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Teacher's Civil Rights Action Against School, and Endangered Species Act Decision

By FindLaw Staff on April 21, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Rio Grande Silvery Minnow v. Bureau of Reclamation, No. 05-2399, involved an action under the Endangered Species Act concerning whether the Bureau of Reclamation had discretion to reallocate water from agricultural and municipal contract users to maintain stream flows for the benefit of the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow.  The court of appeals dismissed the appeal and remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint, on the ground that the Fish and Wildlife Service's issuance of a new biological opinion mooted plaintiffs' prayer for both injunctive and declaratory relief.

Brammer-Hoelter v. Twin Peaks Charter Academy, No. 08-1325, concerned an action alleging that violated plaintiffs' First Amendment rights while they were employed at defendant school by unlawfully prohibiting them from meeting together to discuss school matters and retaliating against them when they did so.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendants in part, holding that 1) there was no authority suggesting that an employer who expressed a preference regarding employee association thereby imposed an unconstitutional prior restraint; 2) controlling precedent would not have put a reasonable administrator on notice that the speech at each meeting at issue, viewed in the aggregate, was protected by the First Amendment; and 3) the record does not support the conclusion that the school board ratified plaintiffs' supervisor's directives on employee speech.  However, the court reversed in part, holding that there was no support for imposing the requirement that a government employee request clarification or complain to his supervisor before being permitted to file a complaint challenging his employer's speech restrictions.

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