- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 6, 2016

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled that former Prescott Mayor Marlin Kuykendall can be sued by a former Yavapai Humane Society employee who blames her termination on him.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling Tuesday says Kuykendall doesn’t have qualified immunity against former Yavapai Humane Society Marketing Director KayAnne Riley’s lawsuit against Kuykendall and the city.

Riley contends that Kuykendall violated her constitutional right to free speech by contacting Humane Society officials and threatening to end the city’s contract with the Humane Society because of her involvement in an employment protest involving the city.

The city contends there’s no evidence that Kuykendall interfered with Riley’s employment. However, the 9th Circuit’s ruling says Riley’s protected speech was a substantial or motivating factor in Riley losing her job.

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