Fields v. Kelly, No. 92-1346

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore JOHN R. GIBSON and MAGILL; JOHN R. GIBSON
Citation986 F.2d 225
PartiesHorace FIELDS, Appellant, v. John D. KELLY, a member of the North Dakota State Bar Board in both his individual and official capacities; Malcolm H. Brown, a member of the North Dakota State Bar Board, in both his individual and official capacities; Gerald D. Galloway, a member of the North Dakota State Bar Board, in both his individual and official capacities; North Dakota State Bar Board, and for the purposes of the injunctive relief sought herein, an administrative agency of the State of North Dakota, established by an Act of the North Dakota Legislative Assembly, Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 92-1346
Decision Date17 February 1993

Page 225

986 F.2d 225
Horace FIELDS, Appellant,
v.
John D. KELLY, a member of the North Dakota State Bar Board
in both his individual and official capacities; Malcolm H.
Brown, a member of the North Dakota State Bar Board, in both
his individual and official capacities; Gerald D. Galloway,
a member of the North Dakota State Bar Board, in both his
individual and official capacities; North Dakota State Bar
Board, and for the purposes of the injunctive relief sought
herein, an administrative agency of the State of North
Dakota, established by an Act of the North Dakota
Legislative Assembly, Appellees.
No. 92-1346.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eighth Circuit.
Submitted Nov. 12, 1992.
Decided Feb. 17, 1993.

Page 226

David C. Thompson, Fargo, ND, for appellant.

James S. Hill, Bismarck, ND, for appellee.

Before JOHN R. GIBSON and MAGILL, Circuit Judges, and BOGUE, * District Judge.

JOHN R. GIBSON, Circuit Judge.

Horace Fields, who failed the North Dakota bar examination, sued the North Dakota Bar Board and its members under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1988) for deprivation of property without due process. The district court 1 dismissed the complaint and Fields appeals. He argues first that he presented a material issue of fact as to whether the Bar Board raised the passing score for an improper reason, and second that the Bar Board denied him due process and equal protection by not permitting him free access to the Multistate Bar Examination questions and answers. We affirm the judgment of the district court.

Having already failed the Virginia bar six times, Horace Fields, a 1971 Howard University School of Law graduate, sat for the North Dakota bar in July 1987. The North Dakota bar examination consisted of a six question essay examination and the Multistate Bar Examination, which is a 200 question multiple choice test used by most states. National Conference of Bar Examiners, The Bar Examiners' Handbook 30:1, 30:401 (Stuart Duhl ed., 3d ed. 1991). The essay and multiple choice portions are scaled so the two scores can be averaged. To pass the examination an applicant must achieve an average score of 130. Fields received a scaled score of 88 on the essay section and 88 on the Multistate section. His average score, obviously, was 88. Fields' Multistate score was the second lowest ever recorded in North Dakota and his essay score was the lowest since 1984.

The North Dakota Bar Board notified Fields that he had failed the examination and that it would recommend to the North Dakota Supreme Court that Fields not be admitted to the bar. Fields requested that his Multistate be hand scored; this procedure did not alter his score. Pursuant to Rule 6 of the North Dakota Admission to Practice Rules, Fields requested review of the Board's negative recommendation, and the Board set a hearing date. By telephone Fields requested a continuance of the hearing, which the Board denied; the Board proceeded in its review without Fields in attendance, and confirmed its original negative recommendation. Fields did not appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court, as he was entitled to do under Rule 6(C), 2 but permitted the time for appeal to expire.

As part of the Bar Board review procedure under Rule 6, Fields was provided

Page 227

with copies of the North Dakota essay questions, model answers, and copies of his own answers. Rule 6 did not provide for review of the Multistate. After time for appeal of the Board's decision had expired, Fields requested access to the Multistate examination and his answers. The Bar Board at first refused to grant Fields any access because he had no appeal proceeding pending, but after Fields' counsel argued the issue at a meeting of the Board, the Board granted permission for Fields or his counsel to review the examination papers under the guidelines established by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, that is, under supervision and without taking notes.

Fields then brought this suit against the Board and its members, alleging that the Bar Board denied him due process and equal...

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...guidelines established by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, i.e., under supervision and without taking notes. See Fields v. Kelly, 986 F.2d 225, 227 (8th Cir 1993). Under proposed paragraph (g), an unsuccessful applicant would schedule an opportunity to review, i.e., inspect the exa......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...guidelines established by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, i.e., under supervision and without taking notes. See Fields v. Kelly, 986 F.2d 225, 227 (8th Cir 1993). Under proposed paragraph (g), an unsuccessful applicant would schedule an opportunity to review, i.e., inspect the exa......
  • Stevenson v. Blytheville Sch. Dist. No. 5, Case No. 3:13CV00127 KGB.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Arkansas
    • July 1, 2013
    ...are adequate state procedures available in which the plaintiff can seek redress, due process is satisfied. See, e.g., Fields v. Kelly, 986 F.2d 225, 228 (8th Cir.1993) (adequate post-deprivation remedy available under North Dakota law through application for writ of mandamus). This Court qu......
  • Peterson v. North Dakota ex rel. N.D. University, Case No. Al-02-82.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of North Dakota
    • January 3, 2003
    ...due process claim based upon alleged biased post-termination decision makers where state court review was available); Fields v. Kelly, 986 F.2d 225 (8th Cir.1993) (adequate post-deprivation remedy available under North Dakota law through application for writ of mandamus). Bremiller v. Cleve......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 cases
  • Stevenson v. Blytheville Sch. Dist. No. 5, Case No. 3:13CV00127 KGB.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Arkansas
    • July 1, 2013
    ...are adequate state procedures available in which the plaintiff can seek redress, due process is satisfied. See, e.g., Fields v. Kelly, 986 F.2d 225, 228 (8th Cir.1993) (adequate post-deprivation remedy available under North Dakota law through application for writ of mandamus). This Court qu......
  • Peterson v. North Dakota ex rel. N.D. University, Case No. Al-02-82.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of North Dakota
    • January 3, 2003
    ...due process claim based upon alleged biased post-termination decision makers where state court review was available); Fields v. Kelly, 986 F.2d 225 (8th Cir.1993) (adequate post-deprivation remedy available under North Dakota law through application for writ of mandamus). Bremiller v. Cleve......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT