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Tuesday, July 25, 2023

7th Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Unsuccessful Candidate's Civil Rights Lawsuit

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a candidate for a States Attorney office against various public officials claiming that their actions violated his civil rights. Reardon v. Danley et al.

Reardon ran for States Attorney in Coles County against the incumbent, one of the defendants. After he lost the election, he filed a lawsuit that included the following claims: (1) seeking an injunction against the release of certain Facebook account information that was the subject of a subpoena issued by the Mattoon Police Department, which subpoena had been upheld by a circuit court judge; (2) that a county board member violated his First Amendment rights by removing one of his campaign signs from a resident's lawn a few weeks before the election; and (3) that the Police Chief and City violated his First Amendment rights when the Chief endorsed his opponent on the City's Facebook page.

The Court of Appeals rejected all of Reardon's claims and upheld the district court's dismissal of his case. First, the Court held that injunctive relief was not an appropriate civil rights remedy to stop the release of the subpoenaed records. Second, the Court held that Reardon failed to demonstrate how the county board member was acting under any authority of the county or in furtherance of his county board member role when he removed the campaign sign. Finally, the Court held that Reardon failed to show how the Chief's Facebook post violated any of his constitutional rights. 


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