United States District Court, D. Minnesota
J. Nickitas, PETER J. NICKITAS LAW OFFICE, L.L.C., for
R. Somermeyer, Kathlyn E. Noecker, and Terran C. Chambers,
FAEGRE BAKER DANIELS LLP, for defendant.
Patrick J. Schiltz United States District Judge
Kristin Naca was employed as a “Faculty Diversity
Fellow” and then as an assistant professor of poetry by
defendant Macalester College (“Macalester”).
Macalester fired Naca after one of her former students
reported (1) that Naca solicited sex from her 11 days before
she graduated and (2) that Naca had sex with her three days
after she graduated. Naca brought this lawsuit against
Macalester, alleging, in essence, that Macalester fired her
not because she solicited sex from and then had sex with a
student, but because Macalester was hostile to Naca on
account of her race or ethnicity, national origin, sex,
sexual orientation, disability, and religion.
original complaint was stricken for violating the command of
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) that a complaint must contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief” and the command of
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1) that each allegation in a complaint must
be “simple, concise, and direct.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(d)(1). As the Court explained:
Naca's complaint-which weighs in at a remarkable (in a
bad way) 81 pages and 250 numbered paragraphs and culminates
in 26 claims for relief-does not come close to complying with
Rule 8. The complaint sets forth in numbing detail just about
every slight that Naca alleges she suffered during her tenure
at Macalester. And the allegations in the complaint are not
“simple, concise, and direct”; instead, they are
rife with purple prose and personal invective.
ECF No. 6 at 2. The Court gave Naca an opportunity to file an
amended complaint, but ordered that the complaint not exceed
10, 000 words.
filed an amended complaint. Although the complaint met the
letter of the Court's order-it came in at 9, 641
words-the complaint actually increased the number of
claims from 26 to 35. ECF No. 8. Macalester responded by
filing a motion to dismiss. ECF No. 40. At the hearing on
that motion, the Court dismissed about two-thirds of
Naca's claims from the bench. ECF No. 64.
now seeks to amend her complaint to add Brian Rosenberg (the
President of Macalester) as a defendant, and to bring seven
claims against him. ECF No. 55. The circumstances giving rise
to Naca's request can be briefly summarized as follows:
this lawsuit was filed on September 28, 2016, Naca and her
supporters took to social media to draw attention to this
lawsuit, to publicize Naca's allegations and her denial
of Macalester's allegations, and to attract support and
donations for Naca. Macalester's independent student
newspaper-The Mac Weekly-became aware of Naca's
lawsuit and asked both Naca and Rosenberg to comment. In
response, Naca told The Mac Weekly that her
termination was a “clear violation of [her] due process
rights and a blatant act of discrimination made under false
pretenses.” ECF No. 61-1 at 2. Also in response,
Rosenberg issued a statement to The Mac Weekly, the
following two sentences of which were quoted in the
Kristin Naca's employment at Macalester was terminated as
the result of a serious violation of the college's
policies relating to Title IX protections, following a
complaint about her conduct with a student. . . .
Unfortunately, Naca's response to these findings . . .
has been to attack, intimidate and retaliate against the
survivor who brought forward the complaint.
Id. (The reference to “attack, intimidate and
retaliate” is a reference to the fact that, before
suing Macalester in federal court, Naca sued her alleged
victim in state court.)
now wants to sue Rosenberg for commenting on her lawsuit in
this way. Specifically, Naca wants to bring a defamation
claim against Rosenberg because, she says, his assertion was
false in three respects: (1) she did not commit “a
serious violation of the college's policies”; (2)
her alleged victim was not a “student” because
she had graduated three days before they had sex; and (3) her
alleged victim was not a “survivor, ” because the
use of the word “survivor” implies that the
alleged victim was sexually assaulted, and the alleged victim
was not sexually assaulted (as the alleged victim herself
admitted in a letter to Naca). ECF No. 55-1 ¶¶
250-264. Naca also wants to bring six retaliation claims
under various civil-rights statutes, on the theory that her
filing of the lawsuit was protected activity, and
Rosenberg's statement about the lawsuit constituted
unlawful retaliation for engaging in that protected activity.
Id. ¶¶ 265-271.
Judge Steven E. Rau denied Naca's motion for leave to
amend her complaint to add Rosenberg as a defendant and to
bring seven claims against him. ECF No. 63. This matter is
before the Court on Naca's objection to Judge Rau's
order. ECF No. 66. The Court has conducted a de novo review.
See Magee v. Trs. of the Hamline Univ., Minn., 957
F.Supp.2d 1047, 1062 (D. Minn. 2013). Based on that review,