Bryant v. Gardner

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In Bryant v. Gardner, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18506 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 7, 2008), a federal court allowed a Section 1983 lawsuit to proceed on a theory of a deprivation of an "occupational liberty interest" by a public school coach. This relief is available to one who has been slandered by a public official.

Specifically, the trial court held that:

To sufficiently plead the deprivation of an occupational liberty interest, the plaintiff must allege: (1) the employer made stigmatizing comments; (2) the comments were publicly disclosed; and (3) the plaintiff suffered a tangible loss of other employment opportunities as a result. Townsend, 256 F.3d at 669-70. If all the elements necessary to make out an occupational liberty claim are met, the remedy is an opportunity to refute the charge, which allows the person an opportunity to "clear his name." Roth, 408 U.S. at 573 & n.12; see also Strasburger v. Bd. of Educ. Comm. Unit Sch. Dist. No. 1, 143 F.3d 351, 356 (7th Cir. 1998) ("[T]he remedy available to a discharged employee who proves all the elements of the cause of action is a name-clearing hearing.").