North Carolina teachers whose contracts aren’t renewed by their school districts have the right to challenge those decisions in state court. That doesn’t mean they give up their right to sue later in federal court. In effect, teachers get two bites at the apple.
Recent case: Walter Whitaker was a probationary teacher in North Carolina. When the school district chose not to renew his contract, Whitaker sued in state court. He lost and then filed a federal suit alleging disability and other discrimination claims.
The school district tried to have the case dismissed, since Whitaker had already forced them into state court appeals.
But the 4th Circuit refused. The federal judge pointed out that, under state law, Whitaker had no right to a jury or discovery, among other things. Therefore, the judge reasoned the earlier case didn’t bar his federal lawsuit. (Whitaker v. Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education, No. 11-2060, 4th Cir., 2012)
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