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Parents can be sued for false claims against high school coaches, Minnesota high court rules


September 5, 2019

Leila Navidi – Star Tribune file

"Simply, basketball is not fundamental to democracy," said the 16-page unanimous decision, written by Justice Natalie Hudson, shown in 2016 at Lakeville North High School.

Parents who criticize or trash talk their kids' public high school coaches don't have legal protection to make false claims, according to a groundbreaking ruling issued Wednesday by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The court's decision, in a case involving former Woodbury High School girls' basketball coach Nathan McGuire, said that public high school coaches are not public officials under the First Amendment. That means that such coaches who claim to have been defamed by parents have a lower bar to clear to prove their case.


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