New trial granted in teacher-privacy case





MINNESOTA -- A state appeals court has ordered a new trial in a teacher's defamation and emotional distress claim against her former school.

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\n Teacher Katherine Navarre filed the lawsuit in 1997 after school administrators spoke to parents and the media about complaints made about her teaching. Navarre claimed the release of private information violated the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

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\n The court agreed that some of the school's actions violated the act, but many others did not in Navarre v. South Washington County Schools, 633 N.W. 2d 40 (Minn. App. 2001). The school district was awarded a new trial in which it may present further evidence in Navarre's claims of defamation and emotional distress.

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\n Mark Anfinson, an attorney for the Minnesota Newspaper Association, said this decision could have a large impact on freedom of information issues in the state, including a school's communication about teacher performance.

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\n The state supreme court granted a petition for further review of the case.


reports, Winter 2001-02