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Holder of buggy permits can sue for retaliation arising out of his complaint to city hall

David Holzemer operated Downtown Buggy in Memphis.  He sued the City and County and police authorities, alleging they harrassed and interfered with his legitimate operations, in retaliation against complaints he raised with the City Council. 

Holzemer claimed that permitting officials denied him the same privileges that were granted to other transportation entities and raised his complaints with a City Councilman.  He alleged that permitting officials and police then retaliated against him by selective and unfair enforcement and regulation.

The permitting officer argued that she was entitled to immunity from Holzerman's claims but the Sixth Circuit rejected this defense.  It held that the First Amendment clearly protects an individual's right to petition and criticize government officials.  Retaliation against an individual who exercises this right, if proven, constitutes a Section 1983 violation of civil rights which is actionable.

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