No. 22-1712.

72 F.4th 573 (2023)

Stephen R. PORTER, Ph.D., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY; W. Randolph Woodson, in his official capacity; Mary Ann Danowitz, in both her official and individual capacities; John K. Lee, in both his official and individual capacities; Penny A. Pasque, in both her official and individual capacities; Joy Gaston Gayles, in both her official and individual capacities, Defendants-Appellees, Elizabeth Weiss; Pacific Legal Foundation; Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Amici Supporting Appellant.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

Decided: July 6, 2023.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

ARGUED: Samantha K. Harris , ALLEN HARRIS PLLC, Narberth, Pennsylvania, for Appellant. Eric M. David , BROOKS, PIERCE, MCLENDON, HUMPHREY & LEONARD, LLP, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellees. ON BRIEF: Jonathan A. Vogel , VOGEL LAW FIRM PLLC, Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellant. Joshua H. Stein , Attorney General, Kari R. Johnson , Special Deputy Attorney General, Vanessa N. Totten , Special Deputy Attorney General, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellees. Kathryn D. Valois , Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Ethan W. Blevins , Daniel M. Ortner , PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION, Sacramento, California, for Amici Elizabeth Weiss and Pacific Legal Foundation. Darpana M. Sheth , Jeffrey D. Zeman , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, JT Morris , FOUNDATION FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND EXPRESSION, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge Thacker wrote the opinion in which Judge Wynn joined. Judge Richardson wrote an opinion dissenting.

Stephen Porter ("Appellant") filed suit alleging that he suffered adverse employment action in retaliation for unpopular protected speech. The district court dismissed Appellant's complaint. Upon review, we affirm the dismissal because we find that Appellant has failed to allege a causal connection between the only communication...


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