Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tenth Circuit: Jury Got It Right---Charter School Did Not Violate Teacher's Right When It Banned Gossip and Discussions about School

In Dillon v. Twin Peaks Charter Academy, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a jury verdict against a teacher's claims of violation of her free speech and association rights by a charter school.  The teacher claimed that the charter school's ban on gossip and command "forbidding teachers from discussing school matters outside of school" were unconstitutional.  The jury rejected her case and the district court awarded the charter school its costs.  The Tenth Circuit found no harmful errors in the proceedings and affirmed the trial court's rulings and the jury verdict.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tenth Circuit: No Claim When Deputy Quit Rather than Accept Reassignment

In Lauck v. Campbell County, the Tenth Circuit upheld a district court's ruling that dismissed a case against a sheriff's department brought by a deputy after he was reassigned to the Civil Process Division.  Although the deputy claimed that his reassignment constituted a demotion, because his pay and rank were the same before the transfer, the court held that the reassignment under the facts of this case did not constitute a breach of contract, a constructive discharge without due process, or a violation of First Amendment rights.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tenth Circuit: Because Police Officer Was Given An Extensive Opportunity to Rebut Claims He Had No Complaint

In Skogen v. Overland Park, the Tenth Circuit ruled that a police officer who had been terminated for off-duty conduct had no complaint for a violation of due process because an extensive investigation was conducted before he was fired. The court also concluded that the police department had a significant interest in preserving the integrity of its police department that were served by the termination.

The Utah Compact on Immigration is Making a National Impression

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Utah Court of Appeals: An Employee Who Requested to Rescind Resignation Still Considered to Have Quit Without Good Cause

In Issa v. DWS, the Utah Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Workforce Appeals Board which denied unemployment benefits to an employee who attempted to rescind his resignation.  The employee had resigned his employment after he was told he would be suspended for three days while the company investigated a second customer complaint.  Rather than accept the suspension, the employee told his employer that he was quitting.  Two days later, the employee told his employer that he had changed his mind, but the employer refused to accept the rescission and told him that it had accepted his resignation.  The employee argued that such a situation did not constitute quitting without good cause.  The Board disagreed and the Utah Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Board.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tenth Circuit: Municipality Not Liable for Employing Badly Trained Forensic Expert

In Bryson v. Oklahoma City, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Oklahoma City had no liability for its failure to properly supervise and train an expert forensic chemist who had testified in a trial that DNA from the plaintiff was found on a rape victim even though the tests clearly exonerated the plaintiff. As a result of the testimony of the expert, the plaintiff had spent twenty years in prison.
      Despite the Tenth Circuit's sympathy to the plaintiff and the fact that if found "it deplorable that the conditions that led to his unjust confinement were permitted to continue for so long a time after the City was put on notice of the deficiencies in its forensic laboratory program," the court was not "persuaded . . . that it was highly predictable or plainly obvious that a forensic chemist would decide to falsify test reports and conceal evidence if she received only nine months of on-the-job training and was not supervised by an individual with a background in forensic science." Therefore, the court concluded the city was not deliberately indifferent and could not be liable for the employee's acts.

Employers Are Cutting Back on Holiday Parties