Payne v. Ballard, 84-2462

Citation761 F.2d 491
Decision Date09 May 1985
Docket NumberNo. 84-2462,84-2462
Parties24 Ed. Law Rep. 1121 Ken PAYNE, Appellant, v. J. Barry BALLARD, Director, Arkansas Vocational Technical Education; Wayne Hartsfield, Chairman, State Board of Vocational Education; Dianne Farquhar, Chairman Ad Hoc Committee and Personnel Administrator Vocational Technical Educational Division Department of Education; Cotton Boll Vocational Technical School; and William Nelson, Jr., Director, Cotton Boll Vocational Technical School, Appellees.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)

Marc I. Baretz, West Memphis, Ark., for appellant.

C.R. McNair, Asst. Atty. Gen., Little Rock, Ark., for appellees.

Before BRIGHT, ARNOLD and FAGG, Circuit Judges.

ARNOLD, Circuit Judge.

The plaintiff Ken Payne alleges that his dismissal as a drafting instructor at the Cotton Boll Vocational Technical School in Blytheville, Arkansas, violated his due-process rights. Specifically, he claims that his rights were violated because the defendants did not allow him to cross-examine witnesses or to have the witnesses testify under oath at the hearing which led to his termination. We hold that Payne failed to prove a due-process property or liberty interest and therefore affirm the District Court's 1 denial of relief. 595 F.Supp. 878.

Payne was hired in 1979 as a drafting instructor at the Cotton Boll School, without a written contract of employment. He continued teaching until his termination on October 26, 1982. Payne's trouble began when he refused to follow an order of the Director of the school, William Nelson, Jr. In late August 1982, high school students attended one of Payne's drafting classes but failed to return for subsequent classes. Nelson told Payne on several occasions to contact the students about returning to class, but Payne refused to do so because he believed their leaving was not his fault. On August 27, Nelson placed Payne on probation for refusing to carry out his order.

Payne then initiated the Vocational Education Department's grievance and appeal procedure to contest his being placed on probation. This procedure went through three steps, the first being a telephone hearing conducted by Diane Farquhar, a personnel officer, on September 24, 1982, resulting in affirmance of the probation decision. Payne then appealed to step two, and on October 6, 1982, an ad hoc committee appointed by Dr. J. Barry Ballard, Director of the Vocational Education Department, met at the Cotton Boll School and held a hearing. At this hearing, plaintiff brought up the issue of an alleged schedule change, and, after hearing discussion about it from all sides, the ad hoc committee formed the opinion that Payne had put into effect a schedule change in violation of instructions given him by the Assistant Director of the school, June Walters. For this reason, the ad hoc committee went beyond the probation decision previously made by Nelson and decided that Payne should be dismissed. This decision was affirmed at step three of the grievance and appeal procedure, a hearing before the State Board of Vocational Education.

Payne brought suit under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 with a pendent state-law claim for violation of the grievance procedure. The District Court denied relief. Payne now appeals this holding. 2

Payne concedes that he had no written contract, and that no rule or regulation of the Vocational Education Board specified that his employment would be for any particular period of time, or that he could not be terminated unless certain substantive criteria were met. He contends, however, that certain understandings between him and his superiors were sufficiently definite to create a property interest. He testified that...

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16 cases
  • Skeets v. Johnson, 85-1761
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • December 18, 1986
    ...not in themselves create a property interest in employment."); Rogers v. Masem, 788 F.2d 1288, 1294-95 (8th Cir.1985); Payne v. Ballard, 761 F.2d 491, 493 (8th Cir.1985) (stating that "[t]here must also be an undertaking ... by the employer not to discharge the employee for a certain fixed ......
  • Jones v. McNeese
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • July 5, 2012 “ ‘that the defendants made the reasons public.’ ” Hogue v. Clinton, 791 F.2d 1318, 1322 (8th Cir.1986) (quoting Payne v. Ballard, 761 F.2d 491, 493 (8th Cir.1985)). With regard to making the accusations public, “a personnel file replete with wrongdoing may be a sufficient publication ......
  • Weigand v. Spadt, No. 4:03CV3040.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • May 12, 2004
    ...employee asserting violation of a liberty interest must further show that his employer made those reasons public. See Payne v. Ballard, 761 F.2d 491, 493 (8th Cir.1985)." Allen v. City of Pocahontas, 340 F.3d 551, 556 (8th Cir.2003), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 124 S.Ct. 1420, 158 L.Ed.2d 8......
  • Hogue v. Clinton, 85-1573
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • July 15, 1986
    ...see also Pollock v. Baxter Manor Nursing Home, 716 F.2d 545, 547 (8th Cir.1983) (per curiam) (Pollock II ). 4 In Payne v. Ballard, 761 F.2d 491, 493 (8th Cir.1985), this court stated that for the plaintiff to establish a liberty interest, "he must show that the reasons for discharge stigmat......
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