FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2014
AG STRANGE PRAISES U.S. SUPREME COURT’S DECISION IN LANE V. FRANKS
(MONTGOMERY) – The United States Supreme Court today issued a decision in Lane v. Franks which involved a former public employee who was allegedly fired for testifying in a public corruption trial.
Attorney General Strange personally orally argued this case before the Supreme Court. Attorney General Strange argued that the First Amendment protects public employees who act as whistleblowers and testify to expose public corruption, even if the employees learn that information as a result of their public employment. The Supreme Court agreed, concluding that the employee’s speech in this case was entitled to First Amendment protection.
Attorney General Strange also argued that the supervisor who fired the employee should not be personally liable for damages, because existing Eleventh Circuit law had left the employee’s speech unprotected. The Supreme Court also agreed with that position, protecting the employer from personal liability because the law was unclear when the employer fired the employee.
“It was an honor and privilege for me to argue before the United States Supreme Court, and I am pleased that the Court agreed with the position we presented,” said Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. “The Court’s decision properly recognizes that a public employee has the right to testify in a public corruption case but that the supervisor who fired this particular employee should not be personally liable for damages.”
The National Association of Attorneys General also honored the Office of Attorney General Strange with its Best Brief Award for the brief in this case.