Ocasio v. Ciach

Full title: NELSON OCASIO, Plaintiff, v. MAYOR MICHAEL CIACH, COUNCIL PRESIDENT CHRISTINE PETERSON, and THE BOROUGH OF UPLAND, Defendants.

Court: UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

Date published: Jan 9, 2019

Facts

On January 2, 2013, Plaintiff Ocasio was appointed Chief of Police for the Borough of Upland, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶10, Doc. No. 1). On February 23, 2016, Plaintiff alleges he was notified by Defendant Ciach and Defendant Peterson together that he was terminated from his position as Police Chief. Id. at ¶19.

At the time Plaintiff was terminated, Defendant Ciach was Mayor of the Borough of Upland, a position he held from 2005 through 2017. (Def. Ex. 1 ¶1, Doc. No. 21-1). As Mayor, Mr. Ciach did not have the authority to hire or fire police officers (including police chiefs); that authority rested with the borough council. Id. at ¶¶4-5. He did have the authority to temporarily suspend a police chief pending approval by the council. Id. at ¶7. As Mayor, Defendant Ciach did not have a vote on the borough council unless there was a tie. Id. at ¶4. During the time surrounding Plaintiff’s termination, Defendant  Peterson served in two roles, both as a councilperson and as a police department assistant. Id. at ¶18. AAllegations of Racial Animosity

Issue

Decision

For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment is denied in part as to the claims against Defendants Ciach and Peterson in their capacities contained in Counts I and IV of the Complaint, and granted in part as to the claim against the Borough of Upland contained in Count IV of the Complaint. An appropriate order will follow.

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