Demers v. Austin
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
729 F.3d 1011 (2013)
Demers (plaintiff) was a tenured professor in the College of Communications at Washington State University (WSU). As part of the communications faculty, Demers served on the college’s Structure Committee, which was considering the issue of whether to divide the College of Communications faculty into two separate departments: Mass Communications and Communications Studies. In addition to working as a professor, Demers also owned and operated Marquette Books, an independent publishing company. Demers published a pamphlet titled “The 7-Step Plan,” in which he advocated for separating the communications faculties, and distributed the pamphlet to administrators at WSU, some of his colleagues, and to local print and broadcast media. Demers signed the pamphlet as the publisher of Marquette Books. Sometime after the pamphlet was distributed, Demers’s annual performance review scores for years 2006, 2007, and 2008 were lowered. Demers filed a lawsuit against WSU administrators (defendants), arguing that his performance scores were lowered in retaliation for his distribution of the pamphlet. The district court granted summary judgment for the administrators, and Demers appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fletcher, J.)
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