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Ex-Jail Worker Who Leaked About Death to Media Loses Speech Suit

May 25, 2021, 5:14 PM

A split Fourth Circuit panel on Tuesday rejected a free speech-based retaliation suit by a jail employee who was fired after he leaked to a local news television station information about an incident in which a combative inmate died while sheriffs tried to restrain him.

Michael Billioni’s right to speak on a matter of public concern didn’t outweigh the interest of York County, South Carolina, Sheriff Bruce Bryant to prevent workplace disruption, the 2-1 opinion by Judge G. Steven Agee said.

The sheriff’s office was already conducting an investigation into the incident when Biloni, who was a master control specialist, ...

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