Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Burger v. County of Macon

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 7, 2019

Amanda Maxwell Burger, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
County of Macon and Albert Jay Scott, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued September 6, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 18-cv-3119 - Colin S. Bruce, Judge.

          Before Easterbrook, Kanne, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.

          KANNE, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Under Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), local governments may be liable for violating individuals' rights guaranteed by federal law. But local governments are responsible only for "their own illegal acts"; they are not responsible for others' acts falling outside an official local-government policy. Pembaur v. City of Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 479 (1986).

         After Amanda Burger was fired from her job at the State's Attorney's Office in Macon County, Illinois, she sued the county for allegedly firing her in violation of her federal constitutional rights. The district court dismissed the case, concluding that Burger failed to state a federal claim against the county.

         Because the alleged illegal conduct was directed by an officer of the State of Illinois, and not Macon County, we affirm.

         I. Background

         Amanda Burger worked in the State's Attorney's Office for Macon County. She was employed by the State's Attorney's Office for about six years, starting in 2010. During that time, Albert Scott was the elected State's Attorney for Macon County and his deputy was Assistant State's Attorney Nichole Kroncke. Burger alleges that Kroncke had authority to hire and fire employees, including Burger.

         After Burger had been working at the Office for about five years, she married. Her husband had been convicted of a felony drug offense in Wyoming in 2009 and had served out his sentence by the time of the marriage in 2015.

         The same year she married, Burger told Scott that she believed Kroncke had violated state and federal laws, along with employee-handbook provisions, by disclosing confidential information and by discriminating against and harassing employees. Soon after Burger made this report to Scott, Scott relayed it to Kroncke, and Kroncke started treating Burger poorly: excluding Burger from meetings and other communications, bypassing Burger in the chain of command, and calling Burger demeaning names.

         Beginning in February 2016, Burger complained of this treatment to Macon County human-resource personnel. A few months later, on May 19, 2016, Burger was called into a meeting with Scott and Kroncke. At the meeting, Burger was told that her employment with the State's Attorney's Office was being terminated immediately because of her association with her husband, who had been convicted of a crime. Burger was officially discharged the next day.

         About two years later, Burger filed a four-count complaint in federal district court. She based three counts on Illinois state law, asserting two counts against Macon County and one count against Scott. The remaining count rested on federal law, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and alleged that Burger's firing violated her federal constitutional rights. Burger asserted this count against Macon County only.

         The county and Scott moved to dismiss Burger's complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6). They argued that Burger failed to state a federal claim and that the remaining counts were time-barred or outside the court's jurisdiction. The district court granted the motion, dismissing the federal count and dismissing without ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.