Shirvinski v. United States Coast Guard, No. 10-2424
Decided Mar. 12, 2012
A subcontractor to a subcontractor to a prime contractor with a federal agency brought a procedural due process claim against that agency and tort actions against a separate contractor for allegedly causing the termination of his at-will consulting agreement. The Fourth Circuit held that the plaintiff overlooked the most obvious defendants in favor of the most peripheral, and rather than pursue ordinary common law remedies, he spun the termination of a private at-will consulting agreement into a case involving conspiracy, treble damages, and constitutional guarantees. Because allowing the claims to go forward would reward artful pleading and impermissibly constitutionalize state tort law, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the defendants.
-Sara I. Salehi