make it appear as if Pilecki and Dunn were more qualified. If there is an issue of material fact as to the knowing inaccuracy of the Personnel Documents, then there is a genuine issue of material fact as to the PTC Defendants' knowing reliance on them. Cf. Robertson, 62 F.3d at 601 (legitimate reason to discharge when employee threatened lives of co-workers by smoking in highly flammable work-place).
For these reasons, we find that there are genuine issues of material fact as to Christy's claims.
2. Qualified Immunity
Joint Defendants assert that they are entitled to qualified immunity from Christy's claims. To determine whether a public employee is entitled to qualified immunity, courts ask whether the right alleged to have been violated was clearly established at the time of the alleged violation. If it was, then courts determine whether the defendant could reasonably have believed that his or her discretionary actions comported with that right. Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 73 L. Ed. 2d 396, 102 S. Ct. 2727 (1982); Stoneking v. Bradford Area School Dist., 882 F.2d 720, 726 (3d Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1044, 107 L. Ed. 2d 835, 110 S. Ct. 840 (1990). Summary judgment in a defendant's favor is appropriate if there is evidence that a reasonable official could have believed that his or her actions were legal. Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 641, 97 L. Ed. 2d 523, 107 S. Ct. 3034 (1987). Joint Defendants do not contest that Christy's First Amendment rights were clearly established at the time of the alleged violations. Our analysis, therefore, will focus on the second aspect of the above test.
Joint Defendants argue that summary judgment is appropriate because they followed the procedures established in Policy Letter 65. They argue that since they could reasonably have believed that Policy Letter 65's procedures defined the legal way to promote and because they did follow Policy Letter 65's procedure, they could reasonably have believed that they acted lawfully and are entitled to qualified immunity.
If Christy alleged procedural violations, this argument would succeed. Christy's lawsuit, however, alleges that although Joint Defendants may have comported with the administrative procedures in that they had the appropriate meetings and took the appropriate votes, in fact, these procedures were a smokescreen for the actual political patronage promotion process. For this reason, Joint Defendants' reliance on process does not answer whether they reasonably believed they acted legally.
Above, we concluded that the merits of Christy's claims were suitable for a trial. Here, we conclude that summary judgment is likewise inappropriate on the issue of qualified immunity. If Christy's allegations are true, then Joint Defendants knowingly used the procedures in Policy Letter 65 to effectuate political patronage, which was clearly proscribed at the time. Rutan, 497 U.S. 62, 111 L. Ed. 2d 52, 110 S. Ct. 2729. No public official could reasonably have believed that such knowing circumvention was legal, and for this reason, we deny summary judgment.
An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this 6th day of November, 1995, upon consideration of:
Doc. # Pleading
130 Motion by Defendants James L. Dodaro, Howard Yerusalim, Frank A. Ursomarso, James F. Malone, III, John L. Sokol, Jr., S. Michael Palermo, Joseph L. Dirienzo, Samuel S. Carnabuci, Melvin M. Shelton, Deborah Koval, George Pilecki and Sean Pilecki for Summary Judgment
137 Initial Response by Plaintiff Charles Christy to Motion for Summary Judgment
141 Response by Defendants to Plaintiff's Rule 56(f) Motion to Dismiss Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
159 Renewed Motion by Defendant John A. Boschi for Summary Judgment
160 Motion by Defendant Frank A. Ursomarso for Summary Judgment
161 Motion by Defendant Robert Brady for Summary Judgment
162 Motion by Defendant James J. Dodaro for Summary Judgment
163 Motion by Defendant Howard Yerusalim for Summary Judgment
164 Motion by Defendant Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for Summary Judgment
165 Motion by Defendant James F. Malone III for Summary Judgment
166 Supplemental Memorandum by Defendants Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Robert Brady, James L. Dodaro, Howard Yerusalim, Frank A. Ursomarso, James F. Malone, III, John L. Sokol, Jr., S. Michael Palermo, Joseph L. Dirienzo, Samuel S. Carnabuci, Melvin M. Shelton, Deborah Koval, Vincent J. Greco, John A. Stewart, George Pilecki and Sean Pilecki in support of Motions for Summary Judgment
167 Motion by Defendant Vincent J. Greco for Summary Judgment
168 Motion by Defendant George Pilecki for Summary Judgment
169 Motion by Defendant Sean Pilecki for Summary Judgment
170 Motion by Defendant John A. Stewart for Summary Judgment
171 Motion by Defendant Melvin M. Shelton for Summary Judgment
172 Motion by Defendant John L. Sokol, Jr. for Summary Judgment
173 Motion by Defendant S. Michael Palermo for Summary Judgment
174 Motion by Defendant Joseph L. DiRienzo for Summary Judgment
175 Motion by Defendant Samuel S. Carnabuci for Summary Judgment
176 Motion by Defendant Deborah Koval for Summary Judgment
183-4 Response by Plaintiff Charles Christy in opposition to Defendants' frivolous motion for Summary Judgment
190 Reply by Defendant John A. Boschi to Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' renewed Motion for Summary Judgment
191 Reply Memorandum by Defendants Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Robert Brady, James L. Dodaro, Howard Yerusalim, Frank A. Ursomarso, James F. Malone, III, John L. Sokol, Jr., S. Michael Palermo, Joseph L. Dirienzo, Samuel S. Carnabuci, Melvin M. Shelton, Deborah Koval, Vincent J. Greco, John A. Stewart, George Pilecki and Sean Pilecki in support of motion for Summary Judgment,
AND, in accordance with the attached Memorandum of Law, the Motions for Summary Judgment are hereby DENIED.
BY THE COURT:
J. CURTIS JOYNER, J.