First Circuit Affirms Dismissal of First Amendment, Equal Protection Claims Against Town

Attorney Jackie Cowin obtained a favorable decision from the First Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming a lower court’s dismissal of claims by a nightclub owner that the Town of Stoughton’s former Police Chief had violated his Equal Protection and First Amendment rights by requesting that the Town’s Board of Selectment suspend or revoke the club’s liquor and entertainment licenses. The plaintiff claimed that the Police Chief’s actions were discriminatory, based on the race of the club’s clientele and the type of music that was played at the club.  A U.S. District Judge granted summary judgment in the Police Chief’s favor, holding that the evidence substantially established that the Police Chief had a non-discriminatory basis for his actions: namely, a year-long series of disturbances at the club, many of which involved violence and which culminated in a shooting outside the club.  The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment upon the plaintiff’s appeal