Smith v. Fruin, et al.

A nonsmoking police detective had complained to his supervisors that smokers at the police headquarters were not complying with Chicago’s Clean Indoor Air Ordinance, which prohibits smoking in areas that are designated as non-smoking.  The detective later sued his superiors, claiming that he had been given a sham surveillance assignment as punishment for complaining about smoking in the workplace.  Defendants moved for summary judgment based on qualified immunity; that motion was denied by a district court judge.  On June 30, 1994. the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, reversed, ruling that the detective’s complaints about workplace smoke were in the nature of personal grievances rather than speech on a matter of public concern and, thus, were not protected under the First Amendment.  Plaintiff appealed; however, on January 9, 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorariSee Rooney, J., “Court Nixes Detective’s Lawsuit Over Smoking,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, July 1, 1994, 6; and Sotos, J., “Police Officer Sees 1st Amendment Claim Go Up in Smoke,” Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, July 7, 1994, 6.

28 F.3d 646, 9 BNA IER Cases 1202, (7th Cir. 1994).