760 F.2d 1158 (11th Cir. 1985), 84-7243, Harden v. Adams

Docket Nº:84-7243.
Citation:760 F.2d 1158
Party Name:T. Dewey HARDEN, Jr., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Ralph ADAMS, individually and as President of Troy State University, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:May 20, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
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Page 1158

760 F.2d 1158 (11th Cir. 1985)

T. Dewey HARDEN, Jr., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Ralph ADAMS, individually and as President of Troy State

University, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 84-7243.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

May 20, 1985

Page 1159

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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J. Victor Price, Jr., Montgomery, Ala., for plaintiff-appellant.

Richard F. Calhoun, Troy, Ala., Dow T. Huskey, Dothan, Ala., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

Before KRAVITCH and JOHNSON, Circuit Judges, and TUTTLE, Senior Circuit Judge.

JOHNSON, Circuit Judge:

T. Dewey Harden brought this action under 42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1983, for violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights in connection with his termination by Troy State University. The United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants. Because the district court erred in finding that four of these defendants were entitled to qualified or "good faith" immunity from the claims raised against them in their individual capacities, we reverse in part. We affirm the grant of summary judgment as to these defendants in their official capacities, and as to all other defendants in both their official and individual capacities.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

T. Dewey Harden was a tenured faculty member at Troy State University. On March 25, 1982, University administrators received a written complaint from Harden's Department Chairman concerning derogatory comments that Harden had made about him. This complaint prompted a series of discussions about Harden among University administrators. On May 6, 1982, Robert Paul, Vice-President of the University and Chief Executive Officer of the Dothan/Ft. Rucker branch of the University, notified Harden that he was terminated as of June 30, 1982. The grounds cited by Paul for the termination were:

  1. Unacceptable statements concerning the qualifications of the Chairman of the Department.

  2. Making or attempting to make extra charges to students beyond those fees listed in the quarterly schedule.

  3. Failure to keep adequate or required office hours.

  4. Failure to keep appointments with students.

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  5. Failure to submit course outlines as required.

  6. Failure to teach the course material as set out in the course outline.

  7. Failure to teach course material adequately.

  8. Continually bringing or requesting that food be brought into the classroom with students, after being requested not to do so.

  9. Requiring personal information and pictures from students, after being requested not to do so.

  10. Grievances from students regarding professional duties.

  11. Failure to follow established procedure for changing a grade.

  12. Advising students improper procedure for changing a grade.

  13. Advising students to draft a petition and get the signatures of other students in contravention of University policy.

  14. Advising students to draft a petition which was derogatory to the Chairman of the Department.

  15. Advising or agreeing the petition be taken to a local newspaper.

  16. Failure to follow established procedures by notifying students of grades given by another professor.

  17. Fomenting disharmony and dissension among the students and staff of the University in the handling and sponsorship of Gamma Beta Phi.

  18. Fomenting disharmony with administration of the University in writing letters to faculty, specifically, the March 1, 1982, letter.

  19. Alleged sexual impropriety.

  20. Making misleading or incorrect statements to the local news media.

    On May 14, 1982, Harden responded through his attorney to Ralph Adams, President of Troy State University. He asked to be afforded the administrative remedies available to him, and to have a clarification of the charges against him. On June 8, 1982, Adams advised Harden that he had delegated to Paul all authority to terminate faculty personnel, and administrative remedies would be handled through Paul's office. Unsatisfied by this response, Harden filed suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. On June 17, 1982, the same day the suit was filed, the University responded, stating that Harden would be granted a hearing before the Faculty Personnel Advisory Committee on June 30, 1982. On June 21, 1982, the Chairman of the Faculty Personnel Committee advised Harden in writing of all of the details of the hearing.

    At Harden's request, the hearing was rescheduled for July 7, 1982. Between that date and July 14, 1982, the Committee heard testimony and received documents from both parties. Harden was represented by his attorney and an AEA representative, and was permitted to call and cross-examine witnesses. On August 3, 1982, the Committee delivered its written decision, supporting the termination decision of which Harden had been notified. On August 31, 1982, Paul advised Harden in writing that, based upon the decision and recommendation of the Committee, his termination was final.

    A. The Course of Proceedings

    On June 17, 1982, Harden filed an action under 42 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1983, alleging that his termination from Troy State University violated his right to free speech and due process. The complaint named as defendants Troy State University; Ralph Adams, individually and as President of Troy State; Robert Paul, individually and as Vice-President of Troy State; and the members of the Board of Trustees, in their official and individual capacities. The complaint sought back pay, punitive damages, reinstatement and injunctive relief.

    On August 31, 1982, appellees filed their answer to the complaint. They amended their answer on September 10, 1982, adding several grounds of defense. On September 13, 1982, appellant was granted leave to amend, and did amend his complaint, adding as defendants Troy State Deans Grimmer, Thornton and Kirkland, in their official

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    and individual capacities. Appellees answered this amended complaint on October 25, 1982.

    A pretrial conference was held on September 1, 1982. An order was issued pursuant to this hearing on September 3, 1982. This order was amended to limit appellant's right to a jury trial to the issue of damages, and to reserve to the court the right to determine the issue of liability, after appellees filed a motion requesting such limitation.

    On November 12, 1982, the members of the Board of Trustees of Troy State University moved for summary judgment. This motion was granted January 14, 1983. On January 28, 1983, Troy State University moved for summary judgment. This motion was granted on March 29, 1983. On July 6, 1983, Grimmer, Kirkland and Thornton moved for summary judgment. Their motion was granted on September 27, 1983. On January 12, 1984, Adams moved for summary judgment. The motion was granted by the trial court on March 19, 1984. On February 16, 1984, the last appellee, Robert Paul, moved for summary judgment. On March 19, 1984, the court granted this motion. In each case appellant was ordered to respond, and did in fact respond, to appellees' motions.

    On March 2, 1984, appellant filed a motion for summary...

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