Jury Splits on Claims in Case Alleging Liberal Bias in Hiring at Iowa Law School

October 24, 2012

In a case in which the University of Iowa College of Law stood accused of political bias for refusing to hire an instructor known for her conservative views, a jury found that the plaintiff, Teresa R. Wagner, did not suffer infringement of her First Amendment rights. The jury deadlocked,however, over a second claim, that Ms. Wagner was denied her equal-protection rights under the 14th Amendment. Reports by the Associated Press initially said the entire case had ended in mistrial, but the news agency issued a correction on Wednesday night after it received clarification on the outcome from Judge Robert W. Pratt, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Southern Iowa. Judge Pratt presided over the trial, held in Davenport, Iowa, but after thecase went to the jury, he returned to Des Moines, and a U.S. magistrate judge, Thomas J. Shields, oversaw final details of the proceedings.