Stachura (plaintiff), a tenured teacher, showed allegedly sexually explicit pictures and films to his seventh grade class. He was suspended by the Memphis Community School District (MCSD) (defendant) and he brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivation of his liberty and property without due process of law. The jury found in his favor and, based on the trial court’s jury instructions, awarded Stachura not only compensatory and punitive damages, but also additional compensatory damages based on the value or importance of the violated constitutional rights. The court of appeals affirmed. MCSD appealed and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari on the issue of damages only.