Plaintiff was an independent contractor nurse with the California prison medical care system.?? She received a negative assessment of her performance, which she alleges was without merit and unwarranted.? ?Thereafter she was terminated from her position without notice and without any opportunity to respond to allegations against her.? ?After being terminated, Plaintiff applied for other work with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. She was informed by a ?third party? that she had poor recommendations and was no longer qualified.
Plaintiff filed suit alleging inter alia that she was denied property and liberty without due process? of law.??? The trial? court? dismissed the federal claims and remanded the state claims to state court. ?The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. The? Ninth ?Circuit ?recognized ?that ?Before?? the?? state?? deprives? ?someone?? of? ?a protected ?property? interest, ??the ?right ?to ?some kind of prior hearing is paramount.? (citing Bd. of Regents of State Colleges v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 569?70 (1972)). ??Property interests . . . are created and their dimensions are defined by existing rules or understandings that stem from an independent source such as state law-rules or understandings that secure certain benefits and that support claims of entitlement to those benefits.? Id. ?Government employees can have a protected property interest in their continued employment if they have a legitimate claim to tenure or if the terms of the employment make it clear that the employee can be fired only for cause.?? The Court ruled that as an independent contractor Plaintiff?s unilateral expectation that employment would continue was not sufficient to create an entitlement to employment, and therefore there was not a property interest in continued employment.? ??We hold that a state agency does not create constitutionally protected property interests for its independent? contractors simply by instituting performance review procedures.?? ?To create such an interest for an independent ?contractor, ?the? State? must affirmatively grant tenure or that termination can occur only for cause.
The Court also recognized that a ?public employer can violate an employee?s rights by terminating the employee if in so doing, the employer makes a charge ?that might seriously damage [the terminated employee?s] standing and associations in his community? or ?impose[s] on [a terminated employee] a stigma or other disability that foreclose[s] his freedom to take advantage of other opportunities.?? (Citing Tibbetts v. Kulongoski, 567 F.3d 529, 536 (9th Cir. 2009)). But liberty interests are only implicated when the stigmatizing statement prevents the employee from work in their chosen profession; all employment in the field.? ?In this case, it was only alleged that Plaintiff? could? not ?obtain? employment ?with? the State Department of Corrections, and not all government ?employment ?more? generally.?? ?This was insufficient to survive a motion for summary judgment.
Blantz ?v. ?California ?Department ?of ?Corrections, they are all in custody.? ?Plaintiff complained to the Lieutenant again, who responded that he ?didn?t want to hear this shit again? and that he was ?tired of all the B.S.?
Several months thereafter an Internal Affairs ?(IA)? investigation ?commenced concerning the alleged police misconduct. Plaintiff was threatened not to say anything to IA. ?After being interviewed by IA, Plaintiff was repeatedly harassed and intimidated by fellow officers.?? Plaintiff was informed that a federal investigation might be forthcoming and was warned not to say anything.?? Shortly thereafter Plaintiff was confronted by one the officers accused of misconduct. ?The officer retrieved his gun from its holster, looked at Plaintiff, and told him, ?I?m not a fucking cheese eating rat? and then commented that he was not afraid of being suspended or fired.?? The officer leaned forward and said, ?Fuck with me and I will put a case on you, and put you in jail. I put all kinds of people in jail, especially anyone who fucks with me!? Plaintiff reported this incident to the Burbank Police Officers? Association president, who reported it to the Burbank City Manager.?? The following month Plaintiff was placed on administrative leave pending discipline.
????? ??F.3d ?? ? ? ? ?(9th ?Cir. Aug. 15, 2013) (Fisher, Plaintiff ?filed ?suit ?alleging ?that ?he ?was Silverman, Thomas)