655 F.2d 552 (4th Cir. 1981), 80-1198, Wooten v. Clifton Forge School Bd.

Docket Nº:80-1198, 80-1199.
Citation:655 F.2d 552
Party Name:Wasena WOOTEN, Appellant, v. CLIFTON FORGE SCHOOL BOARD; P. E. Truitt, Jr.; Irene Williams; Elvin Nicely; Michael R. Scott; Aubrey C. Hall; George J. Kostel, Executor of the Estate of Peter Kostel; Janie Barnett and Julius S. Garbett, Appellees. Wasena WOOTEN, Appellee, v. CLIFTON FORGE SCHOOL BOARD; P. E. Truitt, Jr.; Irene Williams; Elvin Nicely;
Case Date:July 21, 1981
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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Page 552

655 F.2d 552 (4th Cir. 1981)

Wasena WOOTEN, Appellant,

v.

CLIFTON FORGE SCHOOL BOARD; P. E. Truitt, Jr.; Irene

Williams; Elvin Nicely; Michael R. Scott; Aubrey C. Hall;

George J. Kostel, Executor of the Estate of Peter Kostel;

Janie Barnett and Julius S. Garbett, Appellees.

Wasena WOOTEN, Appellee,

v.

CLIFTON FORGE SCHOOL BOARD; P. E. Truitt, Jr.; Irene

Williams; Elvin Nicely; Michael R. Scott; Aubrey C. Hall;

George J. Kostel, Executor of the Estate of Peter Kostel;

Janie Barnett and Julius S. Garbett, Appellants.

Nos. 80-1198, 80-1199.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

July 21, 1981

Argued April 7, 1981.

Page 553

Dennis Montgomery, Roanoke, Va., for Wasena Wooten.

Joseph A. Matthews, Jr., Roanoke, Va. (William B. Poff, Woods, Rogers, Muse, Walker & Thornton, Roanoke, Va., on brief), for Clifton Forge School Board, et al.

Page 554

Before WINTER, Chief Judge, BRYAN, Senior Circuit Judge, and BUTZNER, Circuit Judge.

BUTZNER, Circuit Judge;

In this suit brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Wasena Wooten appeals the order of the district court dismissing his claim against the Clifton Forge School Board. Wooten asserts that the Board violated his fourteenth amendment rights to procedural due process when it reassigned him from the position of principal at Clifton Forge High School to the position of teacher. The Board appeals the district court's denial of its motion for attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988. We affirm the district court on both issues.

I

Wooten was the first and only black principal to serve at Clifton Forge. He received a "continuing" contract after the 1976-77 school year. In April, 1979, the Board notified Wooten that he had been reassigned to a teaching position for the next school year. The reassignment reduced Wooten's salary by approximately 25%. Wooten, through his counsel, requested written explanation and an opportunity to be heard regarding this reassignment. He was advised through the Board's counsel that his request was denied, as the Board believed state law did not require either a hearing or a statement of reasons.

Wooten then brought this suit in the district court, alleging first that the procedures by which he was reassigned failed to satisfy the due process requirements of the fourteenth amendment, and second, that the Board had unconstitutionally discriminated on the basis of race in its reassignment. Prior to trial...

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