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University of Tennessee v. Elliot
United States Supreme Court
478 U.S. 788 (1986)
Robert Elliot (plaintiff) was discharged by the University of Tennessee (the University) (defendant) from his job in the Agricultural Extension Service for inadequate performance and misconduct. Elliot utilized Tennessee’s administrative-law process to request a hearing to challenge his termination. Elliot simultaneously sued the University in federal court under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging his termination was racially motivated. During the administrative-law proceedings, a five-month extensive investigation was conducted that analyzed the testimony of over 100 witnesses, the University’s 10 allegations of inadequate performance and misconduct, and Elliot’s evidence that his discharge was motivated by racial prejudice. The administrative-law judge ordered that Elliot be reassigned instead of discharged and found that the discharge was not motivated by racial animus. Elliot then resumed his case in federal court under the federal civil-rights statute. The district court granted the University’s motion for summary judgment on res judicata grounds. The court of appeals reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
Concurrence/Dissent (Stevens, J.)
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