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Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill

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Constitutional Law Keyed to Stone

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Citation. 470 U.S. 532, 105 S. Ct. 1487, 84 L. Ed. 2d 494, 1985 U.S. 68.

Brief Fact Summary. A State Board of Education fired an employee, without first giving him a hearing, for lying on a job application. Under Ohio law, the employee could only be terminated for cause. Respondent challenged the constitutionality of the termination procedures.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. While a State may elect not to confer a property interest in public employment, it may not constitutionally deprive one of such an interest, once conferred, without the appropriate procedural safeguards.


Facts. The Cleveland Board of Education (the “Board”) hired Respondent, James Loudermill, as a security guard. On his job application to the Board, Respondent stated that he had never been convicted of a felony. In fact, as the Board later discovered, he had been convicted of grand larceny. As a result, the Board informed Respondent by letter that he had been dismissed from his job for lying. Respondent was not given the opportunity to challenge the charge of dishonesty or the dismissal. Under Ohio law, Respondent was a “classified civil servant”, which meant that he could only be terminated for cause and with the opportunity for administrative review. Respondent challenged the Board’s termination procedures under the United States Constitution.

Issue. Was the pre-termination process afforded Respondent in accordance with Due Process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution?
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