Demers v. Austin, No. 11-35558 (9th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, a professor, filed suit alleging that university administrators retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment for distributing a short pamphlet and drafts from an in-progress book. The court held that there was an exception to Garcetti v. Ceballos for teaching and academic writing. Pickering v. Board of Education governed such teaching and writing by publicly employed teachers. The court affirmed the district court's determination that plaintiff prepared and circulated his pamphlet pursuant to official duties; reversed its determination that the pamphlet did not address matters of public concern; concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that the in-progress book triggered retaliation; and held that defendants were entitled to qualified immunity given the uncertain state of the law in the wake of Garcetti. The court remanded for further proceedings.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on January 29, 2014.