Licensing Board Censors Retired Engineer

Wayne Nutt is an engineer. Since his retirement in 2013, Wayne has not done any engineering-he hasn’t designed or built things-but he is still an engineer at heart, and so he talks about engineering a lot.

And that is what has gotten him into trouble. Wayne never needed a license to work as an engineer. But according to the North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, talking about the sort of work Wayne did does require a license.

Wayne’s trouble started when he volunteered to testify as an expert witness. The case involved a piping system, and for Wayne, who had designed plenty of pipes in his day, the analysis itself seemed pretty easy.

But it was also-according to the Board-illegal. After Wayne’s deposition in the case, someone complained to the Board that he was practicing engineering without a license, which is a criminal misdemeanor.

The Board’s position is that offering any testimony that requires “engineering knowledge” is illegal without a license-even if someone truthfully discloses their credentials, and even if a judge wants to hear the testimony.

But that is wrong. In this country, we rely on people to decide who they want to listen to. We do not rely on government to decide who gets to speak. That is why Wayne has joined forces with the Institute for Justice to file a major First Amendment lawsuit against the Board, designed to vindicate the basic principle that the First Amendment protects our right to hear useful speech on difficult topics and that the Board cannot silence Wayne simply because his opinions are based on his knowledge of engineering.

Wayne Nutt

“The First Amendment, Right to Free Speech, of many people in the State of North Carolina is being violated. Expertise resides in many people, not just licensed professional engineers.”
IJ Client Wayne Nutt

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