Federal court denies Shawver’s request for immunity

REQUEST DENIED by federal court.

REQUEST DENIED by federal court.

ALRB Regional Director Silas Shawver lost his request for immunity from a lawsuit by a Mexican-American farm worker.

A federal judge denied Shawver’s immunity request in July. (Click here for the judge’s memorandum.)

Shawver asked the US District Court for the Eastern District of California for “quasi-prosecutorial immunity” so that he could be removed as a defendant from a lawsuit alleging he violated the Constitutional rights of Central Valley farm workers.

Gerawan farm worker Silvia Lopez filed suit against the Agricultural Labor Relations Board in February. She accused Shawver specifically of violating her Constitutional rights.

When Shawver tried to persuade the Court that he should be immune from being sued because he had “quasi-prosecutorial immunity,” the Court rejected his request out of hand.

Shawver provided “no supporting documents for this assertion,” Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill stated in his ruling that the case should proceed on First Amendment grounds.

Judge O’Neill stated, “The issue here is whether Shawver may be liable for decisions he made in his capacity to oversee elections, not in his capacity to prosecute ULPs [unfair labor practices]. In this case, “the ALRB’s role in t his context is not fundamentally judicial in nature. Thus, when Shawver blocked the election and dismissed the decertification petitions he was not acting in [a] ‘fundamentally prosecutorial’ manner, and these actions are not eligible for absolute immunity.” (pp. 23-24)

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