Delaware State College v. Ricks

PETITIONER: Delaware State College
LOCATION: Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club

DOCKET NO.: 79-939
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 449 US 250 (1980)
ARGUED: Oct 07, 1980
DECIDED: Dec 15, 1980

Judith E. Harris - on behalf of the Respondent
Miss Judith E. Harris - on behalf of the respondent
Nicholas H. Rodriguez - on behalf of the Petitioners

Facts of the case


Media for Delaware State College v. Ricks

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 07, 1980 in Delaware State College v. Ricks

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - December 15, 1980 in Delaware State College v. Ricks

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

In the next case, 79-939, Delaware State College against Ricks, a case here on a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

This involves the denial of academic tenure by Delaware State College to a faculty member.

It presents a question as to the effective date of this denial for the purpose of deciding whether the faculty member suit was timely filed.

He sought relief both under Title VII and under 42 U.S.C. (a), Section 1981.

The District Court dismissed respondent's complaint as untimely, but the Court of Appeals disagreed and reversed, the facts are set forth fully in our opinion filed today with the clerk and may not be stated in detail.

In brief summary, the faculty committee on promotions and tenure recommended denial.

The full Faculty Senate agreed and the Board of Trustee is formally voted not to grant tenure. Respondent as permitted by college rules filed a grievance seeking reconsideration.

In due of the official denial of tenure, the Board in accordance with its normal practice offered respondent a 1-year terminal contract that respondent accepted.

The question before us was which of several days was determinative with respect to the running of statutes of limitation.

We hold that the controlling date was no later than June 26, 1974 when respondent was advised formally of the official denial and that he was being offered a terminal contract.

We reject the argument that the date should be the last date of employment under the terminal contract.

We also reject the argument that at least it should have been no earlier than when respondent's grievance eventually was denied.

Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals.

Mr. Justice Stewart joined by Justice Brennan, and Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion.

Justice Stevens also has filed a dissenting opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Powell.