BOGAN AND RODERICK v. SCOTT-HARRIS

Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
96-1569
Petitioner 
Bogan and Roderick
Respondent 
Scott-Harris
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Janet Scott-Harris filed suit under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 against the city of Fall River, Massachusetts, the city's mayor, Daniel Bogan, the vice president of the city counsel, Marilyn Roderick, and others, alleging that the elimination of the city department in which Scott-Harris was the sole employee was motivated by a desire to retaliate against her for exercising her First Amendment rights. The jury found the city, Bogan and Roderick liable on the First Amendment claim. The First Circuit set aside the verdict against the city, but affirmed the judgments against Bogan and Roderick. The court held that although Bogan and Roderick had absolute immunity from civil liability for their performance of legitimate legislative activities, their conduct in voting for and signing the ordinance that eliminated Scott-Harris's office was motivated by considerations relating to a particular individual and was therefore administrative rather than legislative in nature.

Question 

Are actions by local officials introducing, voting for, and signing an ordinance outside the scope of legislative activities because of the motives of the government actors?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Bogan and Roderick, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

No. Local legislators are entitled to the same absolute immunity from civil liability under Section 1983 for their legislative activities as are federal, state and regional legislators. Whether an act is legislative turns on the nature of the act itself, rather than on the motive or intent of the official performing it. The acts at issue here were clearly legislative, and the ordinance itself bore all the hallmarks of traditional legislation.

Cite this Page
BOGAN AND RODERICK v. SCOTT-HARRIS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 21 June 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_96_1569>.
BOGAN AND RODERICK v. SCOTT-HARRIS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_96_1569 (last visited June 21, 2014).
"BOGAN AND RODERICK v. SCOTT-HARRIS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed June 21, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1997/1997_96_1569.