March 15, 2021
A team of Hunton Andrews Kurth lawyers, led by Issues and Appeals co-chair Elbert Lin and including Erica Peterson, Kelly Oeltjenbruns, and Matthew Revis, represented the Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team of the Religious Freedom Institute pro bono as amicus curiae in the Supreme Court case Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, No. 19-968. The team filed briefs at the certiorari and merits stages in support of Uzuegbunam, who ultimately won the day in an 8-1 decision issued March 8, 2021. Ismail Royer, Director of the Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team, expressed his gratitude “to the attorneys of Hunton Andrews Kurth for donating their time and energy to giving a voice in the Supreme Court to the American Muslim community.”
Uzuegbunam, a former Georgia Gwinnett College student, sued his school after it prevented him from expressing religious views in a free-speech zone on campus. After Uzuegbunam graduated and the school changed the policy at issue, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit dismissed the case as moot because the college had not caused Uzuegbunam any monetary harm. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether Uzuegbunam’s request for a symbolic award of damages (referred to as “nominal damages”) allowed him to continue to litigate his claim that the school violated his constitutional rights. The Supreme Court sided with Uzuegbunam in an eight-justice majority opinion authored by Justice Thomas.