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Carlton v. University of North Carolina at Hill

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

October 1, 2019

SHAUNNA L. CARLTON, Petitioner,
v.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL, Respondent.

          Heard in the Court of Appeals 18 September 2019.

          Appeal by Petitioner from final decision entered 28 August 2018 by Judge Donald W. Overby in the Office of Administrative Hearings. No. 18 OSP 03853

          Law Office of Shiloh Daum, by Shiloh Daum, for Petitioner-Appellant.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Vanessa N. Totten, for Respondent-Appellee.

          DILLON, JUDGE.

         Petitioner Shaunna L. Carlton is an employee of Respondent University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ("UNC"). She was terminated, but then reinstated with back pay. Notwithstanding her reinstatement, she commenced a contested case in the Office of Administrative Hearings ("OAH"). The OAH dismissed her case, and she appeals this dismissal to our Court.

         I. Background

         Ms. Carlton was employed by UNC as a Human Resources Consultant for approximately fifteen (15) years with no history of discipline. In January 2017, Ms. Carlton sought and was approved for medical leave due to a temporary disability.

         In June 2017, shortly after Ms. Carlton's return, she was dismissed from her position as a Human Resources Consultant. Ms. Carlton timely filed a grievance.

         On 23 May 2018, UNC reinstated Ms. Carlton. Specifically, at the conclusion of an internal grievance process, UNC issued a Final University Decision, finding "that there was not just cause to support the disciplinary decision of dismissal," but "that there was not sufficient evidence to support [Ms. Carlton's] claim that [her] dismissal was based on [her] disability." In so finding, UNC "reverse[d] the dismissal and reinstate[d Ms. Carlton] to employment[.]"

         Despite her reinstatement, Ms. Carlton filed a Petition for Contested Case Hearing with the OAH, citing to a lack of progress "in the reinstatement process[.]" UNC motioned to dismiss her Petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, and for failure to state a claim.

         The OAH issued a Final Decision Order of Dismissal ("Final Decision"), dismissing Ms. Carlton's contested case with prejudice for lack of both subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction. Ms. Carlton timely appealed the Final Decision.

         II. Analysis

         On appeal, Ms. Carlton argues that the OAH erred in concluding that it lacked ...


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