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County of Dallas v. Wiland – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In County of Dallas v. Wiland, 124 S.W.3d 390 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2003, pet. granted), three deputy constables, terminated by Dupree's decision not to swear them into office for another term, sued the County under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 alleging violations of their procedural and substantive due process rights by the County's failure to allow them the protections of the grievance procedure when it terminated them. Id. at 393-94.

As it did to appellee, the civil service commission had deemed their terminations not "grievable" and took no action on their grievances. Id. at 394.

Wiland, however, did not concern a plea to the jurisdiction, and none of the deputy constables in Wiland brought a cause of action under the Anti-Retaliation Law.

The issues in Wiland were the trial court's summary judgment on liability in favor of the deputy constables, the denial of the City's motion for summary judgment on liability, the jury trial on the deputy constables' damages, and the bench trial on their attorney's fees. Wiland, 124 S.W.3d at 393-94.

Thus, the issues in Wiland were whether the deputy constables' motion for summary judgment had proved the deprivation of their due process rights as a matter of law, whether the City had proved its lack of liability as a matter of law, and whether the deputy constables presented legally and factually sufficient evidence of damages and attorney's fees. See generally id. at 390-404. The issue of whether the deputy constables had exhausted any administrative remedy before bringing suit was not before the Court. See generally id.

In Wiland, the Court held the Dallas County deputy constables, according to the provisions of the Local Government Code and the County's personnel policies implemented under the provisions of the Local Government Code, had a constitutionally protected property interest in their employment, were protected by the County's civil service system, could not be terminated except for the reasons set out in its personnel policies, and were entitled to the notice and hearings provided by the civil service system under its grievance procedures. Wiland, 124 S.W.3d at 397-99.