning was entirely
appropriate since Marnocha held a policymaking position, and
the next mayor was entitled to have his own team in place.
They therefore seek summary judgment. Because I find that
Marnocha, as the Deputy City Attorney, held a policymaking
position, the motion for summary judgment [DE 94] will be
usual, I'll start with the facts recounted in the light
most favorable to Marnocha. Although Marnocha was originally
employed by the City of Elkhart as the Utility Attorney on
September 27, 2010, at the time of her termination in
November 2015, her position was Deputy City Attorney. During
her tenure as Utility Attorney, several other attorneys
resigned and were not immediately replaced. Marnocha was
assigned additional duties, and she received a raise. [DE
60-5 at 58-59.]
2015, Marnocha transferred from the Utility Attorney position
to the Deputy City Attorney position in the law department.
[Id. at 48; 60-7 at 12.] At that time, there were
only two lawyers for the City of Elkhart - Vlado Vranjes,
Corporation Counsel, and Marnocha, Deputy City Attorney. [DE
60-5 at 51; 60-14, ¶10; DE 4, ¶46.]
description of the Deputy City Attorney, which was updated in
May 2015 upon Marnocha's transfer into the law
department, summarized the position as follows:
The Deputy City Attorney is responsible for assisting the
Corporation Counsel in providing legal counsel and
representation to public officials, employees, boards and
commissions of the City relating to municipal governance.
He/she is also the labor and employment attorney and is the
litigation attorney for the City handling all litigation
before any courts, administrative bodies, and arbitrators.
[DE 60-5 at 48; 60-6 at 1; 60-14, ¶9.] The Deputy City
Attorney's principal duties and responsibilities, as
listed in the job description, are:
- Provide legal counsel and representation to all municipal
officials, employees, boards and commissions of the City
relating to municipal governance.
- Provide employment law advice and representation of
management in all administrative and legal proceedings
related to the employment context.
- Provide legal advice to the Human Relations Department in
all matters related to Housing and Employment discrimination.
- Provide legal advice to the Human Resources Department in
all matters related to employment discrimination and other
areas of employment law.
- Represent the City's interest in legal proceedings not
covered by the City's insurance program, and prosecute or
supervise the prosecution of ordinance violations cases.
- Attend meetings of and provide legal counsel to any board
or commission assigned by the Corporation Counsel.
- Perform legal research on any legal matter presented to the
Office of the Corporation Counsel.
- Provide assistance to the Corporation Counsel in regard to
any legal matter relating to ...