Blantz v. Cal. Dep’t of Corr. & Rehab.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: 08-15-2013
  • Case #: 11-56525
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Fisher for the Court; Circuit Judges Thomas and Silverman
  • Full Text Opinion

A performance review procedure does not create a protected property interest for a state agency’s independent contractors.

Christine Blantz contracted with Newport Oncology and Healthcare, Inc. (“NOAH”) as a nurse practitioner to work for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”). The CDCR and NOAH contract to refer healthcare professionals to the CDCR to work in CDCR-owned medical facilities throughout California. Blantz worked for the CDCR from July 2006 to December 2007, at which time she was fired after her performance received a negative assessment based on an audit of her patient charts. Blantz applied to work elsewhere within the CDCR, but was denied a position due to negative recommendations from her previous work. Blantz argued that she was denied property and liberty without due process when she lost her job and then was unable to obtain another position within the CDCR. The district court dismissed Blantz’s case, and Blantz appealed. Blantz based her claims on the documentation she received during her orientation with the CDCR, arguing that she had a constitutionally protected property interest in her independent contractor position with the CDCR. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, nothing that Blantz was an independent contractor, not an employee, and her contract with NOAH did not create an entitlement to her position. The panel held that a state agency “does not create constitutionally protected property interests for its independent contractors simply by instituting performance review procedures.” Further, Blantz had not alleged that she was unable to find work as a nurse, only that the CDCR would not hire her, which the panel held was insufficient to trigger the due process protections of the Fourteenth Amendment. The panel also held that the district court properly dismissed Blantz’s entire lawsuit against the Chief Medical Officer for the Receiver of the state prison medical care system because Blantz’s allegations were “conclusory and implausible on their face.”AFFIRMED.

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