Municipal Litigation Reporter
The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the city and its mayor on an ex-employee’s lawsuit arising from his unsuccessful application for appointment to a city department.
In 2002 and 2003, Edmund McDonald worked for the city of St. Paul as its director of the Office of Affirmative Action and the Coordinator of Minority Business Development and Retention. After McDonald was terminated, he sued the city. The parties eventually settled the lawsuit.
In August 2008, the city created the Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity and passed a resolution establishing the process to hire a department director. McDonald applied for the position and was one of three finalists submitted to the mayor by the selection committee.
After the mayor and deputy mayor interviewed the finalists, they offered the position to the two other finalists, who each declined. McDonald was not offered the position. The selection committee then identified three additional finalists. After two of the additional finalists withdrew, the mayor offered the position to the third additional finalist, who accepted.
McDonald sued the city and its mayor (collectively, the city) alleging, in part, equal protection and procedural and substantive due process claims. The district court granted the city’s motion for summary judgment on all claims. McDonald appealed.
The Eighth Circuit concluded that McDonald did not have a protected property interest in the director position and, therefore, affirmed the district court’s rejection of his due process claim.
With respect to McDonald’s equal protection claim, the Eighth Circuit concluded that McDonald did not present any evidence that he was denied the director position because of his previous lawsuit. The Eighth Circuit also concluded that McDonald did not present any evidence that he was treated differently from similarly situated candidates or that he was the victim of intentional or purposeful discrimination and, therefore, the district court did not err in concluding that McDonald’s equal protection claim failed as a matter of law. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of McDonald’s motion for summary judgment.
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