Reversing a lower court’s ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit determined a former fire chief and his wife could proceed to trial in their First Amendment lawsuit accusing a county judge executive of interfering with their towing business in retaliation for criticisms lodged on Facebook.

In an April 11 opinion, Sixth Circuit Judge Eric E. Murphy partially affirmed and partially reversed a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, finding plaintiffs Billy and Amanda Lemaster, owners of a towing company, had provided sufficient evidence for a jury to hear their First Amendment violation claims. The appeals court did, however, agree with the lower court that the plaintiffs failed to establish Lawrence County could be held responsible for Judge Executive Phillip L. Carter’s conduct.