Cleveland Board Of Education v. Loudermill

470 U.S. 532 (1985)


Loudermill (P) was hired as a security guard for the Cleveland Board of Education (D) in 1979. D discovered that he had falsified data on his employment application claiming that he had never been convicted of a felony. P was convicted of grand larceny in 1968. He was fired for his dishonesty and without a pretermination hearing. P was not afforded an opportunity to respond to the charge of dishonesty or to challenge his dismissal. D adopted a resolution approving the discharge. Under law in the state of Ohio, P could be discharged only for cause. Donnelly (P) was a bus mechanic and was fired because he had failed an eye examination. He was offered a chance to retake the examination but did not do so. P appealed to the Civil Service Commission. After a year of wrangling about the timeliness of his appeal, the Commission heard the case. It ordered P reinstated, though without backpay. P challenged the constitutionality of the dismissal procedures. The District Court dismissed for failure to state a claim, relying on its opinion in Loudermill. The cases were consolidated for appeal. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed in part and remanded. After rejecting arguments that the actions were barred by failure to exhaust administrative remedies and by res judicata, the Court of Appeals found that both Ps had been deprived of due process. It disagreed with the District Court's original rationale. It concluded that the compelling private interest in retaining employment, combined with the value of presenting evidence prior to dismissal, outweighed the added administrative burden of a pretermination hearing. With regard to the alleged deprivation of liberty, and Loudermill's (P), 9-month wait for an administrative decision, the court affirmed the District Court, finding no constitutional violation. Both Ds petitioned for certiorari. In a cross-petition, Loudermill (P) sought review of the rulings adverse to him. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.