Appeals from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Louisiana
CLEMENT, PRADO, and OWEN, Circuit Judges.
C. PRADO, Circuit Judge:
case involves consolidated appeals by multiple parties.
Plaintiff Tom Heaney was silenced and then ejected at a city
council meeting in Gretna, Louisiana. He alleged that the
presiding official at the meeting, Defendant Christopher
Roberts, violated his rights under the First and Fourth
Amendments of the Constitution as well as under the Louisiana
state constitution. Heaney also argued that Defendant Ronald
Black, the Gretna police officer who removed him from the
meeting, violated those same constitutional rights as well as
state tort law. Finally, Heaney alleged that the Parish of
Jefferson ("Jefferson Parish") and the City of
Gretna were vicariously liable as the employers of Roberts
and Black. The district court granted in part and denied in
part the Defendants' motions for summary judgment.
Because there is a genuine issue of material fact as to
whether Roberts is entitled to qualified immunity on the
First Amendment claim, we DISMISS his interlocutory appeal.
We also DISMISS Black's cross-appeal for lack of
appellate jurisdiction. We AFFIRM the district court's
grant of summary judgment as to the other claims.
September 18, 2013, Tom Heaney attended a regularly scheduled
Jefferson Parish council meeting in Gretna, Louisiana. In
accordance with council rules, Heaney registered to speak
during the time allowed for public comment. The rules allowed
each registered speaker five minutes to address the council.
Heaney wished to speak about the legality of council members
accepting campaign contributions from contractors who had
applied for and received no-bid contracts from the council.
Councilman Christopher Roberts was presiding as chair of the
Heaney had been speaking for about three minutes, he was
interrupted by Roberts, who asked if he would yield the floor
to the Parish Attorney, Ms. Foshee. Heaney believed that he
would receive the balance of his time after Ms. Foshee
finished speaking given that a prior speaker had been given
the balance of her time after yielding. Ms. Foshee spoke for
several minutes, expressing her opinion that the
council's actions were legal. After she finished
speaking, Heaney asked Roberts, "May I have my time
back?" and Roberts responded, "Yes, how much time
do we have?" Heaney then expressed his wish to challenge
the Parish Attorney's opinion. At that point, he was
interrupted again by Roberts:
Roberts: Let me, we've had this conversation before, ok?
Heaney: Are you trying to stop me from speaking?
Roberts: Well you yielded and I do have the floor . . . so .
. . I'm not going to turn this into a circus, ok? If you
don't believe what Ms.
Foshee's comments were-
Roberts: Let me finish. Last I checked, Ms. Foshee had a law
degree hanging on the wall in her office. If you're
challenging whether or not what she's saying to be
accurate or not, you can go right to the elevator downstairs.
The Clerk of Court's office is there, and you're
welcome to file suit. This is not the forum for you to
challenge the opinion of the parish attorney, ok?
Heaney: Now if I can be able to speak-
Roberts: No, let me finish. Let me finish. Once again,
I'm going to ask you, are you an attorney?
Heaney: I don't have to be an attorney to read and
comprehend a decision-
Roberts: But I'm not going to sit here and have you
berate the parish attorney.
Heaney: I have a decision. I have a decision by HUD that
contradicts what Ms. Foshee says-
Roberts: Sir, ok. Your time's up and I'm going to ask
that you be removed because you're being hostile so ...