Upadhya v. Langenberg

834 F.2d 661 (1987)

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Upadhya v. Langenberg

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
834 F.2d 661 (1987)

Facts

Kamleshwar Upadhya (plaintiff) was hired by the University of Illinois (Illinois) as an assistant professor of engineering on a five-year tenure track. Pursuant to Illinois’s bylaws, Upadhya would receive a decision on tenure no later than five years after his appointment. Illinois would evaluate every professor on the tenure track annually. Upadhya, however, believed that during the recruitment process he was promised a full five years to demonstrate his ability and teaching skills. Two years after his appointment, Illinois opted not to renew Upadhya’s contract and offered him a terminal appointment for the following year. During the recruitment process, Upadhya negotiated with the department head, who explained the terms of his employment. Upadhya came away under the impression that five years was the minimum time, not the maximum time, before a decision would be made. Illinois’s bylaws, which were referenced in Upadhya’s contract, laid out employment terms and provided that only the president could vary the terms of employment with a special writing. Under the bylaws, nontenured appointments were reviewed every two years. Upadhya filed a suit in federal court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of his rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and seeking an order directing Illinois to retain him for the full five-year term. A district court issued a permanent injunction compelling Illinois to retain Upadhya until it could afford him sufficient due process of law. In doing so, the district court concluded that Upadhya had a protected property interest in his position that could not be taken away without a hearing. The district court issued this ruling even though Upadhya did not request a hearing.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Easterbrook, J.)

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