Minnesota Supreme Court rules high school coaches are not public officials

Conclusion of Minnesota Supreme Court decision
In an opinion published Wednesday, Justice Natalie Hudson wrote that even though McGuire was a public employee, his coaching duties "are ancillary to core functions of government; put simply, basketball is not fundamental to democracy."
MPR News

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that a former Woodbury High School basketball coach can move forward with a defamation lawsuit against one of his player's parents.

In 2015, Nathan McGuire sued a group of parents alleging they made false and defamatory statements about him.

Two parents had filed maltreatment reports on behalf of their daughters, but court documents say there's no evidence the girls were mistreated.

A lower court tossed out McGuire’s case, and he did not appeal the dismissal of all his claims.

But he did push back against one parent, Julie A. Bowlin, who argued that because McGuire was a public official, he must meet the standard of actual malice and prove that the defendants made their statements with reckless disregard for the truth.

A unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court sided with McGuire.

In an opinion published Wednesday, Justice Natalie Hudson wrote that even though McGuire was a public employee, his coaching duties "are ancillary to core functions of government; put simply, basketball is not fundamental to democracy."

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