ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Thursday, August 25, 2022

A Quick One: Contracts and the First Amendment in Rosati v. LIRR

I have been mining a rare vein of doctrine that combines the precious minerals of contracts law and the First Amendment.  The most recent installment, which links to previous posts, is here.  I have to prepare to teach this morning, and the ruling discussed below is preliminary, so I will just quickly note the District Court's ruling in Rosati v. Long Island Railroad here.

According to the opinion, Rosati has a bunch of social media accounts in which he promotes conservative causes, including perhaps white power.  He was also a conductor for the Long Island Railroad (LIRR).  At some point after January 6th, 2021, LIRR became aware of his activities, including his presence at the Capitol on January 6th.  He stands accused of no unlawful conduct in connection with January 6th.  Nonetheless, he was suspended without pay on January 21st.  On May 21st, he was terminated based on his social media posts.  

Rosati sued, alleging violations of 42 U.S. ยง 1983 and alleging municipal liability under Monell v. Dep't of Social Services.  In order to succeed on such a claim, Rosati has to identify the policy or custom pursuant to which he was terminated.  The conclusory allegations in his complaint failed to do so, so the case was dismissed with leave to request an attempt to cure the complaint's deficiencies. This one is worth following.  

And now, another Quick One:

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