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Case Number: 3:22-cv-00183
Judge: David C. Nye
Court: United States District Court for the District of Idaho (Ada County)
Defendant's Attorney: Katharine B. Brereton and Peter C Erbland
Description: Boise, Idaho civil rights lawyers represented Plaintiffs, who sued Defendants on Civil Rights Act violation theories.
This case present questions of immense import to all Americans. It involves the clash of two groups' constitutional rights. The Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of Religion are enshrined in the Constitution. So too, is the right to Equal Protection and to be free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. Much can be said about the intersection, and overlapping nature, of these rights and the degree to which one right impacts another. An oft-quoted statement-attributed to various Supreme Court Justices and legal scholars-explains that the “right to swing your arms ends just where the other man's nose begins.” Chafee, Freedom of Speech in War Time, 32 Harv. L. Rev. 932, 957 (1919). The Constitution is a shield to protect one's fundamental inalienable rights. It is not a sword to hew down the fundamental inalienable rights of others. For instance, one cannot hide behind their constitutional right to free speech in order to shout “fire” in a crowded church to stop others from exercising their constitutional right to freedom of religion.
Courts at every level have been tackling the difficult interplay between various constitutional rights for decades. And the rate at which Courts are being asked to intervene is ever increasing. The Court is cognizant of the fact that in enforcing or protecting certain rights, other rights may be impinged. That said, this case does not appear to present an overly “close call.” While universities have a duty to protect students who raise concerns about harassment, they also owe a duty to those accused of the conduct-particularly where, as here, the alleged conduct giving rise to the purported harassment is protected speech. It should be noted, that despite the above introduction, this case does not directly involve Jane Doe (the individual who raised concerns) or her constitutional rights. She is not a party to this lawsuit. She makes no claims in this case. Instead, this case involves the Plaintiffs, their constitutional rights, and their claims that the University of Idaho has treated them unfairly in its quest to protect the rights of Jane Doe. Of course, the Court is not so naive as to suggest that Jane Doe's rights have no part to play in this case. They most certainly do. But to point out the obvious once again, she is not a party to this case.
1. Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend/Correct Caption (Dkt. 10) is GRANTED.
2. The Parties' Joint Motion to Treat Amended Verified Complaint as Operative Pleading (Dkt. 18) is GRANTED.
3. Defendants' Motion for Leave to File (Dkt. 20) is GRANTED.
4. Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Dkt. 7) is GRANTED.
Perlot v. Green (D. Idaho 2022)