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April 18, 2019

Loudermill Notice of Public Employee Termination

Case: Paul Zachary Moss v. Shelby County Civil Service Merit Board
Facts: Employee was terminated from his employment with the Shelby County Fire Department after he was involved in a physical altercation at a political rally.

Appellate Decision: The intermediate court reversed, finding that the employee’s due process rights were violated because he was not given proper notice of the charges against him. The notice apprised him of two charges: his conviction for a felony and his failure to provide notice of arrest. Those charges were not proven, in part because the employee received judicial diversion and was not convicted. The Board instead essentially argued that the employee’s behavior in the incident giving rise to his arrest warranted termination. While the court noted that this could have been grounds for termination, the notice was insufficient and violated his due process rights because the notice did not specify such grounds as the reason termination was sought.

Review Granted: February 25, 2019.

Prediction: Ben thinks the Supreme Court will likely affirm for the reasons explained by the intermediate court.