Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill

PETITIONER: Cleveland Board of Education
RESPONDENT: James Loudermill
LOCATION: Cleveland Metropolitan School District

DOCKET NO.: 83-1362
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 470 US 532 (1985)
ARGUED: Dec 03, 1984
DECIDED: Mar 19, 1985

ADVOCATES:
James G. Wyman - on behalf of the petitioners in Nos. 83-1362 and 83-1363 and respondents in No. 83-6392
Robert M. Fertel - on behalf of the respondents in Nos. 83-1362 and 83-1363 and the petitioner in No. 83-6392

Facts of the case

James Loudermill applied for the job in the Cleveland Board of Education confirming about not being condemned or accused of crimes. He was employed as a guard, but after identifying that he was charged with a larceny, then the employer dismissed him for misleading statements in his work application.

But as Loudermill was accepted as civil servant position, he had the property right on this job. Accordingly, to Ohio Law, he could be fired because of the defined list of reasons and after the administrative review. The Cleveland Civil Service Commission exercised this procedure after the end of his term and found it legal.

Then Loudermill claimed a suit before the District Court arguing that revise of the decision on his dismiss contradicted with the Constitution because he had no possibilities to present his opposite position regarding his discharge reasons. He stated that he was deprived of his right of ownership having no opportunity to protect them in accordance to Due Process under the Fourteen Amendment.

The judgment of the District Court confirmed that the Ohio laws granted to Loudermill a property right to his position, but found that the board didn`t exercise its implementation and in this way violated the Constitution.

The plaintiff filed an appellation to the Supreme Court. The case study reflected that judges` opinion that stated the breach of the Due Process Clause. It established the requirements for removing the property of the private person, that were arguments and possibility to represent the protection of your side.

The case brief sums up the judgment point that the worker`s rights have more significance than the employer interests. Therefore the decision was revised and canceled.

Question

Can a state remove a civil servant's property rights to employment before providing an opportunity for that worker to respond to the charges offered for his termination?

Media for Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 03, 1984 in Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments first this morning in Cleveland Board of Education against Loudermill.

Mr. Wyman, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

James G. Wyman:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court, the issue presented by the cases at bar today is whether or not the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment required the Cleveland Board of Education and the Parma Board of Education to grant respondents a hearing before they were terminated from their employment.

It is the petitioners' position that the precedents of this Court do not require a pretermination hearing, and further, that the Ohio Revised Code, Section 124.34, comports with the due process clause and adequately protected the respondents' rights.

Mr. Loudermill was a security guard for the Cleveland Board of Education.

In order to get that job, he filled out an application form.

On that form, he was asked if he had ever been found guilty of any felony.

He answered he had not.

He further attested at the end of that application that the answers he gave were not only truthful but accurate.

A routine check of his record was done by the Cleveland Board of Education.

He was found to have had a previous felony conviction, that of grand larceny, and he was terminated.

Warren E. Burger:

How long after his appointment was that discovery made?

James G. Wyman:

After his appointment it was approximately eleven months, Your Honor.

What had happened in that case is, we had originally hired on a number of security people during the institution of our desegregation case.

We thereafter reorganized our organization and as a part of the reorganization we went through routine checks for a newly created safety and security department.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

I gather his service was satisfactory during the eleven months before discovery?

James G. Wyman:

There were no known reasons or any incidents that had happened with Mr. Loudermill.

That is correct.

But the Cleveland Board of Education, upon finding out of his criminal past, did in fact release him.

Mr. Donnelly was a mechanic for the Parma Board of Education.

He was required as a part of that job to have an annual eye examination.

He took and failed that eye examination.

He was given the opportunity to retake that exam.

He declined to do so, and he, too, was fired.

The most recent decisions--

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

How long had he been working before his discharge?

James G. Wyman:

--I am not sure of the actual length of employment.

He had been working for not a considerable length of time, but more than two or three years he had been employed.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

And his service, too, had been satisfactory?

James G. Wyman:

As far as I know, yes, that is true.