Chavez v. Roosevelt School District #66, 110719 AZAPP1, 1 CA-CV 19-0145

Docket Nº:1 CA-CV 19-0145
Opinion Judge:McMURDIE, JUDGE
Party Name:THOMAS M. CHAVEZ, Plaintiff/Appellant, v. ROOSEVELT SCHOOL DISTRICT #66, Defendant/Appellee.
Attorney:Thomas M. Chavez, Phoenix Plaintiff/Appellant Gust Rosenfeld P.L.C., Phoenix By Charles W. Wirken and Robert D. Haws Counsel for Defendant/Appellee
Judge Panel:Judge Paul J. McMurdie delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Samuel A. Thumma and Judge Jennifer M. Perkins joined.
Case Date:November 07, 2019
Court:Court of Appeals of Arizona
 
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THOMAS M. CHAVEZ, Plaintiff/Appellant,

v.

ROOSEVELT SCHOOL DISTRICT #66, Defendant/Appellee.

No. 1 CA-CV 19-0145

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

November 7, 2019

Not for Publication - Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV2018-012833 The Honorable Daniel J. Kiley, Judge

Thomas M. Chavez, Phoenix Plaintiff/Appellant

Gust Rosenfeld P.L.C., Phoenix By Charles W. Wirken and Robert D. Haws Counsel for Defendant/Appellee

Judge Paul J. McMurdie delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Samuel A. Thumma and Judge Jennifer M. Perkins joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

McMURDIE, JUDGE

¶1 Thomas Chavez appeals the superior court's dismissal of his complaint challenging his termination as wrongful and for defamation. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶2 In October 2018, the Roosevelt School District ("District") terminated Chavez's employment for unprofessional conduct. The District's hearing officer concluded that Chavez: displayed unprofessional conduct, possessed weapons on school property, had improper interactions with students and parents, failed to use appropriate methods for student management, and violated District policies and regulations. The hearing officer determined these were enough grounds to dismiss Chavez as an employee of the District and recommended his termination. The District accepted the recommendation and terminated Chavez's employment.

¶3 Chavez filed a civil complaint in the superior court on November 6, 2018. Chavez sought relief for his termination and asserted claims including: defamation, wrongful termination, false and frivolous accusations made with the intent to damage or destroy professional reputation, racial and political discrimination, retaliation, and breach of contract. The District moved to dismiss the complaint arguing that the superior court did not have jurisdiction to decide the matter because Chavez did not appeal the District's decision, as required by Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 15-543.

¶4 The superior court granted the District's motion to dismiss because Chavez did not appropriately exhaust his administrative remedies before filing a civil action. Chavez timely appealed. The District argues in its answering brief that we do not have jurisdiction over this case if we treat "Chavez's suit [as] an appeal from the...

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