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Karlene Kincaid v. River Bluffs Community College : Appeal

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  1. Table of authorities
  2. Statement of jurisdiction
  3. Statement of issues presented
  4. Statement of the case
  5. Statement of the facts
  6. Summary of the argument
  7. Argument
    1. Standard of Review
    2. Introduction
    3. When a speech activity occurs within a classroom setting
    4. Dr. Kincaid's letter to the editor
  8. Conclusion

This appeal is from the order granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division. The District Court had jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331 (2002) because this case arises under the First Amendment of the Constitution and 42 U.S.C. 1983 (2002). This Court has jurisdiction over the present appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1291 (2002) because the appeal is from a final order of the United States District Court. The order granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is considered to be a final order because it disposed of all the parties' claims. Gordon v. City of Kansas City, 241 F.3d 997, 999 (8th Cir. 2001). The order was entered by the District Court on February 14, 2003, and the notice of appeal was filed on February 26, 2003.

[...] Kincaid felt she was terminated in retaliation for exercising her free speech rights by writing the letter and showing the film, she filed her Complaint against River Bluffs Community College. R. 4-5. SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT The District Court made three errors in granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. First, the Court erred by using the Pickering balancing test. The Court should have applied the Hazelwood test when balancing River Bluffs Community College's interests against Dr. Kincaid's interests in showing the film because speech inside the classroom should be treated differently from a teacher's speech in other settings. [...]


[...] Kincaid provided sufficient evidence that showing the movie Boys Don't Cry and writing a letter to the editor were protected speech so that the trier of fact could properly decide whether the protected activities were a substantial and motivating factor in her termination? Mt. Healthy City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle U.S (1977). Stever v. Indep. Sch. Dist. No St. Paul F.2d 845 (8th Cir. 1991). STATEMENT OF THE CASE Dr. Karlene Kincaid filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. 1983 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, in which she alleged that River Bluffs Community College violated her First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights by retaliating against her for exercising her free speech rights. [...]


[...] In the recent decision of de Llano v. Berglund, a professor at a university in Nebraska was terminated for what he believed to be protected speech F.3d (8th Cir. 2002), cert. denied S.Ct De Llano had written several letters to the local newspaper concerning the university. Id. Most of these letters criticized various personnel decisions taken by the department in which he worked. Id. This Court held that statements such as these that deal strictly with personnel matters are generally not protected under the First Amendment. [...]

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