Paul Zachary Moss v. Shelby County Civil Service Merit Board

Case Number

The issue presented is whether a civil service merit board acts arbitrarily or capriciously
by not allowing an employee to ask questions in a termination hearing about more lenient
discipline imposed on other civil service employees. A Shelby County Fire Department
employee was fired based on his participation in an altercation involving a firearm at a
political rally and his dishonesty during the subsequent investigation. He appealed his
termination to the Shelby County Civil Service Merit Board. During the hearing, the Board
did not allow the employee’s counsel to ask questions about discipline imposed on other
Fire Department employees. The Board affirmed the employee’s termination for just cause.
The employee appealed, and the trial court affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed,
holding that the Board’s decision to exclude the questions about other discipline was
arbitrary and unreasonable, and remanded the case for consideration of such evidence.
Under the narrow standard of review provided in the Uniform Administrative Procedures
Act, we hold that the Board did not act arbitrarily or capriciously by declining to consider
evidence of discipline imposed on other employees. We reverse the Court of Appeals’
judgment and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge
Justice Sharon G. Lee
Originating Judge
Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins
Date Filed
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