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May 10, 2007

Googling is not an Ex Parte Communication in a Termination Proceeding

David Mullins was removed from employment with the NOAA Weather Forecast Office in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The charges involved misuse of a government vehicle and falsification of travel receipts.  He appealed his dismissal on the basis that the official who had deciding authority on his fate Googled his name and discovered that he had been dismissed from federal service with the Air Force in 1996 and the Smithsonian in 1997.  This, Mullins claims, is an ex parte communications that denied him due process rights.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said no, there was ample evidence for his dismissal which the Court detailed in its opinion.  Aside from that, Googling a name is not a communication as we know it.

The case is Mullins v. Department of Commerce, 06-3284 (C.A. Fed Circuit, May 4, 2007).

May 10, 2007 | Permalink

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