Is Refusing to Meet with a Citizen Retaliatory?

Interesting First Amendment/retaliation case out of the Second Circuit.  In Tuccio v. Marconi (here) citizen needed to meet with city officials in order to have a development project approved.  Before attending his scheduled meeting, he sued a city police officer - presumably for excessive force, although the opinion simply notes that the case was "unrelated."  After the lawsuit was filed, the city cancelled the meeting, and refused offers for later meetings.  Retaliation?


our constitutional doctrine prohibits government officials from punitive retaliation against persons who exercise their First Amendment right to sue the government. Dougherty v. Town of N. Hempstead Bd. of Zoning Appeals, 282 F.3d 83, 87, 91-92 (2d Cir.2002). It does not follow, however, that government officials are compelled by law to behave with a litigation adversary exactly as they would if the person were not a litigation adversary.  There are many precautions prudently taken with a litigation adversary to avoid possible prejudice to one’s position in the litigation. The mere fact that a government official takes such reasonable precautions, notwithstanding that the official would not have taken them if the counterparty had not been a litigation adversary, does not make such actions unconstitutional retaliation, especially when they cause no harm to the adversary.
Slip op. at 6-7.  If you have business with the city, don't sue the city.  Because you'll lose your business with the city, and you'll probably lose your lawsuit, too.