Upholding SJ in favor of Indiana school board regarding prior restraint and First Amendment retaliation claims made by teacher

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RIPPLE, Circuit Judge. 

Gregory Samuelson brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the district court against LaPorte Community School Corporation (“LSC”). His complaint alleged violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and the Indiana Constitution. After discovery, Mr. Samuelson and LSC filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Mr. Samuelson’s response to LSC’s motion abandoned his claims under the Fourteenth Amendment and the Indiana Constitution. The district court granted summary judgment on Mr. Samuelson’s remaining First Amendment claims. Mr. Samuelson timely appealed.

Conclusion (slip op. at 17):  We affirm the judgment of the district court.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 12, 16-17):  LSC’s chain-of-command policy, when fairly read in its totality, does not constitute a prior restraint because it does not restrict any speech protected by the First Amendment . . . The speech addressed by LSC’s chain-of-command policy is speech grounded in the public employee’s professional duties and therefore is not protected by the First Amendment . . . In short, Mr. Samuelson has failed to establish that the instances that he claims are protected expression played a role in the decision of the Board. Consequently, the district court properly granted summary judgment to LSC on Mr. Samuelson’s First Amendment retaliation claims.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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