LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — On April 20th, a federal judge ruled that former Lynchburg Fire Captain Marty Misjuns’ actions prompted justifiable termination in March of 2021.

After posting controversial cartoons on his personal Facebook page, Misjuns was fired from the Lynchburg Fire Department.

The cartoons contained content that criticized gender equality policies. Some community members believed the cartoons were transphobic and harmful to members of the LGBTQ+ community. As Misjuns was a prominent public figure in the City, some community members were concerned with his ability to serve every member of the public equally after the posts shared his controversial viewpoints.

After Misjuns’ was no longer employed with the City, he filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination and violation of his First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.

Federal Judge Norman Moon dismissed claims for wrongful termination, violation of equal protection, conspiracy, and municipal liability against the City. However, Judge Moon recognized Misjuns’ claims for violation of his First Amendment rights, and those claims will proceed to the discovery phase of the trial.

“The City made clear that traditional religious beliefs had no place in the City, and that the constitutional rights of City employees are worthless if their political views are not approved by the ruling elites,” said one of Misjuns’ attorneys, J.D. Fairchild. They “look forward to taking this matter all the way to a jury. The free speech and free exercise rights of Lynchburg’s municipal employees will be defended.”

Misjuns’ attorneys share that the dismissed claims of wrongful termination will be appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court.

Misjuns shared, “I’m thankful that Judge Moon recognized that the civil rights of municipal employees don’t end when the employment relationship begins. I look forward to strengthening the protections of government employees through this case and continuing on my commitment to preserve and defend the Constitution of this great land for all, including those I disagree with.”

Claims against the three public officials who were involved in the original complaint were also dismissed by Judge Moon, including, former Mayor Mary Jane Dolan, former City Manager Reid Wodicka, and former Vice Mayor Beau Wright.

WFXR News will continue to follow this case, and update you with information as more information becomes available.