An appeal filed by a law school instructor against the school alleging that the school discriminated against her due to her political beliefs has been rejected by the federal court. The instructor had lost on one count at trial and the jury failed to reach a verdict on another. She claimed in her appeal that the court made an unreasonable error at the end of the trial, but the appellate court disagreed.

The plaintiff worked as a legal writing instructor at a law school in another state. Besides her job, she was active in conservative politics, working with organizations like the Family Research Council and the National Right to Life Committee. Meanwhile, the plaintiff claimed, the law school chose other candidates for promotion over her several times. The instructor claimed that her qualifications were generally far better than those who received the promotions. She contended that the school would not promote her because her politics differed from those of many school officials.

But following a 2012 trial, the jury found for the law school on a charge of political discrimination. The school had argued that the plaintiff was not competent as a writing instructor and had done poorly on a job interview for the desired position. Jurors deadlocked on a claim of violation of the plaintiff’s equal protection rights. A third count was dismissed during trial.

On appeal, the plaintiff claimed that the judge failed to notify her attorneys before accepting the jury’s verdict on the discrimination charge. This denied the attorneys the chance to poll the jurors to see if they had been pressured to vote against their client due to time constraints.

In a lengthy ruling issued on March 8, those claims were rejected as a basis of appeal. The federal appellate court also granted a defense motion to dismiss the remaining claim.

Source: Des Moines Register, “No new trial for conservative U of I worker,” Jason Clayworth, March 8, 2013

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