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Magee v. Trustees of Hamline University

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 27, 2014

Robin Magee, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
Trustees of the Hamline University, Minnesota; Donald Lewis; David Titus, in his individual capacity; John Does, 1-5, Defendants-Appellees

Submitted February 12, 2014

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

For Robin Magee, Plaintiff - Appellant: Albert Turner Goins Sr., Goins Law Office, Ltd., Minneapolis, MN; Damon Ward, Ward Law Group, Minneapolis, MN.

For Trustees of the Hamline University, Minnesota, Donald Lewis, Defendants - Appellees: Vincent John Ella, Jackson & Lewis, Minneapolis, MN; Sara Gullickson McGrane, Felhaber & Larson, Minneapolis, MN.

For David Titus, in his individual capacity, Defendant - Appellee: Michelle S. Grant, Dorsey & Whitney, Minneapolis, MN.

Before SMITH, BEAM, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 533

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

Robin K. Magee was terminated by the law school of Hamline University. She sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the university, the dean, and the president of the St. Paul Police Federation (SPPF) conspired with the St. Paul Police Department to deny her constitutional right to

Page 534

freedom of speech. The district court[1] dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The district court also denied as futile Magee's motion to add the SPPF as a party. She appeals. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

I.

Hamline is a private university in St. Paul, Minnesota. Magee, a law professor tenured since 1994, taught classes on policing, including police misconduct and race issues in the criminal justice system. On April 17, 2007, she authored a commentary in the St. Paul Pioneer Press criticizing a state judge's decision not to " investigate" allegations of racism in a trial for murder of a St. Paul police officer.

David A. Titus was a St. Paul police officer and president of the SPPF--a private federation representing St. Paul officers. Days after Magee's commentary, he authored an editorial questioning her " fitness to teach" and stating, " I hope Professor Magee confines her race baiting and cop-hating to her newspaper submissions and keeps it out of the classroom." At Titus's urging, Police ...


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