Ex-Durham magistrate can sue former DA
Posted July 31, 2013
Durham, N.C. — A federal judge has determined that a former Durham County magistrate's lawsuit against former District Attorney Tracey Cline can proceed, although he dismissed claims against Cline in her official capacity.
Magistrate Sam Biers resigned under pressure in 2011 after authorities determined that he falsified his employment application to hide a criminal history.
Biers accused Cline conspired with the Durham County Sheriff's Office to dismiss him because he was trying to expose wrongdoing by other magistrates.
Senior U.S. District Judge Carlton Tilley ruled last week that Biers had stated enough of a claim of First Amendment and 14th Amendment violations against Cline for anything she did outside of her official capacity as district attorney. Tilley dismissed claims against Cline for any actions done in her official capacity and against the state, as her employer, on the grounds of government immunity.
The sheriff's office also is seeking to have Biers' claims against it, Sheriff Mike Andrews, former Sheriff Worth Hill and Deputy Paul Martin dismissed.