Court Opinions: 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinions for April 30

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

Editor’s Note: Law Week Colorado edits court opinion summaries for style and, when necessary, length.

Cronick v. Pryor, Mccafferty and Inazu 

Colorado Springs police officers Robert McCafferty and Christopher Pryor responded to a 911 call placed by Sasha Cronick reporting a drug overdose. The officers arrived at the Sun Springs Motel and found Cronick at the scene, according to the opinion. Pryor questioned her and the conversation quickly escalated. Cronick was then arrested for failure to desist and disperse. 

Cronick brought a claim alleging the officers violated her constitutional rights. The district court denied the officers’ assertion of qualified immunity. 

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded the officers weren’t entitled to qualified immunity in the case because they violated Cronick’s constitutional rights. The appeals court found the plain terms of the city ordinance would have given every reasonable officer fair warning that if they arrested Cronick for failure to disperse, they would violate Cronick’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from an arrest lacking in probable cause.

The 10th Circuit affirmed. 

Pryor v. School District No. 1, Superintendent Alex Marrero and Deputy Superintendent Anthony Smith 

Brandon Pryor passionately, and at times profanely, criticized actors within Denver School District No. 1 when he advocated for change within the school district, according to the opinion. In response, the school district stripped him of his volunteer position and restricted his access to facilities in the school district. 

The school district served Pryor a letter in October 2022. The letter alleged Pryor had displayed “abusive, bullying, threatening, and intimidating conduct directed at [District] staff.” The letter stated Pryor violated various policies and restricted his access to district facilities and his relationship with the district. Pryor appealed, and the district eventually removed some restrictions. But the district maintained two categorical restrictions, one removed him from his position as volunteer football coach, and the other revoked his privileged access to school district facilities, including STEAM Academy, that he had previously enjoyed based on his status as a school founder. 

While Pryor’s appeal to the school district was pending, he sued the school district, Superintendent Alex Marrero and Deputy Superintendent Anthony Smith alleging First Amendment retaliation. Pryor moved for a preliminary injunction related to the retaliation claim. He also asked the district court to enjoin the defendants from banning him from school district property or retaliating against him, his children or STEAM Academy and to restore his ability to coach, his access as a school founder and his ability to speak at public comment sessions. 

The district court granted a preliminary injunction in part. The district court enjoined the defendants from enforcing the restrictions of the October 2022 letter and from taking any other retaliatory action against Pryor, his family or STEAM Academy for pursuing the lawsuit. The school district appealed the preliminary injunction. 

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded the district court didn’t abuse its discretion in granting the preliminary injunction, didn’t commit an error of law or make clearly erroneous factual findings. 

The 10th Circuit affirmed. 

Bradford, Arkansas Valley Adventures, LLC and Colorado River Outfitters Association v. U.S. Department of Labor 

Duke Bradford, Arkansas Valley Adventure and the Colorado River Outfitters Association appealed the District of Colorado’s order denying their motion to preliminarily enjoin a Department of Labor rule requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a $15 minimum hourly wage. 

The Department of Labor promulgated the rule pursuant to a directive in Executive Order 14,026, which President Joe Biden issued on April 27, 2021. The order imposed the minimum wage requirement on most federal contractors, and it rescinded an exemption for recreational service outfitters that operate pursuant to permits on federal lands, which former President Donald Trump had adopted in EO 13,838. Biden issued EO 14,026 pursuant to his authority under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act. 

Bradford, AVA and CROA argued the district court erred in concluding FPASA authorized the minimum wage rule as applied to recreational service permittees because the government doesn’t procure any services from them or supply anything to them. They also argue the Department of Labor acted arbitrarily and capriciously in promulgating the minimum age rule without exempting recreational service permittees. 

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded Bradford, AVA and CROA haven’t shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits that the Department of Labor’s rule was issued without statutory authority. The 10th Circuit also held the plaintiffs haven’t shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits that the rule is arbitrary and capricious. 

The 10th Circuit affirmed.

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