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United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
April 15, 2004, Filed
[*340] KING, Chief Judge:
Plaintiffs-Appellees Dean Kinney and David Hall brought suit against seven law enforcement officials, the seven cities or counties that employ these officials, and the East Texas Police Chiefs Association, asserting four claims: (1) a 42 U.S.C. § 1985(2) claim alleging conspiracy against Kinney and Hall because of their testimony in judicial proceedings, (2) a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim alleging violations of their rights to freedom of speech under the First Amendment, (3) a § 1983 claim alleging violations of their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law, and (4) a state law claim alleging tortious interference with business relations. The law enforcement officials now bring an interlocutory appeal of the district court's order denying their motion for summary judgment, in which they asserted [**3] qualified immunity against the federal claims and state official immunity against the tort claim. A panel of this court affirmed in part and reversed in part. Kinney v. Weaver, 301 F.3d 253 (5th Cir. 2002), vacated and reh'g en banc granted, 338 F.3d 432 (5th Cir. 2003). On rehearing en banc, we now AFFIRM the district court's order denying the officials' claim of immunity from the § 1985 claim, the § 1983 First Amendment claim, and the state law claim; given material factual disputes, these claims cannot be disposed of on summary judgment. We REVERSE the district court's order [*341] denying immunity from the plaintiffs' § 1983 due process claim.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
While many of the basic facts in this case are uncontested, a number of the legally relevant facts are still disputed at this stage. In Parts II and III of this opinion, we elaborate the appellate prism through which we must view the facts in this interlocutory appeal from the district court's decision denying qualified immunity. As we explain there, we are required to accept the truth of the plaintiffs' summary judgment evidence, and we lack jurisdiction [**4] to review the genuineness of those factual disputes that precluded summary judgment in the district court. Nonetheless, for ease of understanding and later discussion, our recitation of the facts will note both sides' assertions with respect to the material points of disagreement.
At the time of the events giving rise to this case, Kinney and Hall were instructors at the East Texas Police Academy ("ETPA"), a division of Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas. Founded by the East Texas Police Chiefs Association in 1966, the ETPA provides basic and advanced training for law enforcement officers in the greater East Texas area. Kinney and Hall had been working at the ETPA for seventeen years and six years, respectively, under renewable one-year employment contracts. The seven law enforcement officials (collectively "the Police Officials") asserting qualified immunity in this case are police chiefs or sheriffs who possess final authority over the training of the officers employed by their respective agencies. 2 Before the fall of 1998, the Police Officials enrolled their officers in ETPA courses on a regular basis, including courses taught by Kinney and Hall. The Police Officials were not [**5] contractually bound to continue using either the ETPA's services or the services of Kinney and Hall in particular.
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367 F.3d 337 *; 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 7436 **; 21 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 313
DEAN KINNEY; DAVID HALL, Plaintiffs - Appellees v. BOBBY WEAVER, Etc.; ET AL, Defendants; J B SMITH, Smith County Sheriff; SMITH COUNTY TEXAS; W A "BILL" YOUNG, Tyler Police Chief; CITY OF TYLER, TEXAS; EAST TEXAS POLICE CHIEF'S ASSOCIATION; BOBBY WEAVER, Gregg County Sheriff; BOB GREEN, Harrison County Sheriff; GREGG COUNTY TEXAS; HARRISON COUNTY TEXAS; RONNIE MOORE, Kilgore Director of Public Safety; CHARLES "CHUCK" WILLIAMS, City of Marshall Police Chief; TED GIBSON, Nacogdoches Police Chief; CITY OF KILGORE, TEXAS; CITY OF MARSHALL, TEXAS; CITY OF NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS, Defendants - Appellants.
Subsequent History: [**1] As Revised May 3, 2004.
US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Smith v. Kinney, 160 L. Ed. 2d 121, 125 S. Ct. 111, 2004 U.S. LEXIS 6599 (U.S., Oct. 4, 2004)
US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Green v. Kinney, 160 L. Ed. 2d 121, 125 S. Ct. 102, 2004 U.S. LEXIS 6600 (U.S., Oct. 4, 2004)
Prior History: Appeals from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. 9:99-CV-77. Howell Cobb, US District Judge.
Kinney v. Weaver, 111 F. Supp. 2d 831, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12310 (E.D. Tex., 2000)
Disposition: Decision of district court affirmed in part and reversed in part. Decision of court of appeals panel reinstated in part. Appeal dismissed in part.
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