Former Valdosta State student's lawsuit gets new life

Former Valdosta State student's lawsuit gets new life

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A former Valdosta State student's lawsuit against the university gets new life.

Hayden Barnes was expelled in 2007 for protesting plans to build two parking garages on campus.

Barnes first sued VSU in 2008 on a wrongly punishment claim.

He was awarded $50,000 in 2013, when former VSU president Ronald Zaccari was held personally liable for violating Barnes' rights to due process.

On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled his suit claiming his free speech rights were violated can go forward.

"The First Amendment claim is really the heart of why we brought this claim and why we brought this case," Barnes said. "We're trying to protect other students that may have an opinion that the university administration might disagree with."

Dr. Zaccari's attorney, David Will, said his client is disappointed in the decision and did not intend to hurt Barnes.

Will hopes both sides can sit down and come to an agreement out of court.

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