A federal judge last week dismissed a lawsuit against Florida Atlantic University brought by James Tracy, the former professor of communication there who repeatedly called the 2014 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax. Tracy was terminated over failing to complete a conflict of interest policy, but he alleged that he was really fired over the theories he promoted on his personal blog. Judge Robin Rosenberg based her decision in large part on what she called a “lack of clarity” in the lawsuit, which alleged First Amendment violations and other counts.
Tracy’s “narrative intertwines multiple constitutional theories and, as a result, both this court and defendants struggle to define the alleged constitutional injury in this case,” Rosenberg wrote. Regarding Tracy’s free speech violation claim, she said that while "the theoretical possibility exists that the [conflict of interest] form could be used by [the university] to restrict speech or otherwise restrict an outside activity, [Tracy] never reached that particular point as [he] refused to fill out the form.” Tracy will have a final opportunity to rework portions of his lawsuit and possibly resubmit it.
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