On April 5, 2004, the Ninth Circuit issued a detailed decision, which reversed the Magistrate Judge and reinstated the Jury Verdict and praised the conduct of counsel for Pamella Settlegoode. (Portland, Oregon)
The Court discussed the importance of Settlegoode's freedom of speech and criticized the Magistrate Judge, explaining that:
This is just an excerpt:
"Teachers are uniquely situated to know whether students are receiving the type of attention and education that they deserve and, in this case, are federally entitled to. We have long recognized “the importance of allowing teachers to speak out on school matters,” Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138, 162 (1983), because “ ‘[t]eachers are, as a class, the members of a community most likely to have informed and definite opinions’ “ on such matters, id. (quoting Pickering, 391 U.S. at 572). This is particularly so with respect to disabled children, who may not be able to communicate effectively that they lack appropriate facilities. Teachers may therefore be the only guardians of these children’s rights and interests during the school day. (Emphasis added by Wrightslaw) Whether or not Settlegoode’s assertions were accurate, or were communicated in the best manner possible, it is clear that the subject matter of her expression was of public importance."
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/retaliate.settlegoode.htm (or click title above)