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JOHN HAWKINS Plaintiff
vs.
STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA; N.C.DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES; WESTERN CAROLINA CENTER IVERSON RIDDLE both individually and in his representative capacity as Director of Western Carolina Center; PHILLIP J. KIRK JR. individually and in his representative capacity as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Human Resources; EARLINE BOYD BROWN individually and in her representative capacity RHONDA BENGE individually and in her representative capacity SUZANNE WILLIAMS individually and in her capacity VICKI CASH individually and in her capacity and RALPH KEATON individually and in his capacity Defendants.


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Issues:
Drug testing, refusal, due process, policy and procedure, public employee, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
 
Case Summary:
State officials appeal a lower court's decision in a case involving a dismissed state employee. John Hawkins worked at a state treatment facility. When administrators learned that drugs were missing from the facility, they notified law enforcement authorities and launched an internal investigation. Hawkins and other center employees were asked to submit urine samples for drug analysis. Hawkins refused to participate in the test and subsequently was dismissed. Hawkins filed suit, alleging violations of federally-protected rights and state torts. State officials responded with a motion to dismiss.
 
Decision of lower jurisdiction:
A trial court rejected the defendants' motion to dismiss. State officials now appeal, alleging several errors in the court's ruling.
 
Outcome:
A split decision. The North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed aspects of the lower court's ruling, but reversed other portions. The appeals court ruled that the lower court did not error in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss and affirmed the trial court's ruling. However, the appeals court ruled that the lower court erred when it failed to dismiss certain complaints asserted by the plaintiff. The appeals court remanded the case for action on the identified errors.