Friday, June 13, 2014

Tenured professor provided due process, 6th Circuit rules

A unanimous three-judge panel of the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that a university professor was provided the due process he was entitled to under the U.S. Constitution, despite his claims to the contrary. In that case, the professor had been employed by the university's Political Science Department for a period of almost thirty years. At some point, as a result of a dispute between the professor and the university, the two parties entered into an agreement wherein the professor agreed to abide by certain expectations. The agreement further provided that the professor's compliance with the agreement would be adjudged by a panel of three faculty members; one faculty member was to be chosen by the Dean, one by the faculty chair, and one by the professor himself. Within a year of entering into the agreement, the professor was accused of violating the agreement. A three person faculty committee was then formed. After a 'hearing,' the professor was terminated. The professor instituted suit in the U.S. District Court, alleging violations of the 14th Amendment, including procedural and substantive due process. The district court refused, however, to find a violation and found against the professor. This holding was upheld today on appeal by the 6th Circuit. The case is McKenna v. Bowling Green State University, Case No. No. 13-4054.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lucas County Court of Appeals holds that charter school management company and employees not immune from liability

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Appellate District in Ohio has ruled that while a charter school itself is immune from most lawsuits as a political subdivision, a charter school's management company is not. In that case, a minor was injured at the school and sued the charter school management company, as well as an employee of that company. The management company alleged that it, like the charter school, was immune from liability as a political subdivision. The trial court ruled that the company was not immune from suit and the appeals court agreed. The case is Cunningham v. Star Academy of Toledo, 2014-Ohio-428.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear "I heart boobies" appeal.

The Supreme Court of the United States allowed a lower court decision to stand this week, upholding the right of students to wear "I ♥ Boobies" bracelets for breast cancer awareness. In that case, Pennsylvania middle school students had been suspended for wearing the breast cancer awareness bracelets. The school, citing the Supreme Court's 1986 decision in Bethel School District v. Fraser, believed that they had the ability to ban this speech as being lewd, vulgar, and inappropriate. The decision not to take the case is not a decision on the merits but may be instructive to public school students and administration alike to help further clarify what speech is and is not constitutionally permissible inside the schoolhouse gates.