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Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

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Plaintiff June LaMarr was an office supervisor at UC Davis. She had performance issues and conflicts with her direct supervisor.  Her direct supervisor had drafted a notice of intent to dismiss, but never issued it after a director intervened.  The director gave LaMarr the option to work in another department in a non-supervisory role on a temporary basis; during this temporary period, she was paid her supervisor-level salary.  After a three-month temporary period in the new department, the director gave her an option to (1) stay with the new department in a non-supervisory role that paid less or (2) transfer back to her original department at a supervisor role but face the possibility of termination.  She opted to stay in the new department and made the nonsupervisory role permanent.  LaMarr then sued, alleging that The Regents should have conducted a hearing under Skelly v. State Personnel Bd. (1975) 15 Cal.3d 194 (Skelly) prior to her demotion.

After a bench trial, the superior court ruled in The Regents’ favor, holding that LaMarr voluntarily elected to stay in a nonsupervisory role that paid less, which did not trigger any right to a Skelly hearing. 

LaMarr appealed and The Regents retained Horvitz & Levy to respond to her appeal.  Horvitz & Levy convinced the Court of Appeal to affirm the favorable judgment. The court rejected LaMarr’s argument that employees must be afforded due process as soon as an employer considers an adverse employment action, agreeing that this would dramatically expand Skelly.  The court also held that, although LaMarr faced a difficult choice between a pay cut or the possibility of termination, “a difficult choice is not the same as an involuntary choice” that would trigger due process requirements.