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Butler v. Bd. of Cty. Commissioners for San Miguel Cty., 920 F.3d 651 (10th Cir. Mar. 29, 2019)

Mar 29, 2019

A county employee sued his former employer for demoting him after he testified as a character witness at his sister-in-law’s custody hearing.  The plaintiff urged the Tenth Circuit to adopt a per se rule that treated all truthful testimony given by a public employee as a matter of public concern.  Instead, as a matter of first impression, the Tenth Circuit clarified that a case-by-case approach applies to assessing whether a government employee’s speech involves a matter of public concern and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the individual claims, because the employee’s motive was primarily personal and did not concern the community at large.