Filed: August 8, 2011
On August 8, 2011 the ACLU of Arizona, with the firm Martin and Bonnett, filed a federal lawsuit against Prescott, Arizona Mayor Kuykendall and other officials on behalf of KayAnne Riley. KayAnne was fired from her job with the Yavapai County Humane Society (YHS), a City contractor after pressure from Mayor Kuykendall because she had spoken out about past acts of retaliation and bullying by the Mayor and the City. KayAnne was very well qualified for her job as a former war correspondent, with a public relations background and former Marine. The Mayor’s actions in seeking her firing were consistent with his history of retaliatory acts against City employees critical of his administration. In December 2011 a partial settlement was reached with the YHS defendants. In return for a payment to KayAnne Riley, those defendants were dismissed from the case. The court denied the remaining defendants’ motion to dismiss in February 2012. A hearing on cross-motions for summary judgment following discovery took place on February 11, 2014. The court subsequently denied both motions but made important findings about plaintiff’s case stating that there was ample evidence for a jury to conclude that defendants had impermissibly acted against her in retaliation for her protected rights of speech. The defendants’ filed an interlocutory appeal of the decision to deny Mayor Kuykendall qualified immunity, which was denied by the Ninth Circuit on April 5, 2016. Proceedings, including a possible trial, will continue in the district court.