DOROTHY BERG v. IDA BERGER. - 439 U.S. 992 (1978)
U.S. Supreme Court
DOROTHY BERG v. IDA BERGER. , 439 U.S. 992 (1978)
439 U.S. 992
Dorothy BERG et al. v. Ida BERGER
Supreme Court of the United States
November 27, 1978
On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
The motion of respondent for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Mr. Justice POWELL, with whom Mr. Justice REHNQUIST joins, dissenting.
Respondent, a nontenured public school teacher, was dismissed from her job in May 1975, following months of disagreement and dissension with her supervisors. The situation came to a head about six weeks before her dismissal. An informal conference was arranged and respondent, accompanied by her counsel, met with several school administrators to discuss her performance as a teacher. Although the meeting lasted for some time, it was confined primarily to an extensive cross-examination by respondent's counsel of the school administrators. The meeting was terminated inconclusively because respondent's counsel insisted upon a " specific written statement of charges" as a precondition of his client's full participation in the meeting and "never allowed her to speak." *
______--- * Dr. Robinson, one of the defendants, took notes of the meeting. His record of the events leading to the adjournment of the meeting was as follows: "Mr. Ditowsky [counsel for Miss Berger]: Again, Dr. Robinson, I respectfully submit that since we do not have a specific written statement of charges, and furthermore, since the nature of some of these charges are components of a Court suit we already have against the Board of Education, I do not feel that my client's participation in this meeting is proper . . . . "Dr. Robinson : Mr. Ditowsky, will you allow your client to respond to any of the reported activities[?] "Mr. Ditowsky : Yes, I will allow her to respond, but only for the sake of accommodation. Further, I would like the record to show that there should be a Court reporter present, and the charges should be made specifically in writing. "(At this point the matter of impersonating a parent was discussed at great length. It turned into an extensive cross-examination by Mr. Ditowsky
After conferring among themselves, the administrators, petitioners here, decided that the problems arising from respondent's conduct were sufficiently severe to merit an immediate recommendation of dismissal to the Board of Education. Their report to the Board referred to over 90 memos respondent had written to her principals during the past year about urgent problems with her students, emergencies which upon investigation were determined to be nonexistent or exaggerated; over [439 U.S. 992 , 994]