Brown v. Linder

From January 2021 to January 2023
University of Iowa (Public college or university)
Iowa City, Iowa

Identity of Speakers

  • James Brown

    Professor of Urology at the University of Iowa

  • Marc Linder

    Professor at the University of Iowa, specializing in Labor Law

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
  • Incident Political Orientation:
    Not Clear
  • Incident Responses:
  • Incident Status:
  • Was Speech Code incident


In 2021, James Brown, a professor of urology at the University of Iowa, sued Marc Linder, a professor at the University of Iowa specializing in labor law. The lawsuit came about due to Linder’s opposition to Brown serving as an expert witness in a labor dispute regarding the Swift Pork Company’s employee bathroom break policies. Linder claimed Brown serving as an expert witness would have terrible consequences for workers.

Following Linder’s claims, Brown sued Linder, stating that his criticism was state action amounting to reprisal for Brown’s use of his First Amendment rights. A federal district court rejected his argument and Brown appealed.

In an amicus brief published, it was argued that Linder was wrong in his claims that the state can prevent its employees from offering expert testimony. Therefore, state universities cannot prevent professors from serving as expert witnesses on the basis that their testimony contradicts the state. January of 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the eight circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Brown’s claim.