We are very saddened to report the passing of Henry Underhill, Jr., former IMLA President and Executive Director, on Sunday, October 18, 2020. Henry was the City Attorney for Charlotte, North Carolina from 1964 until 1994, and took over as Executive Director of IMLA in 1995, serving until 2007. During the time Henry was City Attorney for Charlotte, the city grew into a major metropolitan center, becoming the home to several Fortune 500 businesses and a major banking nucleus as...

IMLA confirms Tyrone Cooper as IMLA President from October 2020 - October 2021. In a business meeting held on October 3, 2020, virtually, IMLA confirmed the nomination of Tyrone Cooper of Beaumont, Texas to be President of IMLA. Mr. Cooper is currently the City Attorney of Beaumont, Texas. He has served in that capacity since being appointed in November of 2004. State and locally, he is a past President of the Texas City Attorneys Association (TCAA) where he served on the...

Today, in a great victory for the City of Nashville and IMLA, the Sixth Circuit decided that Nashville did not violate the First Amendment when it fired a 9-11 dispatcher who used a racially offensive slur in the context of the 2016 election in a public Facebook post that identified her as an employee of the City.  The parties all agreed that her post was on a matter of public concern given the broader context of the election even though...

Mays v. Governor, no. 157335 (Mi. July 29, 2020). In a 4-2 opinion affirming the courts below, the Michigan Supreme Court declined to dismiss a class action for inverse condemnation and bodily harm against former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and other state and local officials for their actions which resulted in toxic water from the Flint River being supplied  to Flint residents, causing a major health crisis, damage to residential water systems and a precipitous drop in property values. For more than...

On Friday night, the Supreme Court denied a request for an injunction by a church in Nevada seeking to hold in person services on the same terms as other facilities in the State, including casinos.  The order limits religious gatherings to 50 people while allowing restaurants and casinos to operate as 50% capacity. The majority that denied the injunction offered no written opinion accompanying its decision (which is not unusual for this type of request), but Justice Alito (joined by Justices...

Education: Third Circuit Adopts New Standard, Holding that Tinker Does Not Proscribe “Off-Campus” Student Speech B.L. v. Mahanoy Area School District, No. 19-1842 (3d Cir. June 30, 2020). In a decision likely to create greater uncertainty about regulation of student posts to non-school social media, the Third Circuit adopts a rule that off-campus communication is not subject to Tinker’s prohibition against creating disruption within schools and holds that a student’s profane snapchat post cannot result in discipline against her. B.L., a junior varsity...

IMLA is disappointed to announce that the 2020 Annual Conference at the La Quinta Resort and Spa has been cancelled but is excited to announce that in place of our on-site event, we will be offering the Annual Conference virtually! The virtual conference will be a full virtual event with informative sessions and plenty of networking opportunities. IMLA is replicating our full conference through webinars in much the same manner as we have our other virtual events this year. We...

Today, in a 5-4 decision, in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the Supreme Court held that a large swath of eastern Oklahoma, including most of the city of Tulsa, is “Indian country” for the purposes of the Major Crimes Act (MCA).  In a decision that was as much a history lesson as a debate over statutory text and interpretation, the majority concluded that Congress never disestablished the Creek Nation reservation in Oklahoma and therefore, the state of Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction to criminally...

Today, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the current administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but 8 Justices agreed that the decision did not constitute and Equal Protection violation.  The facts in this case were fairly unusual because everyone agreed that administration could rescind DACA at any time because it does not like the policy.  But instead, the federal government has...

The Supreme Court held in a 6-3 opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.  Writing for the majority, Justice Gorsuch explains “[s]ex plays a necessary and undisguisable role” in an employer’s decision to “fire an individual for being homosexual or transgender”, which is “exactly what Title VII forbids.” The textualist opinion includes numerous examples of why it is “impossible to discriminate against a person for being...