University of Colorado v. Silverman
Colorado Supreme Court
555 P.2d 1155, 192 Colo. 75 (1976)
Linda Silverman (plaintiff) was employed as a professor pursuant to a one-year contract for the University of Colorado (defendant). While still employed, Silverman received a letter from the university’s associate dean that she would be reappointed for a second year if the following two conditions were met: (1) the grant under which Silverman was hired was renewed, and (2) the faculty in her division recommended that Silverman be reappointed. Two months after receiving the letter, Silverman was notified that she would not be reappointed because the university would open the position to other applicants, but Silverman was welcome to reapply. Silverman filed a grievance with the university’s faculty committee on privilege and tenure, which recommended that Silverman be reappointed to her position. The university president did not submit the recommendation to the university’s board of regents, which had been granted legislative authority to hire university personnel, and Silverman was not reappointed. Silverman filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging breach of contract, estoppel, and deprivation of a property interest without due process. Specifically, Silverman alleged that the letter she received from the university’s associate dean created an employment contract once the two conditions of reappointment were met. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, and Silverman appealed to the state court of appeals. The court of appeals reversed the dismissal, ruling (1) that the board of regents could delegate its hiring authority to university officials; (2) that estoppel could be invoked against the university; and (3) that Silverman was deprived of a property interest without due process by the university president’s failure to submit the committee’s recommendation to reappoint Silverman to the board of regents. The university appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lee, J.)
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