Section 1983 retaliation claim is analyzed by the Sixth Circuit
This week, the Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision in Paige v. Coyner, et al., discussing the necessary proof elements to establish a claim of illegal retaliation under 42 USC 1983, which prohibits state action denying a citizen's constitutional or civil rights. Paige sued after being fired by her private employer, Bunnell Hill, for expressing her concerns on a public issue. Paige alleged that her termination was prompted by a phone call from Coyner to her employer, seeking "clarification" of the employer's "commitment to development in the region." All three judges of the Sixth Circuit agreed that Coyner was exercising coercive power derived from the state to retaliate against Paige for exercising her civil right of expression, although the judges disagreed to some extent on the standard that should be applied under the circumstances.