Hill v. Talladega College

502 So. 2d 735 (1987)

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Hill v. Talladega College

Alabama Supreme Court
502 So. 2d 735 (1987)

Facts

Linda Hill, Belinda G. Heglar, and Howard L. Rogers (collectively, the teachers) (plaintiffs) were all employed as teachers at Talladega College (Talladega) (defendant) with one-year contracts. The teachers received letters informing them that Talladega would not be renewing their contracts for the following school year. The letters were received before the end of the contract term. Talladega eventually paid each teacher the full amount he or she was entitled to under their contract. Talladega had referenced standards promulgated by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in its faculty handbook and other documents. The standards established procedural safeguards to be followed whenever a university was questioning the fitness of a tenured professor or a professor whose term had not expired. The teachers filed separate lawsuits in district court, alleging breach of contract and wrongful termination. The teachers’ argument was twofold: (1) the AAUP standards, although not explicitly referenced in their contract, became part of their contract; and (2) the AAUP standards should have applied because they received their letters before their terms expired. The teachers all appealed after summary judgment was granted against them.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Torbert, C.J.)

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