Other Cases


ACSI et al. v. Stearns et al.

On August 25, 2005, the Association of Christian Schools International, the Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, California, and six students at the school filed a lawsuit against the University of California. The plaintiffs objected to the UC policy of rejecting certain high school biology classes from Christian schools as "inconsistent with the viewpoints and knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community;" they claimed that this policy violated applicants' rights to "freedom of speech, freedom from viewpoint discrimination, freedom of religion and association, freedom from arbitrary discretion, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from hostility toward religion."

On August 8, 2006, Judge S. James Otero dismissed the claims against individual UC officials, but allowed the claims against the university system as a whole to proceed. On March 28, 2008, Judge Otero ruled in favor of UC's motion for partial summary judgment, which established that the university system's admissions policies were constitutional; on August 8 of that year, he further ruled that these policies were properly and constitutionally applied in the case of the applicants in question.

The plaintiffs immediately appealed the case, but in a January 12, 2010, ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the federal district court's summary judgment; the Supreme Court declined to review the case on October 12, 2010, bringing it to a definitive end.

All the legal documentation available to us for this case is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged in chronological order.

Key Documents



Related NCSE Articles


News: University of California system sued over creationism

News: Creationist lawsuit against UC system to proceed?

News: Creationist lawsuit against UC system to proceed

News: Interim victory in California creationism case

News: Victory in California creationism case

News: What's new in ACSI v. Stearns

News: Victory again in California creationism case

News: The end of ACSI v. Stearns

Related Off-Site Material


University of California Newsroom page on ACSI v. Stearns

Nick Matzke, at The Panda's Thumb: ACSI v. Stearns, aka Wendell Bird vs. UC

Mike Dunford, at The Questionable Authority:
AttachmentSize
PDF icon 8/25/05: Original Complaint1.62 MB
PDF icon 8/26/05: Standing Order for case569.27 KB
PDF icon 10/7/05: Stipulation and order106.09 KB
PDF icon 10/20/05: Stipulation and order141.34 KB
PDF icon 11/02/05: Order29.61 KB
PDF icon 12/12/05: UC Motion to Dismiss1.51 MB
PDF icon 12/12/05: UC brief supporting Motion to Dismiss406.15 KB
PDF icon 12/12/05: ACSI Response to UC Motion to Dismiss1.57 MB
PDF icon 3/16/06: Notice of telephone conference between court and counsel18.84 KB
PDF icon 8/8/2006: Court order on Motion to Dismiss986.41 KB
PDF icon 8/25/2006: Stipulation and order for dismissal of defendant130.26 KB
PDF icon 10/27/06: Approval of additional plaintiffs24 KB
PDF icon 1/4/07: Order on substitution of defendant105.88 KB
PDF icon 1/30/07: Notice of Document Discrepancies47.5 KB
PDF icon 2/22/07: Stipulation and order on addition of defendant132.51 KB
PDF icon 3/2/07: Recusal of judge and order to reassign case24.75 KB
PDF icon 4/2/07: Expert Witness Report of Michael Behe in support of ACSI2.57 MB
PDF icon 4/3/07: Civil minutes on ACSI's Motion to Compel73.25 KB
PDF icon 4/26/07: Expert Witness Report of Francisco Ayala for UC1.49 MB
PDF icon 5/7/07: Expert Witness Report of Michael Kirst for UC7.68 MB
PDF icon 5/5/07: Expert Witness Report of Robert Sharf for UC1.13 MB
PDF icon 5/7/07: Expert Witness Report of John Douglass for UC1.42 MB
PDF icon 5/7/07: Expert Witness Report of Gary Nash for UC2.19 MB
PDF icon 5/7/07: Expert Witness Report of Mark Petracca for UC1.69 MB
PDF icon 5/7/07: Expert Witness Report of Donald Kennedy for UC896.35 KB
PDF icon 5/15/07: Expert Witness Report of Samuel Otter for UC1.24 MB
PDF icon 6/15/07: Stipulation and order for summary judgment136.15 KB
PDF icon 8/30/07: Civil minutes on order granting leave to file Brief of Amicus Curiae42.32 KB
PDF icon 9/11/07: Stipulation and order on deadline for Amicus Opposition136.22 KB
PDF icon 9/24/07: UC memorandum in support of Motion for Summary Judgment2.03 MB
PDF icon 3/28/08: Court opinion and ruling granting UC's Motion for Summary Judgment2.86 MB
PDF icon 6/18/08: Affidavit by Michael Behe in support of ACSI1.48 MB
PDF icon 8/8/08: Court opinion and ruling granting UC's Motion for Summary Judgment on ACSI's %22as-applied%22 claims58.3 KB
PDF icon 8/12/08: Notice of appeal136.31 KB
PDF icon 8/12/08: Court order setting time schedule42.3 KB
PDF icon 8/21/08: Court order denying mediation25.3 KB
PDF icon 9/24/08: Notice of appearance of ACSI counsel30.33 KB
PDF icon 1/26/09: ACSI brief of appeal1.72 MB
PDF icon 2/2/09: UC court transcript designation form153.13 KB
PDF icon 2/2/09: Brief of Amicus Curiae for ACSI--ACLJ, Catholic League et al.129.31 KB
PDF icon 2/4/09: Motion for leave to file Brief of Amicus Curiae for ACSI53.38 KB
PDF icon 2/2/09: Motion for leave to file brief of Amicus Curiae for ACSI19.65 KB
PDF icon 2/4/09: Brief of Amicus Curiae for ACSI--National Legal Foundation169.81 KB
PDF icon 2/9/09: UC motion to extend time for filing responsive brief22.46 KB
PDF icon 2/9/09: Court orders on UC brief deadline and motion for leave to file amicus brief for ACSI25.4 KB
PDF icon 2/9/09: Notice of appearance of UC counsel23.27 KB
PDF icon 4/10/09: UC responsive brief248.75 KB
PDF icon 4/20/09: Court order to resubmit Brief of Amici Curiae for UC33.64 KB
PDF icon 4/21/09: Brief of Amici Curiae for UC and motion to file--California Council of Science and Technology172.1 KB
PDF icon 4/20/09: Brief of Amici Curiae for UC--American Historical Association & Organization of American Historians107.52 KB
PDF icon 4/21/09: Brief of Amici Curiae for UC--California State University and University of Nevada Las Vegas123.48 KB
PDF icon 4/21/09: Motion for leave to file Brief of Amicus Curiae for UC109.51 KB
PDF icon 4/21/09: Motion for leave to file Brief of Amici Curiae for UC33.94 KB
PDF icon 4/21/09: Brief of Amicus Curiae for UC--American Association of University Professors332.65 KB
PDF icon 4/20/09: Motion to file Brief of Amici Curiae for UC56.42 KB
PDF icon 5/8/09: ACSI reply brief764.64 KB
PDF icon 1/11/10: Order filing unfiled amicus briefs30.1 KB
PDF icon 3/1/10: Order denying the appellants' petition for rehearing by the court en banc48.68 KB
PDF icon 3/9/10: Mandate and Memorandum409.79 KB
PDF icon 3/17/10: Order48.16 KB

American Freedom Alliance v. California Science Center et al.

This page collects the legal documents from the case American Freedom Alliance v. California Science Center et al.

All the legal documentation available to us for this case is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged in chronological order.

Related NCSE Articles


Lawsuit against science center over creationist film

 

 

Related Off-Site Material

 

 

 

Los Angeles Times: California Science Center is sued for canceling a film promoting intelligent design

 

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 10/14/09: Declaration of James L. Zelanay, Jr. in Support of the CSC Foundation's Opposition to the Emergency Relief Request by the AFA358.7 KB
PDF icon 10/14/09: Declaration of Christina M Sion in Support of the CSC Foundation's Opposition to the Emergency Relief Request by the AFA512.77 KB
PDF icon 10/14/09: Defendent CSC Foundation's Opposition to Plaintiff AFA's Request for Emergency Relief and Temporary Restraining Order459.51 KB
PDF icon 10/14/09: Original Complaint1.08 MB
PDF icon 10/14/09: Declaration of Jeffrey N. Rudolph in Support of the CSC Foundation's Opposition to the Emergency Relief Request by the AFA310.08 KB
PDF icon 10/14/09: Application and Order to Show Cause and Temporary Restraining Order: Memorandum of Points and Authorities: Declaration of William J. Becker, Jr.: Declaration of Adrien Davis: Ex2.14 MB
PDF icon 11/19/09: First Amended Complaint255.45 KB
PDF icon 12/21/09: Joint Stipulation and Order Providing Defendants until January 19, 2010, to Respond to First Amended Complaint150.92 KB
PDF icon 1/19/10: Defendants' notice of demurrer and demurrer to Plaintiff's first amended complaint102.49 KB
PDF icon 1/19/10: Defendants' memorandum of points and authorities in support of their demurrer to Plaintiff's first amended complaint624.49 KB
PDF icon 1/19/10: Defendants' notice of demurrer and demurrer to portions of first amended complaint: memorandum of points and authorities in support thereof428.49 KB
PDF icon 1/26/10: Minute order1.39 MB
PDF icon 2/1/10: Certificate of service of commission for a Washington state subpoena for production of documents and things1.51 MB
PDF icon 3/1/10: Minute order1.46 MB
PDF icon 4/7/10: Notice of ruling regarding joint ex parte application to continue1.45 MB
PDF icon 4/19/10: Motion for order granting leave to file second amended complaint1.55 MB
PDF icon 4/28/10: Request for judicial notice re: Plaintiff's opposition to demurrer of defendants CSC Foundation and Jeffrey Rudolph on its behalf317.4 KB
PDF icon 4/28/10: Request for judicial notice re: Plaintiff's opposition to demurrer of defendants CSC and Jeffrey Rudolph on its behalf315.76 KB
PDF icon 4/28/10: Opposition to demurrer of CSC and Jeffrey Rudolph1.56 MB
PDF icon 4/28/10: Opposition to demurrer of CSC Foundation and Jeffrey Rudolph1.49 MB
PDF icon 4/29/10: Defendants' opposition to plaintiffs' motion for order granting leave to file second amended complaint994.64 KB
PDF icon 4/29/10: Declaration of Allan S. Ono in support of CSC's and Jeffrey Rudolph's opposition to motion for leave to file second amended complaint535.53 KB
PDF icon 4/29/10: Defendants' opposition to motion for leave to file second amended complaint441.39 KB
PDF icon 5/5/10: Plaintiff's reply to opposition of defendants CSC Foundation and Jeffrey Rudolph to plaintiff's motion for order granting leave to file second amended complaint296.12 KB
PDF icon 5/5/10: Plaintiff's reply to opposition of defendants CSC and Jeffrey Rudolph to plaintiff's motion for order granting leave to file second amended complaint461.51 KB
PDF icon 5/5/10: Defendants' reply in support of its demurrers434.55 KB
PDF icon 5/5/10: Defendants' opposition to plaintiff's request for judicial notice re: Plaintiff's opposition to demurrer120.81 KB
PDF icon 5/5/10: CSC's and Jeffrey Rudolph's reply brief in support of their demurrer to portions of first amended complaint404.79 KB
PDF icon 5/6/10: Joint statement regarding discovery dispute relating to CSC Foundation's motion to compel further production of documents from Plaintiff725.74 KB
PDF icon 5/6/10: Defendant CSC Foundation's appendix of non-California authorities in support of its motion to compel further production of documents from Plaintiff2.42 MB
PDF icon 5/6/10: Defendant CSC Foundation's notice of motion and motion to compel further production of documents from Plaintiff394.32 KB
PDF icon 5/6/10: Declaration of James L. Zelenay Jr. in support of Defendants' motion to compel further production of documents from Plaintiff1.31 MB
PDF icon 5/12/10: Minute order20.5 KB
PDF icon 7/19/10: Minute Order34.82 KB
PDF icon 8/5/10: Minute Order17.59 KB
PDF icon 8/18/10: Third Amended Complaint1010.28 KB
PDF icon 9/16/10: Defendants' Demurrer to Third Amended Complaint114.62 KB
PDF icon 9/21/10: Discovery Institute opposes Motion to Compel133.64 KB
PDF icon 9/21/10: Discovery Institute asserts Attorney-Client Privilege58.06 KB
PDF icon 9/27/10: Plaintiff's Opposition to Demurrers to Third Amended Complaint397.91 KB
PDF icon 10/1/10: Defendant's Reply in Support of Their Demurrers to Third Amended Complaint202.95 KB
PDF icon 10/8/10: Minute Order Sustaining Defendant's Demurrer39.96 KB
PDF icon 11/8/10: CSCF & Jeffrey Rudolph Answer Third Amended Complaint119.49 KB
PDF icon 11/8/10: CSC & Jeffrey Rudolph Answer Third Amended Complaint118.14 KB
PDF icon 11/8/10: Cross-Complaint of Defendant CSCF292.31 KB
PDF icon 12/3/10: Amended Cross Complaint by Defendant CSCF286.65 KB
PDF icon 12/13/10: Joint Motion regarding Video Depositions106.48 KB
PDF icon 12/21/10: Proposed Order re Video Depositions160.72 KB
PDF icon 1/31/11: AFA's Memorandum in Support of Demurrer to CSC's Cross Complaint552.23 KB
PDF icon 1/31/11: AFA Demurrer to CSC's Cross Complaint103.75 KB
PDF icon 1/31/11: CSC's Request for Judicial Notice in Support of Demurrer to AFA's Third Amended Complaint100.65 KB
PDF icon 1/31/11: AFA's Request for Judicial Notice in Support of Demurrer to CSC's Cross Complaint153.98 KB
PDF icon 2/8/11: CSC's Opposition to AFA's Demurrer289.18 KB
PDF icon 2/14/11: AFA Reply to Opposition to Demurrer to Cross Complaint340.71 KB
PDF icon 2/14/11: AFA Reply RE: Demurrer to Cross Complaint855.83 KB
PDF icon 2/23/11: AFA's Demurrer to Cross Complaint Overruled18.08 KB
PDF icon 3/1/11: Ruling on Cross-Defendant's Demurrers87.25 KB
PDF icon 3/15/11: Jeffrey Rudolph's Declaration Supporting Summary Adjudication on AFA Claims99.65 KB
PDF icon 3/15/11: Cynthia Pygin's Declaration Supporting Summary Adjudication on AFA Claims53.75 KB
PDF icon 3/15/11: CSC Memo Supporting Summary Adjudicaiton on AFA Claims761.66 KB
PDF icon 3/15/11: CSC Motion for Summary Adjudication on AFA Claims70.87 KB
PDF icon 3/15/11: Defense Statement Supporting Summary Adjudicaiton on AFA Claims506.57 KB
PDF icon 3/17/11: CSCF Separate Statement Supporting Summary Judgment265.1 KB
PDF icon 3/18/11: CSC Separate Statement Supportiing Summary Judgment866.64 KB
PDF icon 3/23/11: AFA's Answer to Amended Cross Complaint39.72 KB
PDF icon 3/25/11: CSC Motion for Summary Judgment82.42 KB
PDF icon 3/25/11: CSC Statement in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment880.55 KB
PDF icon 3/25/11: CSC Memorandum of Points & Authorities in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment857.72 KB
PDF icon 5/26/11: AFA's Response to CSC's Claims regarding the U.S. & California Constitutions1.92 MB
PDF icon 5/26/11: AFA's Response to CSC's Statements re: Breach of Contract by AFA779.11 KB
PDF icon 5/26/11: AFA's Response to CSC's Statement Claiming that the Cancellation was Justified1.59 MB
PDF icon 5/26/11: AFA Submits Books & DVD to the Court58.62 KB
PDF icon 6/3/11: CSC's Request for Judicial Notice Supporting a Summary Judgment or Adjudication34.33 KB
PDF icon 6/3/11: CSC's Response to AFA Objections to Evidence34.32 KB
PDF icon 6/3/11: CSC's Response to AFA's Opposition to CSC's Statements37.68 KB
PDF icon 6/3/11: CSC's Objections to Various AFA Documents88 KB
PDF icon 6/3/11: CSC's Support for Summary Judgment or Adjudication46.02 KB
PDF icon 6/20/11: Court orders a Settlement Conference775.2 KB
PDF icon 7/20/11: Adjudication continued to 8 August1.6 MB
PDF icon 8/3/11: Case dismissed. Court will enforce settlement.960.62 KB
PDF icon 8/24/11: Request for Dismissal708.75 KB

C. F. v. Capistrano USD

In December of 2007, the Farnan family sued the Capistrano Unified School District (Orange County, California), as well as one of its history teachers, James Corbett. The Farnan family charged that various remarks Corbett had made were an "exhibition of hostility toward religion and endorsement of irreligion in a public school classroom," thereby violating the First Amendment rights of their son, Chad ["C.F."], one of Corbett's students. Among the statements attributed to Corbett were, 'Conservatives don't want women to avoid pregnancies — that's interfering with God's work' and 'When you pray for divine intervention, you're hoping that the spaghetti monster will help you get what you want.'"

On May 1, 2009, District Judge James Selna identified only one of Corbett's statements as constitutionally impermissible: namely, his description of creationism as "superstitious nonsense." On July 13, 2009, in a "tentative ruling," Selna denied the Farnans' request for a declaratory judgment or injunction against Corbett or the school district. The case remains open, as questions of nominal damages and attorneys' fees have yet to be determined.

On February 11, 2011, the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals listened to arguments from both sides whether: 1) the district court erred in finding that one of Corbett's statements violated the "Establishment Clause" of the Constitution; and 2) whether the court erred in granting Corbett and the district 'qualified immunity' from damages. The proceedings are available as an audio recording.

On August 19, 2011, Judge Fisher of the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Dr. Corbett is indeed entitled to qualified immunity. In so doing, he vacated the lower court's finding against Corbett and the school district. Also, he declined to rule on the constitutionality of the teacher's statements because the issue was resolved "on [the] basis [of qualified immunity] alone".

The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court which declined to hear the case. [Writ of Certiorari denied 21 February 2012.]

Key legal documents for this case are provided at the bottom of this page. They are arranged in chronological order.

 


 

Related NCSE Articles


News: Verdict against critic of creationism
 

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 12/11/2007: Plaintiff's Original Complaint1.03 MB
PDF icon 1/15/08: Plaintiff's amended complaint42.81 KB
PDF icon 3/19/08: Intervention by teachers' union for defendants357.53 KB
PDF icon 3/19/08: Defendants' answer to amended complaint226.35 KB
PDF icon 5/1/09: Court Ruling and Opinion92.91 KB
PDF icon 5/22/09: Union intervenors' addendum to joint proposal98.85 KB
PDF icon 5/22/09: Joint proposal by plaintiffs and defendants for disposition of remaining issues778.23 KB
PDF icon 6/1/09: Civil minutes7.82 KB
PDF icon 6/8/09: Defendants' motion for leave to file amended answer1.29 MB
PDF icon 6/8/09: Plaintiffs' supplemental briefing1.32 MB
PDF icon 6/8/09: Defendants' motion for determination of qualified immunity794.81 KB
PDF icon 6/15/09: Union intervenors' opposition to plaintiffs' supplemental briefing479.58 KB
PDF icon 6/15/09: Plaintiffs' opposition to defendants' motion for leave to file95.66 KB
PDF icon 6/15/09: Plaintiffs' opposition to defendants' motion for determination89.39 KB
PDF icon 6/15/09: Defendants' opposition to plaintiffs' supplementary briefing923.29 KB
PDF icon 6/22/09: Plaintiffs' reply to union intervenors' opposition to plaintiffs' supplemental briefing517.21 KB
PDF icon 6/22/09: Plaintiffs' reply to defendants' opposition to plaintiffs' supplemental briefing859.87 KB
PDF icon 6/22/09: Defendants' reply to plaintiffs' opposition to defendants' motion for determination617.98 KB
PDF icon 6/22/09: Defendants' reply to plaintiffs' opposition to defendants' motion for leave to file437.05 KB
PDF icon 7/13/09: Court ruling denying plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief or declaratory judgment, also denying defendants' motion for leave to file amended answer and qualified immunity59.65 KB
PDF icon 7/24/09: Defendants' new motion to amend scheduling of conference and to amend answer to complaint1.32 MB
PDF icon 7/24/09: Defendants' motion for hearing on qualified immunity962.41 KB
PDF icon 7/27/09: Court order denying Defendants' motions to file amended answer and to qualified immunity determination, denying plaintiff's request for injunctive and declaratory relief, deferring cons62.11 KB
PDF icon 7/30/09: CTA joinder in defendants' motion for hearing on qualified immunity70.39 KB
PDF icon 8/17/09: Plaintiff's opposition to motion for hearing on qualified immunity734.79 KB
PDF icon 8/17/09: Plaintiffs' opposition to motion to amend scheduling of conference and answer to complaint1.05 MB
PDF icon 8/18/09: Court order for statements on question of qualified immunity to be submitted by August 209.2 KB
PDF icon 8/20/09: Defendants' supplementary brief of the effect of union's pleading qualified immunity222.41 KB
PDF icon 8/20/09: Union's supplementary brief of the effect of union's pleading qualified immunity173.62 KB
PDF icon 9/15/09: Order on Motion for Determination RE Qualified Immunity1.34 MB
PDF icon 9/24/09: Judgment1.16 MB
PDF icon 10/06/10: Plaintiff's Opening Brief to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals285.17 KB
PDF icon 6/17/10: Nat'l Legal Foundation's Amicus Brief supporting the Plaintiff238.55 KB
PDF icon 7/26/10: CTA's 2nd Brief & Response to Plaintiff's 1st Brief3.04 MB
PDF icon 8/25/10: Plaintiff's 3rd Brief & Response to Defendant's 2nd Brief196.71 KB
PDF icon 9/27/10: Defendant's Reply Brief171.41 KB
PDF icon 9/27/10: CTA's Reply to Plaintiff's 3rd Brief903.29 KB
PDF icon 10/26/10: Plaintiff's Docketing Statement to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals147.73 KB
PDF icon 10/26/10: Defendant's Cross Appeal Docketing Statement to 9th Circuit381.95 KB
PDF icon 8/19/11: Court Affirms Corbett Entitled to Qualified Immunity736.5 KB
PDF icon 2/21/12: Supreme Court denies Plaintiff's Writ of Certiorari57 KB

C. Martin Gaskell v. University of Kentucky

On July 10, 2009, C. Martin Gaskell filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court in Kentucky against the University of Kentucky, alleging that he was turned down for the position of Director of the MacAdam Student Observatory on the basis of his religious beliefs and his expression of those beliefs.

On November 23, 2010, the court denied the defendant's and the plaintiff's requests for summary judgment, which sets the stage for a jury trial.

On January 18, 2011, the parties reached a settlement in which Gaskell received $125,000. The University did not admit any wrongdoing.

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 7/10/09: Original Complaint93.04 KB
PDF icon 8/28/09: Defendant's Answer to Complaint15.55 KB
PDF icon 1/13/10: Deposition of C. Martin Gaskell3.02 MB
PDF icon 3/12/10: Deposition of Tom Troland - 14.7 MB
PDF icon 3/12/10: Deposition of Tom Troland - 22.45 MB
PDF icon 3/12/10: Deposition of Tom Troland - 38.2 MB
PDF icon 3/12/10: Deposition of Tom Troland - 44.43 MB
PDF icon 3/23/10: Deposition of Michael Kovash1.52 MB
PDF icon 3/23/10: Deposition of Gary Ferland538.42 KB
PDF icon 3/24/10: Deposition of Sheldon Steiner213.5 KB
PDF icon 3/24/10: Deposition of Jeffrey Osborn265.56 KB
PDF icon 3/24/10: Deposition of James Krupa194.15 KB
PDF icon 3/31/10: Deposition of Michael Cavagnero7.81 MB
PDF icon 3/31/10: Deposition of Keith MacAdam163.3 KB
PDF icon 4/9/10: Deposition of Sally Shafer1.66 MB
PDF icon 4/9/10: Deposition of Patty Bender1.87 MB
PDF icon 4/12/10: Deposition of Moshe Elitzur113.2 KB
PDF icon 5/5/10: Deposition of Steve Ellis - 1246.2 KB
PDF icon 5/5/10: Deposition of Steve Ellis - 21.7 MB
PDF icon 5/12/10: Deposition 2 of James Krupa229.07 KB
PDF icon 5/12/10: Deposition of Isaac Shlosman310.27 KB
PDF icon 5/21/10: Deposition of Steve Hoch444.4 KB
PDF icon 6/9/10: Deposition of University administrator J. P.370.9 KB
PDF icon 9/28/10: Memorandum Supporting Summary Judgment for Plaintiff297.27 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 31 - Notice of Right to Sue455.43 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh. 2 - Job Posting791.83 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 23 - Troland Email 10/16/07574.64 KB
PDF icon 9/28/10: Plaintiff Motion for Summary Judgment132.04 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 3 - Cavagnero Email 8/20/07945.65 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Memorandum in Support of Defendant Motion211.66 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Order Proposed by Defendant17.9 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 4 - Gaskell Application331.31 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 5 - Gaskell CV794.1 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defendant Motion for Summary Judgment29.34 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 30 Cavagnero Email 10/21/071.82 MB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 29 - Troland Email 10/19/07520.22 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 27 - Troland Email 10/23/07708.28 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 22 - Cavagnero Email 10/11/07370.95 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 26 - Candidate Qualifications Chart1.36 MB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 18 - Cavagnero Email 10/4/071.6 MB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 25 - Troland Email 9/24/07637.69 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 15 - Cavanero Email 10/1/07844.29 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 17 - Hoch-Cavagnero Email 10/1/07521.29 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 35 - Cavagnero Email 10/17/071.76 MB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 12 - Gaskell Lecture Notes848.96 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 14 - Cavagnero Email 9/21/07348.29 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 10 - Kirby Email 5/25/06405.36 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 11 - Cavagnero-Troland Email 9/19/07422.75 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 9 - Cavagnero-Gaskell Email 8/21/07389.4 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 8 - Cavagnero Email 8/20/07295.45 KB
PDF icon 9/29/10: Defense Exh 7 - Cavagnero-Troland Email 9/5/07555.71 KB
PDF icon 10/15/10: Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion4.93 MB
PDF icon 10/19/10: Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Motion2.16 MB
PDF icon 10/29/10: Defendant's Reply to Plaintiff's Response37.58 KB
PDF icon 11/1/10: Plaintiff's Reply to Defendant's Response1.22 MB
PDF icon 11/23/10: Court Denies All Motions for Judgment218.33 KB
PDF icon 12/16/10: Plaintiff's Exhibit List81.5 KB
PDF icon 12/16/10: Plaintiff's Pretrial Memorandum98.69 KB
PDF icon 12/16/10: Plaintiff's Motion In Limine156.09 KB
PDF icon 12/16/10: Defense Pretrial Memorandum and lists of Witnesses & Exhibits97.29 KB
PDF icon 12/16/10: Plaintiff's Witness List85.34 KB
PDF icon 12/16/10: Plaintiff's Amended Witness List83.18 KB
PDF icon 12/22/10: Defense's Answers to Interrogatories1.94 MB
PDF icon 12/22/10: Defense Motion in Limine re Several Parties30.55 KB
PDF icon 12/22/10: Defense Response to Plaintiff's Requests1.6 MB
PDF icon 12/22/10: Defense Response to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine25.15 KB
PDF icon 12/22/10: Plaintiff Response to Defense Filings96.25 KB
PDF icon 12/22/10: Defense Motion in Limine re Michael Kovash24.14 KB
PDF icon 12/28/10: Case referred to Judge Robert Wier136.26 KB
PDF icon 1/5/11: Plaintiff's Proposed Jury Instructions99.46 KB
PDF icon 1/6/11: ACLJ Letter added to Exhibits40.8 KB
PDF icon 1/6/11: Defense's Proposed Jury Instructions68.41 KB
PDF icon 1/6/11: Order on Motion In Limine47.37 KB
PDF icon 1/12/11: Order to Exclude Job Search Information139.64 KB
PDF icon 1/18/11: Joint Motion to Dismiss19.9 KB
PDF icon 1/18/11: Order Referring Case to Mediation135.34 KB
PDF icon 1/18/11: Release and Settlement Agreement1.17 MB

Caldwell v. Caldwell et al.

On October 13, 2005, Jeanne Caldwell filed suit against two professors of the University of California at Berkeley, Roy Caldwell and David Lindberg, and against Michael Piburn, Program Director for the National Science Foundation. Drs. Caldwell and Lindberg are the principal designers and overseers of the University of California website Understanding Evolution, a collaborative project between the UC Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education. The site initially received partial funding by an NSF grant.

Jeanne Caldwell objected to statements on the website which point out the compatibility of evolution and religion, arguing that they conflicted with her religious beliefs and constituted government endorsement of a religious position, thus violating the Establishment Clause. She was represented by the Pacific Justice Institute and by her husband Larry, who had himself filed two suits concerned with teaching evolution earlier in the year.

On March 20, 2006, US District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton dismissed Ms. Caldwell's suit, ruling that she lacked taxpayer standing and had not asserted a concrete injury as a result of viewing the "Understanding Evolution" website. Ms. Caldwell appealed, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court's decision on October 3, 2008. Finally, the US Supreme Court declined without comment to review the case on March 23, 2009.

All the legal documentation available to us for this case is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged in chronological order.


Related NCSE Articles


News: Understanding Evolution lawsuit dismissed

News: Appeal of Understanding Evolution lawsuit dismissed

News: Understanding Evolution lawsuit over

Related Off-Site Material


Timothy Sandefur, at The Panda's Thumb: Caldwell Asks Supreme Court to Take Frivolous Website Case

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 10/13/05: Original Complaint2.76 MB
PDF icon 12/19/05: Defendants' memorandum supporting motion to strike145.23 KB
PDF icon 12/19/05: Defendants' memorandum in support of motion to dismiss1.39 MB
PDF icon 12/19/05: Defendants' request for judicial notice of motion to dismiss75.21 KB
PDF icon 12/19/05: Defendants' Motion to Dismiss74 KB
PDF icon 12/19/05: Defendants' notice of motion to strike69.2 KB
PDF icon 12/19/05: Defendants' proposed order granting motion to strike68.27 KB
PDF icon 1/5/06: Court orders on continuation of hearing on motion to dismiss728.51 KB
PDF icon 1/18/06: Plaintiffs' opposition to motion to strike110.42 KB
PDF icon 1/18/06: Plaintiffs' objection to request for judicial notice90.97 KB
PDF icon 1/18/06: Plaintiffs' opposition to motion to dismiss272.21 KB
PDF icon 1/25/06: Defendants' reply memorandum supporting judicial notice140.66 KB
PDF icon 1/25/06: Defendants' reply memorandum supporting motion to strike106.88 KB
PDF icon 1/25/06: Defendants' reply memorandum supporting motion to dismiss966.77 KB
PDF icon 2/8/06: Declaration of David Campbell, for defendants6.17 MB
PDF icon 2/8/06: Court order on footnotes11.03 KB
PDF icon 2/10/06: Defendants' request for judicial notice of motion ot dismiss1.81 MB
PDF icon 2/10/06: Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of standing156.08 KB
PDF icon 3/13/06: Court order granting motions to strike and dismiss57.56 KB
PDF icon 3/14/06: Plaintiff's motion for clarification of previous order93.13 KB
PDF icon 3/14/06: Court clarification of previous order69.24 KB
PDF icon 3/17/06: Defendants' opposition to motion for clarification132.33 KB
PDF icon 3/20/06: Court order granting motion to dismiss (and dismissing entire case)40.06 KB
PDF icon 3/20/06: Court clarification of previous order21.91 KB
PDF icon 3/21/06: Judgment16.28 KB
PDF icon 4/7/06: Plaintiff's statement of issues34.93 KB
PDF icon 4/7/06: Plaintiff's notice of appeal57.99 KB
PDF icon 4/15/06: Defendants' reply supporting motion to dismiss51.38 KB
PDF icon 9/18/08: Appeals court order denying defendants' request for judicial notice30.55 KB
PDF icon 10/03/08: Appeals court ruling affirming that of district court43.87 KB

Caldwell v. Roseville Joint Union High School District et al.

In July of 2003, a policy requiring teachers to discuss the "scientific strengths and weaknesses" of evolution was proposed to the school board of the Roseville Joint Union High School District, by a parent named Larry Caldwell. The district's science teachers, administration, and finally the school board all rejected this policy, as well as antievolution supplemental teaching materials provided by Caldwell and others.

In January of 2005, Caldwell sued the district and certain of its administrators, claiming that he was unconstitutionally obstructed from promoting and discussing his educational policies, leading to the violation of his freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and equal protection rights. Caldwell eventually amended his complaint four times, twice at the bidding of the court.

District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. ultimately dismissed all of Caldwell's complaints, in two rulings issued on October 25, 2005 and September 7, 2007.

In the spring of 2005, NCSE's executive director Eugenie Scott wrote an article on creationist activity in California for the magazine California Wild. This article touched on Caldwell and the Roseville case, and Caldwell subsequently sued Dr. Scott and the NCSE for libel. However, he later withdrew this lawsuit without comment.

All the legal documentation available to us for Caldwell v. Roseville JUHSD et al. is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged in chronological order.


Related NCSE Articles


News: School Board Won't Require Teaching "Arguments Against Evolution"

News: Roseville Teachers Reject Antievolutionist Materials

News: NCSE Sued by Caldwell

News: California Wild Re-Posts "In My Backyard"

News: Over in Roseville

Comer v. Scott and Texas Education Agency

All the legal documentation available to us for the case of Christina Castillo Comer v. Robert Scott, in his official capacity as commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Education Agency is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged in chronological order.

The ruling dismissing the case can be downloaded here.

Audio of the oral argument from the appeal can be downloaded here (WMA file)



Related NCSE Articles


Multimedia: Chris Comer: Expelled for Real

News: Barbara Forrest on Chris Comer's forced resignation

News: The latest on the Comer controversy

News: Science Supervisor Chris Comer Sues Texas Education Agency

News: Comer case dismissed

News: Chris Comer appeals

News: Comer appeal heard

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 6/30/08: Original Complaint3.01 MB
PDF icon 8/11/08: Defendants' original answer867.28 KB
PDF icon 8/11/08: Defendants' motion to dismiss3.84 MB
PDF icon 9/18/08: Memorandum of points and authorities in support of Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and in opposition to Defendant's motion to dismiss3.41 MB
PDF icon 10/17/08: Defendants' opposition, with brief, to Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment1006.51 KB
PDF icon 10/17/08: Plaintiff's opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment175.01 KB
PDF icon 11/14/08: Defendant's reply in support of summary judgment697.12 KB
PDF icon 11/14/08: Plaintiff's reply in support of motion for summary judgment798.4 KB
PDF icon 12/24/08: Plaintiff's motion for leave to supplement Plaintiff's statement of material undisputed facts140.5 KB
PDF icon 12/24/08: Plaintiff's supplement to statement of undisputed material facts63.3 KB
PDF icon 1/5/09: Amended Rule CV-7(h) conference certification42.84 KB
PDF icon 2/17/09: Defendant's unopposed request for the Court to take judicial notice of proposed rules3.9 MB
PDF icon 2/18/09: Order granting Defendant's request for judicial notice of proposed rules25.28 KB
PDF icon 2/19/09: Plaintiff's response to Defendant's unopposed request to take judicial notice of proposed rules78.14 KB
PDF icon 2/27/09: Defendant's advisory to the Court of new authority1.25 MB
PDF icon 3/3/09: Plaintiff's response to Defendant's advisory to the Court of new authority72.86 KB
PDF icon 3/31/09: Memorandum, opinion, and order on motion to dismiss and motions for summary judgment798.5 KB
PDF icon 4/30/09: Notice of Appeal49.52 KB
PDF icon 8/6/09: Appellant's (Plaintiff's) Record Excerpts1.2 MB
PDF icon 8/6/09: Brief of Appellant (Plaintiff)208.9 KB
PDF icon 10/15/09: Brief of Appellees1.09 MB
PDF icon 11/13/09: Appellant's reply brief59.85 KB
File 04/26/10: Oral Arguments (WMA)19.79 MB
PDF icon 7/2/10: Opinion263.46 KB

Coppedge v. JPL

In April 2010, David Coppedge sued his employer, Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). In March 2011, the suit was amended to include wrongful termination as he was laid off in January of 2011.

In his complaint, Coppedge describes his activities that he claims were at the center of his problems with JPL:

  • discussed Intelligent Design with co-workers
  • requested the annual Holiday Party be renamed, “Christmas Party”
  • discussed Proposition 8 with co-workers (California constitutional amendment to define marriage to include only heterosexual partners)
  • distributed DVDs promoting Intelligent Design to co-workers [“Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “The Privileged Planet”]

His view is that, although these activities caused no problems and are protected by law, JPL's responses amounted to religious discrimination, harassment, wrongful demotion, and retaliation ultimately resulting in his termination. In January 2013, the judge presiding over the case found for the defendant, ruling that Coppedge failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Caltech (which operates JPL for NASA) engaged in religious discrimination against, retaliated against, failed to prevent discrimination against, wrongfully demoted, or wrongfully terminated Coppedge.

Unrelated to this case are items of interest regarding David Coppedge. Reporting on the case before it went to trial, the Pasadena Star-News (November 30, 2011) described Coppedge as "[a] well-known figure among proponents of 'intelligent design'" and noted that he operates the Creation-Evolution Headlines website, although the newspaper overlooked the fact that he is also on the board of Illustra Media, which produces "intelligent design" films such as Unlocking the Mystery of Life, The Privileged Planet, and Darwin's Dilemma. His father, James F. Coppedge, Ph.D. (Theology) wrote an anti-evolution book, Evolution: Possible or Impossible?, and headed a Christian outreach ministry in Southern California.

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 4/14/10: Complaint211.27 KB
PDF icon 4/15/10: Plaintiff Requests a Different Judge41.81 KB
PDF icon 6/7/10: First Amended Complaint1.16 MB
PDF icon 6/30/10: Plaintiff's Objection to the Deposing of Coppedge by the Defendant50.79 KB
PDF icon 7/23/10: Defendant's Answer to First Amended Complaint207.25 KB
PDF icon 3/11/11: Second Amended Complaint1.72 MB
PDF icon 5/2/11: Defendant's Answer to Second Amended Complaint194.43 KB
PDF icon 5/12/11: Request to Dismiss Charges against Clark Burgess, Kevin Klenk, & Gregory Chin75.28 KB
PDF icon 6/3/11: Court Denies Continuance of Trial Date43.53 KB
PDF icon 6/3/11: JPL's Opposition to Continue Trial Date36.67 KB
PDF icon 6/29/11: Court schedules a Settlement Conference667.82 KB
PDF icon 7/1/11: JPL's Statement of Facts Supporting Summary Judgment1.11 MB
PDF icon 7/1/11: JPL's Memorandum of Points & Authorities supporting Summary Judgment1.23 MB
PDF icon 7/1/11: JPL's Motion for Summary Judgment549.31 KB
PDF icon 7/28/11: Coppedge requests dismissal of complaint against individuals1.11 MB
PDF icon 9/2/11: Plaintiff's Objection to Motion for Judgment209.44 KB
PDF icon 9/2/11: Declaration of Lawrence P. Ball975.14 KB
PDF icon 9/2/11: Plaintiff's Objections to JPL's Separate Statement of Facts1.44 MB
PDF icon 9/2/11: Plaintiff's Statement of Additional Disputed Facts1.54 MB
PDF icon 9/2/11: Plaintiff's Objections to Evidence1.34 MB
PDF icon 9/16/11: Trial Date continued to 14 December 20111000.87 KB
PDF icon 10/11/11: Plaintiff's Supplemental Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment952.81 KB
PDF icon 10/18/11: Supplemental Reply in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment1.4 MB
PDF icon 10/18/11: Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Opposition to Summary Judgment1.15 MB
PDF icon 11/18/11: Court Rules for Trial1.39 MB
PDF icon 11/30/11: Defendant's Order in Limine to Exclude Use of Viewpoint Discrimination1.15 MB
PDF icon 11/30/11: Defendant's Order in Limine to Exclude or Limit Testimony of David DeWolf721.84 KB
PDF icon 11/30/11: Defendant's Order in Limine to Exclude Plaintiff's Opinions of Legal Issues205.18 KB
PDF icon 11/30/11: Defendant's Order In Limine to Exclude Contention that Research On Origin of Life was a Factor in Plaintiff's Activities611.3 KB
PDF icon 11/30/11: Defendant's Order in Limine to Exclude Contents of DVD1.59 MB
PDF icon 11/30/11: Defendant's Order in Limine to Exclude Privileged Consultation between Defendant and Counsel1.33 MB
PDF icon 11/30/11: Defendant's Order in Limine to Exclude Plaintiff's Opinion of His Job Performance269.57 KB
PDF icon 12/1/11: Plaintiff's Proposed Jury Instructions No. 2: Good Cause to Terminate33.66 KB
PDF icon 12/1/11: Declaration of William Becker, Jr.2.7 MB
PDF icon 12/1/11: Plaiintiff's Proposed Jury Voir Dire Questions124.66 KB
PDF icon 12/1/11: Defendant's Order in Limine to Permit use of DVD Content278.95 KB
PDF icon 12/1/11: Plaintiff's Proposed Jury Instruction No. 3: Factors Constituting Adverse Employment Action43.78 KB
PDF icon 12/1/11: Plaintiff's Amended Proposed Jury Instructions96.12 KB
PDF icon 12/1/11: Plaintiff's Proposed Jury Instruction No. 4: Types of Evidence Bearing upon Liability for Retaliation33.55 KB
PDF icon 12/1/11: Plaintiff's Proposed Jury Instruction No. 1: Liability for Descrimination Based upon Perception of Religious Belief39.27 KB
PDF icon 12/2/11: Plaintiff's Amended Proposed Jury Instruction No. 1: Liability for Discrimination Based upon Perception of Religious Belief43.05 KB
PDF icon 12/2/11: Plaintiff's Proposed Jury Instructions96.11 KB
PDF icon 12/2/11: Plaintiff's Proposed Short Statement for the Jury39.43 KB
PDF icon 12/2/11: Joint Stipulation of Trial Rules171.21 KB
PDF icon 12/2/11: Plaintiff's Trial Brief475.3 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: P's Opposition to D's Motion in Limine #4279.45 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: P's Opposition to D's Motion in Limine #641.83 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: Wm Becker re D's Motion in Limine #1377.69 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: P's Opposition to D's Motion in Limine #2320.28 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: P's Opposition to D's Motion in Limine #892.91 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: Wm Becker re D's Motion in Limine #3336.67 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: Wm Becker re D's Motion in Limine #2492.53 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: Wm Becker re D's Motion in Limine #51.76 MB
PDF icon 12/14/11: Wm Becker re D's Motion in Limine #41.43 MB
PDF icon 12/14/11: P's Opposition to D's Motion in Limine #1211.7 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: D's Opposition to P's Motion in Limine #1866.37 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: P's Opposition to D's Motion in Limine #3145.3 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: P's Opposition to D's Motion in Limine #5324.47 KB
PDF icon 12/14/11: P's Opposition to D's Motion in Limine #7124.02 KB
PDF icon 12/27/11: Wm Becker's reply to JPL's opposition to P's Motion In Limine #1463.69 KB
PDF icon 12/27/11: JPL's reply supporting D's Motion In Limine 1149.02 KB
PDF icon 12/27/11: JPL's reply supporting D's Motion In Limine 23.79 MB
PDF icon 12/27/11: JPL's reply supporting D's Motion In Limine 3945.68 KB
PDF icon 12/27/11: JPL's reply supporting D's Motion In Limine 4415.99 KB
PDF icon 12/27/11: JPL's reply supporting D's Motion In Limine 5642.12 KB
PDF icon 12/27/11: JPL's reply supporting D's Motion In Limine 7611.42 KB
PDF icon 12/27/11: JPL's reply supporting D's Motion In Limine 8106.6 KB
PDF icon 12/27/11: P's reply to JPL's opposition to P's Motion In Limine 1256.92 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Motion In Limine #3 Exhibit - HR Letter79.79 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #3 to Exclude argument that JPL had right to interfere124.95 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #5 to Exclude Testimony of JPL's Economist151.31 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #2 to Exclude mention of Proposition 8153.85 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #4 to Exclude references to Third Parties with an interest in the trial's outcome112.88 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Reply to Opposition to P's Motion in Limine #1 - DVDs462.6 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Supplemental Declaration Supporting Motion in Limine #1 - DVDs40.99 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Declaration in Support of Motion in Limine #2 - Exclude references to Proposition 8234.89 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Declaration in Support of Motion in Limine #3 - Exclude suggestions that JPL had right to interfere170.14 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Declaration in Support of Motion in Limine #5 - Exclude JPL Economist's Testimony249.32 KB
PDF icon 1/27/12: Plaintiff's Declaration in Support of Motion in Limine #4 - Exclude references to Third Parties41.31 KB
PDF icon 2/7/12: Plaintiff's Supplemental Declaration in Support of Motion in Limine #5 to Exclude Testimony of JPL's Economist108.37 KB
PDF icon 2/9/12: JPL's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #2 to Exclude mention of Proposition 81.35 MB
PDF icon 2/9/12: JPL's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #3 to Exclude argument that JPL had right to interfere1.32 MB
PDF icon 2/9/12: JPL's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #4 to Exclude references to 3rd Parties with an interest in the trial's outcome649.87 KB
PDF icon 2/9/12: JPL's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #5 to Exclude Testimony of JPL's Economist1.88 MB
PDF icon 2/15/12: Plaintiff's Reply to JPL's Opposition to P's Motion in Limine #2 to Exclude references to Proposition 8132.15 KB
PDF icon 2/15/12: Plaintiff's Reply to JPL's Opposition to P's Motion in Limine #3 to Exclude argument that JPL had right to interfere102.85 KB
PDF icon 2/15/12: Plaintiff's Reply to JPL's Opposition to P's Motion in Limine #4 to Exclude Third Parties106.47 KB
PDF icon 2/15/12: Plaintiff's Reply to JPL's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #5 to Preclude Economist's Testifying158.77 KB
PDF icon 2/17/12: JPL's Proposed Jury Instructions490.57 KB
PDF icon 2/17/12: JPL's Proposed Statement of the Case67.33 KB
PDF icon 2/23/12: Amended Joint Exhibit List1.56 MB
PDF icon 2/23/12: Amended Joint Witness List89.75 KB
PDF icon 3/5/12: JPL's Motion in Limine to Exclude NASA's Guidelines on Religious Exercise948.31 KB
PDF icon 3/5/12: JPL's Trial Brief552.53 KB
PDF icon 3/6/12: Second Amended Joint Trial Exhibit List1.63 MB
PDF icon 3/12/12: Court grants media request subject to conditions42.01 KB
PDF icon 3/13/12: JPL's Opposition to Plaintiff's Objection to JPL's Representative68.92 KB
PDF icon 3/13/12: JPL's Request to limit media coverage120.3 KB
PDF icon 3/13/12: JPL's Supplemental Support of Motion in Limine #3 Excluding mention of NASA and/or JPL's Programs or Research on Origins of Life108.07 KB
PDF icon 3/14/12: JPL's Brief on the Relevance of Witnesses' Religious Background413.93 KB
PDF icon 3/14/12: Plaintiff's Opposition to JPL's Request to Limit Media Coverage151.6 KB
PDF icon 4/4/12: Plaintiff's Motion in Limine 6 to exclude Cumulative & Irrelevant Witnesses182.75 KB
PDF icon 4/9/12: Plaintiff's Motion in Limine 7 to exclude Employee Performance Ranking Records173.3 KB
PDF icon 4/9/12: Declaration in support of Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #7774.29 KB
PDF icon 4/10/12: JPL's Objection to Plaintiff's Demand for inspecting and copying documents857.54 KB
PDF icon 4/10/12: JPL's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion in Limine #7997.4 KB
PDF icon 4/26/12: Joint Stipulation to Exclude Evidence and Argument85.85 KB
PDF icon 5/8/12: Plaintiff's Post-trial Brief712.48 KB
PDF icon 5/29/12: JPL's Post-Trial Response Brief753.99 KB
PDF icon 6/8/12: Plaintiff's Post-Trial Reply Brief237.89 KB
PDF icon 8/28/12: Plaintiff's Supplemental Brief166.15 KB
PDF icon 10/31/12: Court's Tentative Ruling in Favor of JPL29.8 KB
PDF icon 11/8/12: Plaintiff's Request for Statement of Decision206.58 KB
PDF icon 11/16/12: JPL's Response to Coppedge's Request for Statement215.88 KB
PDF icon 11/30/12: Defendant's Proposed Statement of Decision1.88 MB
PDF icon 12/14/12: Plaintiff's Objection to JPL's Proposed Statement of Decision, 1931.38 KB
PDF icon 12/14/12: Plaintiff's Objection to JPL's Proposed Statement of Decision, 253.58 KB
PDF icon 12/14/12: Plaintiff's Objection to JPL's Proposed Statement of Decision, 32.28 MB
PDF icon 12/14/12: Plaintiff's Objection to JPL's Proposed Statement of Decision, 41.53 MB
PDF icon 12/14/12: Plaintiff's Objection to JPL's Proposed Statement of Decision, 5774.45 KB
PDF icon 12/14/12: Plaintiff's Objection to JPL's Proposed Statement of Decision, 6772.08 KB
PDF icon 12/14/12: Plaintiff's Objection to JPL's Proposed Statement of Decision, 7391.51 KB
PDF icon 12/17/12: Plaintiff's Request for Judicial Notice181.35 KB
PDF icon 12/19/12: Defendant's Reponse to Plaintiff's Objections to Defendant's Proposed Statement of Decision129.29 KB
PDF icon 12/21/12: Plaintiff's Objection to Defendant's Objection to Plaintiff's Objections to Defendant's Proposed Statement of Decision314.29 KB
PDF icon 1/15/13: Judgment on Decision of Court90.33 KB
PDF icon 1/16/13: Court adopts Defendant's Proposed Statement of Decision43.72 KB

Daniel v. Waters and Steele v. Waters (1973 - 1975)

On April 30, 1973, Tennessee became the first state to pass a balanced treatment law. Intended to ensure that creationism was taught alongside evolution, this statute required any textbook discussing "a theory about origins or creation of man and his world" to give equal attention and emphasis to "the Genesis account in the Bible," as well as other unspecified theories. However, it expressly excluded "the teaching of all occult or satanical beliefs of human origin" from this requirement. It further required such textbooks to contain a disclaimer stating that any such theory "is a theory....and is not represented to be scientific fact," but exempted the "Holy Bible" from this requirement, defining it as a "reference work" rather than a textbook.

Later that year, the National Association of Biology Teachers and three of its Tennessee members — Joseph Daniel, Arthur Jones and Larry Wilder — filed suit over the law in federal court (Middle District of Tennessee). Naming as defendants the members of the Tennessee State Textbook Commission, including its chairman Hugh Waters, the plaintiffs argued that the statute violated the First Amendment with respect to the Establishment Clause, free exercise of religion, and freedom of speech and of the press. Before the state had answered the complaint in Daniel v. Waters, a second suit was filed against the Textbook Commission in state court (the Chancery Court of Davidson County, Tennessee) by Harold Steele and two other members of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, who claimed that the statute violated the constitutions of both the United States and the state of Tennessee.

The subsequent paths of Daniel v. Waters and Steele v. Waters through the legal systems were rather convoluted. The State of Tennessee moved to have the district court dismiss Daniel v. Waters, or at least abstain from adjudicating it until Steele v. Waters was decided. When the district court agreed to the later course on February 26, 1974, the plaintiffs appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which vacated the abstention order and remanded the case to the district court for a new judgment. The district court reentered the abstention order, and the plaintiffs again appealed this. Meanwhile, the Chancery Court had decided Steele v. Waters in favor of the plaintiffs, ruling on September 9, 1974, that the statute was in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The state of Tennessee appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

On April 10, 1975, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, decided Daniel v. Waters on the merits, ruling that the Tennessee statute was "patently unconstitutional." Judge George Edwards authored the majority opinion, which identified two constitutional violations in particular: the special treatment of "occult or satanical beliefs" on the one hand, and of the Genesis account on the other. Edwards wrote, "We deem the two constitutional violations described above to be patent and obvious on the face of the statute and impossible for any state interpretation to cure." Judge Anthony Celebrezze dissented, arguing that the Appeals Court did not have jurisdiction to decide the constitutional issues, but should have required the district court to decide them instead. The State of Tennessee did not appeal this decision.

On August 20, 1975, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Steele v. Waters affirming the Chancery Court's decision. In its brief opinion, which acknowledged and concurred with the Daniel v. Waters decision, the Supreme Court added that the statute also violated Tennessee's constitution.

Although state and federal courts agreed that this law was clearly unconstitutional, creationists in other states continued to champion equal-time laws until the Supreme Court struck Louisiana's Balanced Treatment Act down in Edwards v. Aguillard.



Related Off-Site Material


Kenneth Fair's HTML reprint of the Daniel v. Waters decision at Talk.Origins

Kenneth Fair's HTML reprint of the Steele v. Waters decision at Talk.Origins

Discovery Institute v. California Science Center

This page collects the legal documents from the case Discovery Institute v. California Science Center

All the legal documentation available to us for this case is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged in chronological order.

Related Off-Site Material

LA Times: California Science Center is sued for canceling a film promoting intelligent design

Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education et al.

(Full Title: Doe et al. v. Mount Vernon City School District Board Of Education et al.)

On June 13, 2008, the "Doe" (pseudonym) family filed suit against the Board of Education of the Mount Vernon City School District, Ohio; against the district's superintendent and the principal of Mount Vernon City School; and against John Freshwater, their son's eighth-grade science teacher at the aforementioned school.

In its complaint, the Doe family claimed that Freshwater had proselytized in class, displayed religious material (which was not for his personal use) in the classroom, attacked evolution and taught intelligent design, and branded students with a Tesla coil; James Doe had received a painful brand on his arm in the shape of a cross. The Does also claimed that Freshwater had led prayer sessions for a Christian student club, and had violated various other administrative policies. When the Does complained to the principal and district administration, the latter did not take action to correct Freshwater's behavior or to prevent retaliation against their son. The Does' suit charges the defendants with violating the Establishment Clause and their right to free speech.

Shortly after the filing of this suit, the Board voted to terminate Freshwater's employment. Freshwater appealed, and an administrative hearing on the termination decision is currently underway. Freshwater filed a counterclaim in this suit against the Does on September 2, 2008, and filed his own lawsuit against the school district and associated persons in June 2009. The Doe family agreed to testify in the termination hearing under their true names, making their identities public, and voluntarily lifted the protective order keeping their identities secret. The Protective Order remains in place with respect to the identity of all minors other than James Doe.

On August 26, 2010, the Board agreed to a settlement with the Dennis family (who originally filed suit under the pseudonym "Doe"). The public terms of this settlement gave the Dennis Family $115,000 for legal costs, awarded $5,500 to the son, and $1 each to the parents.

On November 23, 2010, John Freshwater agreed to a settlement with the Dennis family. $25,000 was awarded for attorney's fees, $150,000 was awarded to the son, and $300,000 awarded to the parents.

On December 3, 2010, the judge presiding over the case approved the above settlement of $475,000 to the Dennis family.

Key legal documents for this case are provided at the bottom of this page. They are arranged in chronological order.



Related NCSE Articles


News: Creationist teacher sued in Ohio

News: Creationist teacher in Ohio to be fired

News: Hearing scheduled for creationist teacher's appeal in Ohio

News: Partial settlement in Freshwater case

News: Settlement in Freshwater case imminent

News: Settlement in Freshwater case

News: Settlement in Freshwater case final

Related Off-Site Material


Extensive blog coverage at The Panda's Thumb, including Richard Hoppe's day-by-day accounts of Freshwater's termination hearing

Coverage of the Freshwater Controversy at the Mount Vernon News

Mount Vernon News: School board resolves federal lawsuit

Coverage of the Freshwater case at the Columbus Dispatch. See the "Read the Report" and "Web Extras" sections of this page for district documents relevant to the case.

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 6/13/08: Original Complaint96.95 KB
PDF icon 6/15/10: Motion for reconsideration: Attachment 1323.86 KB
PDF icon 6/13/08: Plaintiffs' motion for protective order97.32 KB
PDF icon 6/23/08: Court grants protective order8.6 KB
PDF icon 8/11/08: Amended complaint42.13 KB
PDF icon 8/13/08: Defendant Freshwater's motion for extension of deadline10.83 KB
PDF icon 8/15/08: Court order granting extension8.65 KB
PDF icon 8/20/08: Defendant Board's motion for extension16.87 KB
PDF icon 8/21/08: Court order granting extension8.83 KB
PDF icon 9/2/08: Defendant Freshwater's counterclaim to complaint32.03 KB
PDF icon 9/2/08: Defendant Freshwater's answer to complaint53.8 KB
PDF icon 9/2/08: Defendant Board's answer to complaint42.57 KB
PDF icon 9/19/08: Plaintiffs' and Board's motion for new protective order141.43 KB
PDF icon 9/22/08: Plaintiffs' answer to Freshwater's counterclaim16 KB
PDF icon 9/23/08: Defendant Freshwater's opposition to new protective order898.54 KB
PDF icon 9/23/08: Defendant Freshwater's memorandum in opposition993.14 KB
PDF icon 9/26/08: Plaintiffs' and Boards' reply to Freshwater's memoranda317.18 KB
PDF icon 9/29/08: Defendant Freshwater's supporting memorandum in opposition56.19 KB
PDF icon 9/29/08: Court order granting Freshwater leave to file supplemental memorandum7.52 KB
PDF icon 9/30/08: Court denies new protective order20.22 KB
PDF icon 10/9/08: Court order on trial scheduling7.54 KB
PDF icon 10/9/08: Court order on pretrial scheduling14.88 KB
PDF icon 11/7/08: Court grants new protective order12.99 KB
PDF icon 1/21/09: Plaintiffs' Exhibit A for above motion292.09 KB
PDF icon 1/21/09: Plaintiffs' Exhibit C for above motion828.8 KB
PDF icon 1/21/09: Plaintiffs' withdrawal of motion as to Board16.07 KB
PDF icon 1/22/09: Plaintiffs' withdrawal of motion as to Freshwater16.11 KB
PDF icon 1/29/09: Court notice of settlement week conference8.03 KB
PDF icon 6/10/09: Memorandum relating case to Freshwater v. Mount Vernon Board of Education69.23 KB
PDF icon 7/24/09: Notice of deposition of Does, August 1823.52 KB
PDF icon 8/6/09: Motion for admission of Leslie E. McCarthy pro hac vice91.52 KB
PDF icon 8/6/09: Order on motion for admission17.48 KB
PDF icon 9/30/09: Agreed motion to dismiss Defendants Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education, Stephen Short, and William White21.5 KB
PDF icon 10/1/09: Order dismissing all claims against Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education, Stephen Short, and William White with prejudice22.97 KB
PDF icon 10/9/09: Joint motion to extend the discovery deadline38.51 KB
PDF icon 10/13/09: Entry granting joint motion to extend the discovery deadline27.53 KB
PDF icon 11/13/09: Motion by Plaintiffs to manually file limited electronic media as exhibits in support of a motion for summary judgment87.88 KB
PDF icon 11/16/09: Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment140.49 KB
PDF icon 11/16/09: Plaintiffs' motion to amend a prior protective order82.13 KB
PDF icon 11/16/09: Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment with exhibits32.21 MB
PDF icon 11/16/09: Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment1.81 MB
PDF icon 12/9/09: Plaintiffs' opposition to Defendant's Rule 56(f) motions19.12 KB
PDF icon 11/16/09: Order amending prior protective order33 KB
PDF icon 11/16/09: Order on motion for leave to file8.04 KB
PDF icon 12/9/09: Defendant's Rule 56(f) motion for extension of time to file a memorandum in opposition to Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment13.97 KB
PDF icon 12/9/09: Defendant's reply memorandum in support of his Rule 56(f) motion37.38 KB
PDF icon 12/9/09: Defendant's Rule 56(f) motion for extension of time to file a memorandum in opposition to Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment or in the alternative to supplement his memo110.92 KB
PDF icon 12/10/09: Order on motion for extension8.26 KB
PDF icon 12/30/09: Plaintiff's motion to compel production of documents and further deposition of John Freshwater415.64 KB
PDF icon 12/31/09: Plaintiffs' memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment61.06 KB
PDF icon 12/31/09: Counterclaimant/Defendant John Freshwater (in his personal capacity) memorandum in opposition to Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment46.24 KB
PDF icon 12/31/09: Defendant's memorandum in opposition to Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment9.88 MB
PDF icon 1/7/10: Order on motion for permission to amend8.36 KB
PDF icon 1/7/10: Motion for permission to file out of time to amend/correct, adding exhibits to the previous memorandum37.34 MB
PDF icon 1/14/10: Defendant's reply memorandum in support of his motion for partial summary judgment1.54 MB
PDF icon 1/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of their motion for partial summary judgment4.17 MB
PDF icon 1/20/10: Counterclaimant/Defendant John Freshwater (in his personal capacity) memorandum in opposition to Plaintiffs' motion to compel43.93 KB
PDF icon 1/20/10: Defendant's memorandum in opposition to plaintiffs' motion to compel32.99 KB
PDF icon 1/27/10: Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion to Compel: Exhibits 2140.85 KB
PDF icon 1/27/10: Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion to Compel: Exhibits 3124.9 KB
PDF icon 1/27/10: Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion to Compel: Exhibits 110.95 KB
PDF icon 1/27/10: Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion to Compel: Exhibits 4120.24 KB
PDF icon 1/27/10: Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion to Compel37.24 KB
PDF icon 4/6/10: Order on Motion for Summary Judgment99.23 KB
PDF icon 4/8/10: Proposed Pretrial Order57.41 KB
PDF icon 4/12/10: Order on motion to compel21.74 KB
PDF icon 4/12/10: Notice of Appearance14.08 KB
PDF icon 4/14/10: Final pretrial order47.63 KB
PDF icon 4/19/10: Motion in lemine to exclude defendant's classroom instruction prior to 2007-2008 school year and conduct outside the classroom31.94 KB
PDF icon 4/26/10: Response in opposition to motion34.32 KB
PDF icon 4/27/10: Motion to withdraw as attorney27.66 KB
PDF icon 4/27/10: motion to withdraw as attorney: exhibit 265.65 KB
PDF icon 4/27/10: motion to withdraw as attorney: exhibit 163.67 KB
PDF icon 4/28/10: Opinion and order on motion to exclude prior classroom instruction and conduct12.83 KB
PDF icon 4/28/10: Order on motion to withdraw as council670.9 KB
PDF icon 5/3/10: Motion for continuance751.65 KB
PDF icon 5/4/10: Order on motion to continue679.29 KB
PDF icon 5/4/10: Order placing exhibits under seal640.95 KB
PDF icon 5/4/10: Motion to seal exhibits669.91 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit E728.84 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - list of exhibits750.67 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit H718.89 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions for Defendant's failure to comply with discovery orders719.67 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit F723.49 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit B755.75 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit J725.14 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit I629.75 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit K1.47 MB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit A722.88 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit C749.53 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit G756.14 KB
PDF icon 5/7/10: Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions - Exhibit D751.22 KB
PDF icon 5/10/10: Reply to Plaintiffs' response to Defendant's motion for continuance and motion for sanctions1.53 MB
PDF icon 5/11/10: Opinion and order on motion for continuance and motion for sanctions1.52 MB
PDF icon 5/12/10: Order placing exhibits under seal1.56 MB
PDF icon 5/12/10: Plaintiffs' motion to seal exhibits1.55 MB
PDF icon 5/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for sanctions - Exhibit D1.49 MB
PDF icon 5/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for sanctions - list of exhibits1.51 MB
PDF icon 5/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for sanctions - Exhibit C748.19 KB
PDF icon 5/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for sanctions - Exhibit A742.47 KB
PDF icon 5/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for sanctions1.52 MB
PDF icon 5/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for sanctions - Exhibit E1.47 MB
PDF icon 5/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for sanctions - Exhibit B759.52 KB
PDF icon 5/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for sanctions - Exhibit F1.53 MB
PDF icon 5/14/10: Plaintiffs' reply in support of motion for sanctions - Exhibit G1.53 MB
PDF icon 5/27/10: Gag order1.4 MB
PDF icon 6/1/10: Opinion and order on motion for continuance and motion for sanctions1.46 MB
PDF icon 6/15/10: Motion for reconsideration: Attachment 76.46 MB
PDF icon 6/15/10: Motion for reconsideration23.54 KB
PDF icon 6/15/10: Motion for reconsideration: Attachment 2125.63 KB
PDF icon 6/15/10: Motion for reconsideration: Attachment 368.36 KB
PDF icon 6/15/10: Motion for reconsideration: Attachment 4116.91 KB
PDF icon 6/15/10: Motion for reconsideration: Attachment 558.07 KB
PDF icon 6/15/10: Motion for reconsideration: Attachment 6120.08 KB
PDF icon 6/21/10: Order7.56 KB
PDF icon 6/23/10: Motion for discovery230.9 KB
PDF icon 6/23/10: Motion for discovery - Main23.65 KB
PDF icon 6/24/10: Order on Motion for discovery46.53 KB
PDF icon 7/1/10: Plaintiffs' motion to file under seal and exhibit containing documents subject to a gag order17.41 KB
PDF icon 7/1/10: Order on motion to file under seal23.2 KB
PDF icon 7/2/10:Plaintiffs' memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion for reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 and motion for judgment or evidentiary inferences - main59.68 KB
PDF icon 7/2/10:Plaintiffs' memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion for reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 and motion for judgment or evidentiary inferences - Exhibit 7194.5 KB
PDF icon 7/2/10:Plaintiffs' memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion for reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 and motion for judgment or evidentiary inferences - Exhibit 2129.41 KB
PDF icon 7/2/10:Plaintiffs' memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion for reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 and motion for judgment or evidentiary inferences - Exhibit 111.66 KB
PDF icon 7/2/10:Plaintiffs' memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion for reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 and motion for judgment or evidentiary inferences - Exhibit 37.49 MB
PDF icon 7/2/10:Plaintiffs' memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion for reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 and motion for judgment or evidentiary inferences - Exhibit 4131.79 KB
PDF icon 7/2/10:Plaintiffs' memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion for reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 and motion for judgment or evidentiary inferences - Exhibit 551.5 KB
PDF icon 7/2/10:Plaintiffs' memorandum in opposition to Defendant's motion for reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 and motion for judgment or evidentiary inferences - Exhibit 6102.75 KB
PDF icon 7/13/10: Reply to memorandum in opposition to reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 201042.94 KB
PDF icon 7/13/10: Reply to memorandum in opposition to reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 - Exhibit 227.99 KB
PDF icon 7/13/10: Reply to memorandum in opposition to reconsideration of opinion and order issued June 1, 2010 - Exhibit 11.66 MB
PDF icon 7/14/10: Notice of hearing7.55 KB
PDF icon 7/29/10: Civil minutes6.55 KB
PDF icon 8/2/10: Opinion and order on motion for reconsideration28.32 KB
PDF icon 9/26/08: Defendant Freshwater's supplemental memorandum in opposition81.39 KB
PDF icon 9/28/10: Defendant's Motion to Seal Settlement42.38 KB
PDF icon 9/28/10: Order on Defendant's Motion to Seal Settlement36.9 KB
PDF icon 11/23/10: Doe-Freshwater Settlement Terms3.61 MB
PDF icon 12/3/10: Agreed Dismissal Order37.51 KB

Freshwater Termination

John Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher for the Mount Vernon School District, had been the subject of an investigation commissioned by the Board of Education after student and teacher complaints. The Board determined that Freshwater had proselytized in class, had taught creationism, omitted required material on evolution, and had branded students using a Tesla coil. Stephen & Jenifer Dennis, the parents of one child who had been branded with a Christian cross, filed suit against Freshwater and the district. (That suit was settled with a significant monetary award to the Dennis family in September of 2009.) The Board voted to begin the process of terminating Freshwater's employment on June 20, 2008. A year later on June 9, 2009, John Freshwater filed suit against the Board and against several individuals and organizations.

The termination hearings officially ended on January 6, 2011, and the referee recommended on the following day that Freshwater's teaching appointment be terminated. The School Board officially terminated Freshwater on January 10, 2011. On February 8, 2011, Freshwater appealed his termination in the Knox County Common Court of Pleas. The appeal was entered as a complaint and besides reinstatement, further asks the court for monetary damages from the School Board "for defamation, false light, emotional distress, [and] constitutional violations...."

John Freshwater's first legal challenge to the decision to terminate his employment as a middle school science teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio, failed on October 5, 2011, when a Knox County Common Pleas Court ruled against him. According to the Mount Vernon News (October 5, 2011), the judge wrote, "there is clear and convincing evidence to support the Board of Education’s termination of Freshwater’s contract(s) for good and just cause," denied Freshwater's request for further hearings, and ordered him to pay the cost of the hearings.

Subsequently in December 2011, Freshwater appealed the decision of the Common Pleas Court to the Fifth District Court of Appeals. NCSE and the Dennis family filed separate amicus Briefs with the Court of Appeals in January 2012 supporting the school district. In March 2012, the Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision.

In April 2012, Freshwater, with an attorney from the Rutherford Institute, appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn the District Court's ruling. In July 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to review the ruling on two of the appeal's three arguments. In November 2013, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld, 4-3, the decision of the court of appeals that evidence supports Freshwater's termination for insubordination. Freshwater asked for a reconsideration of the decision, but his request was denied in January 2014.

Freshwater then took his case to the United States Supreme Court in April 2014, arguing that the case should be heard in order to address questions about the extent of the applicability of the First Amendment and academic freedom to teachers while they are at work, as well as "to correct the grievous injustice that Freshwater has suffered." In its brief of opposition, the Mount Vernon City School Board argued that, since the Ohio Supreme Court determined that Freshwater's termination was permissible under state law, the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction. The Board also argued in detail against Freshwater's claims about the First Amendment, academic freedom, and the facts of the case.

On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court declined, without comment, to hear Freshwater's appeal.

This is likely the last chapter in the long saga which began in 2008, when a local family accused Freshwater of engaging in inappropriate religious activity — including teaching creationism — and sued Freshwater and the district. The Mount Vernon City School Board then voted to begin proceedings to terminate his employment. After administrative hearings that proceeded sporadically over two years, the referee presiding over the hearings finally issued his recommendation that the board terminate his employment with the district, and the board voted to do so in January 2011.

 

Related NCSE Articles

News: Creationist teacher sued in Ohio
News: Creationist teacher in Ohio to be fired
News: Hearing scheduled for creationist teacher's appeal in Ohio
News: Creationist teacher in Ohio sues school district
News: A final defeat for Freshwater

 

Related Off-Site Material

Extensive blog coverage at The Panda's Thumb, including Richard Hoppe's day-by-day accounts of Freshwater's termination hearing
Coverage of the Freshwater Controversy at the Mount Vernon News
Coverage of the Freshwater case at the Columbus Dispatch. See the "Read the Report" and "Web Extras" sections of this page for district documents relevant to the case.

 

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 1/7/11: Referee's Recommendation to Terminate267.31 KB
PDF icon 2/8/11: Termination Appeal1.84 MB
PDF icon 3/1/11: Board of Education (BOE) Motion to Seal Documents67.19 KB
PDF icon 3/2/11: Court Order to Seal Documents67.15 KB
PDF icon 3/7/11: Memo to Include Related Cases & Transfer to Judge Frost137.07 KB
PDF icon 3/8/11: BOE Answer to Complaint92.35 KB
PDF icon 3/9/11: Notice of Pretrial Conference23.66 KB
PDF icon 3/10/11: Judge Orders Matter Remanded to Knox County Court22.26 KB
PDF icon 3/28/11: BOE's Deposition of Freshwater on 15 Oct 20101.77 MB
PDF icon 3/28/11: BOE's Brief Explaining Why Case Should Not Be Remanded1.63 MB
PDF icon 3/28/11: Freshwater's Brief Explaining Why Case Should Be Remanded141.22 KB
PDF icon 4/5/11: Case Remanded to Knox County Court28.79 KB
PDF icon 4/20/11: Freshwater's Response to Letter of Admonishment from Ohio Dept of Education5.6 MB
PDF icon 5/3/11: Dennises' Ltr to Ohio DOE in response to Freshwater's Response to ODOE21.53 MB
PDF icon 10/5/11: Court Ruling989.27 KB
PDF icon 12/6/11: Freshwater's Appeal Brief1.26 MB
PDF icon 12/9/11: BOE motion for Extension of Time23.83 KB
PDF icon 1/10/12: NCSE's Amicus Brief1.71 MB
PDF icon 1/10/12: Dennises' Amicus Brief1.67 MB
PDF icon 1/11/12: BOE's Brief3.23 MB
PDF icon 3/5/12: Fifth District Court of Appeals's Ruling260.66 KB
PDF icon 3/5/12: Fifth District Court of Appeals's Ruling0 bytes
PDF icon 4/13/12: Freshwater's Appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court6.22 MB
PDF icon 5/11/12: BOE response to Freshwater729.83 KB
PDF icon 7/5/12: Ohio Supreme Court accepts Appeal29.8 KB
PDF icon 8/24/12: Appellant's Merit Brief2.95 MB
PDF icon 9/24/12: BOE Motion to strike portions of Freshwater's Merit Brief274.23 KB
PDF icon 10/4/12: Amici Curiae Brief of the American Humanist Association and the Secular Student Alliance in support of Appellee1.38 MB
PDF icon 10/4/12: Amici Curiae Brief of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Anti Defamation League1.57 MB
PDF icon 10/4/12: Amici Curiae Brief of Dennis Family1.3 MB
PDF icon 10/4/12: Merit Brief of Mt. Vernon Board of Education (Appellee)1.63 MB
PDF icon 10/4/12: Amicus Curiae Brief of NCSE14.78 MB
PDF icon 10/23/12: Freshwater Reply Brief5.94 MB
PDF icon 11/19/13: Decision of the Supreme Court of Ohio229.83 KB
PDF icon 11/26/13: Freshwater's Motion for Reconsideration1.06 MB
PDF icon 12/6/13: Board of Education's Opposition to Reconsideration497.08 KB
PDF icon 1/22/14: Court denies reconsideration. Includes dissenting opinion.53.49 KB
PDF icon 4/22/14: Petition for Writ of Certiorari564.72 KB
PDF icon 5/29/14: Brief in Opposition12.74 MB

Freshwater v. Mount Vernon Board of Education et al.

(Full Title: Freshwater v. Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education et al.)

On June 9, 2009, John Freshwater filed suit against the Board of Education of the Mount Vernon City School District, Ohio, and against several individuals and organizations.

Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher for the district, had been the subject of an investigation commissioned by the Board after student and teacher complaints. The Board determined that Freshwater had proselytized in class, had taught creationism and omitted required material on evolution, and had branded students using a Tesla coil. The parents of one child, who had been branded with a cross, filed suit against Freshwater and the district. That suit was settled in late 2010 when the family was awarded $455,502 plus $140,000 for legal fees. The Board voted unanimously on June 20, 2008, to terminate Freshwater's employment.

Freshwater appealed the Board's decision, and a Termination Hearing on the matter began that October; it is also ongoing.

In his lawsuit, Freshwater names as defendants the Board, two individual Board members and four other district administrators, the investigative firm and its two employees, and up to eight unknown (even to him) "employees, agents or others associated" with the Board who may have "conducted or facilitated" actions against him. The original complaint included sixteen counts including religious discrimination, defamation, conspiracy and breach of contract. An amended complaint includes Freshwater's wife, Nancy, as an additional plaintiff, and adds a seventeenth count of loss of consortium.

On October 21, 2010, all counts were dismissed by the involved parties "with prejudice," meaning that the plaintiffs' complaints would not again be raised in a court of law. This action indicated that a settlement was reached outside of the courtroom and the case has ended.

Key legal documents for this case are provided at the bottom of this page. They are arranged in chronological order.



Related NCSE Articles


News: Creationist teacher sued in Ohio

News: Creationist teacher in Ohio to be fired

News: Hearing scheduled for creationist teacher's appeal in Ohio

News: Creationist teacher in Ohio sues school district

Related Off-Site Material


Extensive blog coverage at The Panda's Thumb, including Richard Hoppe's day-by-day accounts of Freshwater's termination hearing

Coverage of the Freshwater Controversy at the Mount Vernon News

Coverage of the Freshwater case at the Columbus Dispatch. See the "Read the Report" and "Web Extras" sections of this page for district documents relevant to the case.

AttachmentSize
PDF icon 6/9/09: Original Complaint1.44 MB
PDF icon 6/9/09: Civil Cover Sheet108.02 KB
PDF icon 6/9/09: Court memo relating case to Doe v. Mount Vernon et al.69.23 KB
PDF icon 6/18/09: Amended Complaint103.31 KB
PDF icon 8/5/09: Defendant (Lynda Weston)'s Motion to Dismiss108.9 KB
PDF icon 8/6/09: Notice of preliminary pretrial conference, Sept. 211.41 KB
PDF icon 8/7/09: Court order setting hearing on Defendant (Weston)'s motion to dismiss for Sept 259.96 KB
PDF icon 8/7/09: Defendant (David Millstone)'s stipulation for extension of time36.98 KB
PDF icon 8/10/09: Defendants (Herlevis & HR On Call, Inc.)' stipulation for extension of time31.07 KB
PDF icon 8/10/09: Court order granting extension of time for defendants (Herlevis & Hr On Call, Inc.)31.51 KB
PDF icon 8/10/09: Defendants (Mount Vernon Board, Watson, Goetzman, Short, White)' answer to amended complaint82.65 KB
PDF icon 8/11/09: Notice rescheduling preliminary pretrial conference to Sept 167.67 KB
PDF icon 8/24/09: Motion for extension of time of defendants H.R. On Call, Inc., Julia F. Herlevi, and Thomas J. Herlevi13.21 KB
PDF icon 8/24/09: Order on motion for extension8.73 KB
PDF icon 8/26/09: Order on motion for extension106.92 KB
PDF icon 8/26/09: Motion for extension of time of Defendant David Millstone1.53 MB
PDF icon 9/1/09: Defendent David Millstone's motion pursuant to federal rule of civil procedure 11 for sanctions and fees6.1 MB
PDF icon 9/1/2009: Notice of filing of Defendant David Millstone's motion pursuant to federal rule of civil procedure 11 for sanctions and fees33.61 KB
PDF icon 9/2/09: Order on Defendant's Motion for Sanctions and Fees7.74 KB
PDF icon 9/2/09: Rule 26(f) report of the parties25.76 KB
PDF icon 9/8/09: Answer of Defendants to Plaintiffs' first amended complaint55.39 KB
PDF icon 9/17/09: Preliminary pretrial order14.66 KB
PDF icon 9/18/09: Scheduling order9.18 KB
PDF icon 9/18/09: Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a memorandum contra to Defendant Lynda Weston's motion to dismiss207.03 KB
PDF icon 9/21/09: Order on Plaintiff's motion for leave to file8.03 KB
PDF icon 9/21/09: Plaintiff's memorandum contra to motion to dismiss199.84 KB
PDF icon 9/23/09: Defendant's motion to seal29.6 KB
PDF icon 9/24/09: Order on motion to seal8.41 KB
PDF icon 9/24/09: Plaintiff's memorandum contra to motion to seal31.53 KB
PDF icon 9/28/09: Defendant's reply to memorandum in opposition to motion to seal33.51 KB
PDF icon 10/2/09: Reply of Defendant Lynda Weston to Plaintiffs' memorandum contra to Defendant's motion to dismiss64.71 KB
PDF icon 10/2//09: Opinon and order on motion to seal81.22 KB
PDF icon 10/6/09: Reply memorandum of Defendant David J. Millstone in support of the motion for sanctions of Defendant David J. Millstone2.99 MB
PDF icon 10/15/10: Motion to Quash Daubenmire's Subpoena324.16 KB
PDF icon 11/16/09: Order on agreed protective order9.21 KB
PDF icon 11/30/09: Opinion and order on motion for sanctions22.14 KB
PDF icon 12/8/09: Opinion and order on motion to dismiss48.75 KB
PDF icon 12/14/09: Defendant David Millstone's motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal rule of civil procedure 12(b)(6)93.97 KB
PDF icon 12/15/09: Scheduling order on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss7.74 KB
PDF icon 12/21/09: Answer of Defendant Lynda Weston to Plaintiff's first amended complaint79.45 KB
PDF icon 4/8/10: Opinion20.45 KB
PDF icon 6/17/10: Motion for miscellaneous relief19.8 KB
PDF icon 6/18/10: Order on motion for miscellaneous relief47.56 KB
PDF icon 6/26/10: Motion to compel92.96 KB
PDF icon 6/26/10: Motion to compel - Exhibit 1, Defendants' 5/3/10 Discovery Requests1019.59 KB
PDF icon 6/26/10: Motion to compel - Exhibit 2, Defendants' 5/10/10 Discovery Requests1.29 MB
PDF icon 6/26/10: Motion to compel - Exhibit 3, Declaration of Sarah J. Moore347.15 KB
PDF icon 6/26/10: Motion to compel - Exhibit 4, Relevant pages from Plaintiffs' 6/23/10 Discovery Responses404.48 KB
PDF icon 7/29/10: Order8.87 KB
PDF icon 8/3/10: Response in opposition to motion16.8 KB
PDF icon 8/17/10: Reply to Response to Motion50.01 KB
PDF icon 8/27/10: Sanctions granted52.79 KB
PDF icon 8/30/10: Order Clarification21.47 KB
PDF icon 9/22/10: Daubenmire Subpoena for Pass the Salt Ministries88.06 KB
PDF icon 10/12/10: Stipulation to dismiss Loss-of-Consortium Complaint70.59 KB
PDF icon 10/14/10: Order to dismiss Loss-of-Consortium Complaint22.92 KB
PDF icon 10/21/10: Dismissal with Prejudice for all Claims of Plaintiffs29.58 KB

Hendren et al. v. Campbell et al.

On March 23, 1977, the Indiana Textbook Commission was sued by ninth-grade student Jon Hendren, his father Robert Hendren, and E. Thomas Marsh, another student's parent. The lawsuit followed the Commission's approval of Biology: A Search For Order In Complexity, a "creation science" textbook, for use in public school biology courses. After the plaintiffs' school district, West Clark Community School Corporation, had adopted that book as its sole biology text, the plaintiffs had requested that the book's approval be withdrawn. The Textbook Commission had convened an administrative hearing on the matter on March 18, 1977, and issued findings of fact reaffirming their approval of the textbook at the close of the hearing.

The case was heard by Judge Michael T. Dugan II, for the Superior Court of Marion County. On April 14, 1977, Dugan ruled that use of the textbook in public schools constituted government favor of a particular religious doctrine, thereby violating the First Amendment of the US Constitution and Article 1, Section 4 of the Indiana Constitution. Dugan also ruled that the Textbook Commission's findings of fact were "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion," "inconsistent with the evidence at the administrative hearing," and also in violation of the aforementioned sections of the US and Indiana constitutions.

Like McLean v. Arkansas, this case was a precursor to the Supreme Court ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard, which prohibited state and local governments from requiring the teaching of creationism in the public schools.

A PDF of the Hendren v. Campbell decision is provided at the bottom of this page. It is text-searchable but poor quality; for ease of reading, we recommend the Talk.Origins copy linked below.



Related Off-Site Material


Nick Matzke's HTML reprint of the Hendren v. Campbell decision and editorial comments at Talk.Origins

Hensley v. Johnston County Board of Education

In 2004, Pamela Hensley was teaching evolution in her 8th grade science class in a small community several miles outside of Selma, North Carolina, when a "lively" discussion ensued with her students. Parents of one of the students wrote a letter to the Principal charging that Ms. Hensley was rude to their daughter and gave her a poor grade in retaliation for her religious views. The parents wrote that it was their intention "to rid our school system of" Ms. Hensley who forces "her 'Alternative Live [sic] Views' on children who have proven they don't subscribe to the same beliefs as her."

After investigating, the Principal admonished Ms. Hensley for telling students that the Bible is not to be read literally, but allowed her to continue her teaching assignments.

In October of 2005, the same father met with the School Board and some weeks later Ms. Hensley was transferred to a remedial language arts position at a different school about 10 miles away. Hensley filed a grievance with the School Board shortly thereafter and filed a "Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial" with the County Superior Court in May 2007. The case was subsequently moved to the Federal District Court.

On 23 December 2010, the court dismissed all of Ms. Hensley's complaints except for one claiming insufficient accommodation under the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act], although she was denied punitive damages with that claim.

Hurst v. Newman

On January 10, 2006, Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a lawsuit on behalf of eleven parents against the school board, superintendent, and a teacher in the El Tejon School District in Lebec, California.

The lawsuit concerned a class at the district's high school. Several parents raised objections to the class when it was proposed to the school board in December 2005. The course description, syllabus, and materials indicated that the class would advocate creationism and intelligent design and undermine evolution education.

The course description read:
"Philosophy of Intelligent Design: This class will take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological, and Biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin's philosophy is not rock solid. This class will discuss Intelligent Design as an alternative response to evolution. Topics that will be covered are the age of the earth, a world wide flood, dinosaurs, pre-human fossils, dating methods, DNA, radioisotopes, and geological evidence. Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the earth is thousands of years old, not billions. The class will include lecture discussions, guest speakers, and videos. The class grade will be based on a position paper in which students will support or refute the theory of evolution."
The first version of the syllabus had been presented on December 14, 2005. Ken Hurst, a geologist and parent in the school district, raised objections to the class and critiqued the syllabus. A revised syllabus was accepted by the school board.

On January 17, 2006, the El Tejon School District settled the lawsuit, agreeing to end the course early and never again offer any course "entitled ‘Philosophy of Design’ or ‘Philosophy of Intelligent Design’ or any other course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation science, or intelligent design.”

See these articles in the local paper, The Mountain Enterprise for documents and articles about the case.

All the legal documentation available to us for this case is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged in chronological order.


Related NCSE Articles


News: California parents sue school district over "ID" class

News: Settlement in Hurst v. Newman

Institute for Creation Research Graduate School v. Paredes et al.

This page collects the legal documents from the case Institute for Creation Research Graduate School v. Raymund A. Paredes et al.

The ICR Graduate School is "an unincorporated educational ministry unit of The Institute for Creation Research, Inc." The defendants are officers of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; Raymund Paredes is the CEO of the Board and Texas Commissioner of Higher Education. The ICR Graduate School filed two separate suits, one in Texas state court, and another in federal court, in the Northern District of Texas. The suits are identical, save for the fact that the Board itself is named as an additional defendant in the state court suit. The latter suit has been removed to federal court in the Western District of Texas. Judge Jane J Boyle is presiding over the federal case in the Northern District, and Judge Sam Sparks over that in the Western District.

All the legal documentation available to us for these cases is provided at the bottom of this page. It is arranged by case, and secondarily by chronological order.

Note: A number of documents were submitted to the Western District Court by the ICR Graduate School with the heading "Northern District of Texas: Austin Division." This division of the Northern District does not exist. We have assumed that the reference to "Northern District" is erroneous, and have accordingly titled these documents as belonging to the Western District case.



Related NCSE Articles


News: ICR seeks to grant degrees in Texas

News: Scientists oppose ICR certification in Texas

News: Decision on ICR's graduate school deferred

News: ICR fails to obtain certification in Texas

RNCSE: A Setback for the ICR in Texas

News: ICR sues THECB

News: A legal defeat for the ICR

News: ICR concedes defeat over its graduate school


Related Off-Site Material


Timothy Sandefur at Freespace: ICR lawsuit against Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Steven Schafersman of Texas Citizens for Science: The Institute for Creation Research Brings a Flawed Lawsuit Against the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
AttachmentSize
PDF icon 4/16/09: Northern District--Original Complaint7.51 MB
PDF icon 4/16/09: Northern District--Summons for Defendants1.49 MB
PDF icon 4/16/09: Northern District--Certificate of Interested Persons152.61 KB
PDF icon 4/16/09: Northern District--Exhibit 1: Petition for Contested Case Status5.89 MB
PDF icon 4/16/09: Northern District--Exhibit 2: First Supplement to Petition for Contested Case Status422.86 KB
PDF icon 4/16/09: Northern District--Exhibit 3: Second Supplement to Petition for Contested Case Status711.36 KB
PDF icon 5/11/09: Northern District--Affidavit of Raymund Paredes37.29 KB
PDF icon 5/13/09: Northern District--Defendants' motion to dismiss28.5 KB
PDF icon 5/13/09: Western District--Defendants' answer and affirmative defenses, filed in state court195.12 KB
PDF icon 5/13/09: Western District--Defendants file notice of removal from state court81.08 KB
PDF icon 5/15/09: Western District--Court order for case documents from state court39.53 KB
PDF icon 5/15/09: Western District--Court communication requiring pro hac vice application71.51 KB
PDF icon 5/22/09: Western District--Court order that plaintiff refile complaint158.54 KB
PDF icon 5/26/09: Western District--Court order granting pro hac vice application54.45 KB
PDF icon 5/26/09: Western District--Pro hac vice application for plaintiff133.33 KB
PDF icon 5/27/09: Western District--Court order to plan scheduling60.31 KB
PDF icon 5/27/09: Northern District--Plaintiff's opposition to motion to dismiss530.88 KB
PDF icon 6/2/09: Western District--Amended complaint1.92 MB
PDF icon 6/12/09: Western District--Defendants' partial motion to dismiss217.62 KB
PDF icon 6/15/09: Northern District--Pro hac vice order for John A. Eidsmoe, for plaintiff259.76 KB
PDF icon 6/18/10: Western District--Order294.84 KB
PDF icon 6/19/09: Western District--Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on Pleadings, with Declaration and Supporting Brief434.35 KB
PDF icon 6/22/09: Northern District--Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, supporting brief and proposed order396.36 KB
PDF icon 6/24/09: Western District--Plaintiff's proposed order denying partial motion to dismiss62.17 KB
PDF icon 6/24/09: Western District--Plaintiff's response opposing partial motion to dismiss350.11 KB
PDF icon 6/29/09: Western District--Defendants' response opposing motion for judgment on pleadings40.14 KB
PDF icon 6/30/09: Western District--Plaintiff's reply to defendants' response opposing motion for judgment on pleadings183.1 KB
PDF icon 7/6/09: Western District--Joint report on pretrial disclosures and scheduling15.2 KB
PDF icon 7/7/09: Western District--Defendants' reply to plaintiff's response opposing partial motion to dismiss29.69 KB
PDF icon 7/7/09: Western District--Joint proposed scheduling order11.24 KB
PDF icon 7/9/09: Northern District--Defendants' response to motion for summary judgment42.07 KB
PDF icon 7/13/09: Western District--Court Order scheduling date for all pending matters62.16 KB
PDF icon 7/20/09: Western District--Court order denying motion to dismiss and requiring 2nd amended complaint239.58 KB
PDF icon 7/30/09: Western District--Joint scheduling order setting trial for July 2010111.75 KB
PDF icon 8/5/09: Western District--2nd Amended Complaint675.66 KB
PDF icon 8/12/09: Northern District--Joint Status Report161.33 KB
PDF icon 8/17/09: Western District--Defendants' objection and answer to 2nd amended complaint31.89 KB
PDF icon 11/02/09: Northern District--A First Amended Complaint1.68 MB
PDF icon 11/02/09: Northern District--1st Affidavit of Patricia Neson768.54 KB
PDF icon 12/01/09: Northern District--Memorandum Opinion & Order83.46 KB

Lane v. Sabine Parish School Board

A sixth-grade teacher's advocacy of creationism is at the center of the complaint in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on January 22, 2014. {C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C} The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana on behalf of Scott Lane, Sharon Lane, and their three children, including their son, C. C., a Buddhist of Thai heritage. Documents from the case, Lane et al. v. Sabine Parish School Board et al., are available from the ACLU's website.

According to the complaint (PDF), C. C.'s former sixth-grade teacher "treats the Bible as scientific fact, telling students that the Big Bang never happened and that evolution is a 'stupid' theory that 'stupid people made up because they don’t want to believe in God.'” She tells her students that "if evolution were real, it would still be happening: Apes would still be turning into humans today." She "repeatedly instructed students that evolution is not valid as a scientific theory and that God made the world 6,000 years ago." She skipped the chapter on evolution in the science textbook. In addition, she includes religious material on her science tests. On one examination, students were expected to fill in the blank in the sentence "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE __________ MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" C. C. was penalized for not supplying the word "LORD." The teacher similarly grants extra credit for writing "Isn't it amazing what the Lord has made" on assignments and examinations.

Although C. C.'s parents complained of his teacher's misbehavior, the superintendent was not responsive, telling them that "this is the Bible Belt" and suggesting that C. C. change his religion. The complaint cites the teacher's behavior, the superintendent's response, and a pattern of "official promotion and inculcation of religion generally, and Christianity, specifically" on the part of the district in asking for a judgment against the district. A complaint was also filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

According to the Associated Press (January 23, 2014), the school board issued a statement reading, "The Sabine Parish School Board has only recently been made aware of the lawsuit filed by the ACLU. A lawsuit only represents one side's allegations, and the board is disappointed that the ACLU chose to file suit without even contacting it regarding the facts. The school system recognizes the rights of all students to exercise the religion of their choice and will defend the lawsuit vigorously."

In March 2014, the parties met in a settlement conference and worked out an agreement that enjoined the school board and its employees from religious practices and promotions both on school district properties and when acting in official capacities. The school district agreed to pay damages of $1 to each member of the Lane family, pay them $4,000 to cover miscellaneous transportation costs to have their son attend a school some distance away, and to daily bus their son to that school.

Smith v. Jefferson County School Board et al.

In a complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia on May 12, 2015, Kenneth Smith contended that teaching evolution in West Virginia's public schools constitutes "the propagation of religious faith" and that it hinders his daughter's ability to enter college and to become a veterinarian. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on August 25, 2015.

The Scopes Trial of 1925

Introduction

In 1925, the state of Tennessee passed the Butler Act, which outlawed the teaching of "any theory that denies the divine creation of man and teaches instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals." The ACLU offered to defend any teacher accused of violating the Act, and John Scopes agreed to incriminate himself by teaching evolution.

With William Jennings Bryan among the prosecutors, Clarence Darrow among the defense, and journalist H.L. Mencken covering the proceedings, Scopes' "Monkey Trial" focused an unprecedented amount of public attention on the creationism/evolution controversy. However, the case had little impact on the actual legal issues involved. Scopes was rapidly convicted, and upon his appeal the Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the Butler Act to be constitutional; but the court also overturned his conviction on a technicality, blocking any chance to take the case to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Recommended links

  • Scopes Trial Home Page — A comprehensive collection of material about the 1925 Scopes trial, compiled by law professor Douglas Linder
  • Monkey Trial — Web site for the American Experience's documentary on the Scopes trial, including audiovisual material and a guide on using the documentary and the web site in the classroom
  • 20 Questions about the Scopes Trial — from American Heritage magazine online
  • Evolution for John Doe [link expired] — A college level lesson plan which focuses on the scientific diagrams used in the Scopes Trial.

Recommended Reading

Summer for the Gods
Larson, Edward J.
New York: HarperCollins. (1997)
A Pulitzer-Prize-winning re-evaluation of the 1925 Scopes "monkey" trial and its relevance to the creation/evolution controversy today.