Miller v. Weaver

In Miller v. Weaver, 2003 UT 12, 66 P.3d 592, the Court considered a statute stating that "'no civil action by or on behalf of a student relating to the professional competence or performance of a certified employee of a school district . . . may be brought in court until at least 60 days after the filing of a written complaint with the board of education.'" Id. (quoting Utah Code Ann. 53A-7-202(1) (1997)). The Court held that this language did not expressly provide a student or parent with a private cause of action against a teacher, stating that "we must require more than a mere allusion to 'civil actions' as evidence of a legislative intent to impart substantive rights." Id. To the contrary, the Court concluded that the whole thrust of this statute was unambiguously procedural. Id. Considering the statute in its entirety, the Court reasoned that a method for remedying statutory violations already existed in the form of an appeal to the school board and/or the State Board of Education. Id. The Court further held that it would be inconsistent with the legislature's statutory scheme to infer a private right of action for parents or students against a teacher from the statute. Id. The purpose of the statute was to create a state commission to hear complaints against teachers and take disciplinary action; allowing plaintiffs a cause of action under the statute would "'override . . . a system which the Legislature has at least tacitly, if not expressly, sanctioned.'" Id.