Volume 4, Issue 4 University of Houston
UH lecturer sues the University for breach
By Tim Williams
With less than a week remaining before students and faculty head back to class, a returning UH political science lecturer involved in a child custody dispute seeks a federal court injunction forcing the university administration to fulfill an employment agreement extended to him in July.
Wolfgang Hirczy De Mino was offered reappointment to the UH political science department by College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Dean W. Andrew Achenbaum in a letter dated July 23. The position entailed De Mino teaching POLS 1333, 1335 and 3311 during Fall 2001 and POLS 1333, 3311 and 3313 during Spring 2002.
According to his petition filed in Harris County Civil Court on Nov. 21, De Mino first learned of his termination from Political Science Department Chair Kent Tedin on Aug. 22, the first day of classes for Fall 2001.
De Mino asserts the lack of prior notice and Achenbaum's failure to provide reason for his termination constitute a breach of contract.
"Plaintiff (De Mino) made a number of decisions in reliance upon this appointment and the income generated from it," De Mino stated in his suit filed pro se (on his own behalf).
"Defendants assert that the Plaintiff's own conduct contributed in whole, or in part to any damages suffered by the Plaintiff," Assistant Attorney General of Texas Daniel Perkins stated in UH's Dec. 5 answer to De Mino's suit.
In seeking an injunction barring UH from preventing him from teaching in the spring, De Mino cited the ongoing custody battle for his son that hinged upon his employment status, income and eligibility for dependant insurance coverage.
In an unsigned temporary restraining order set Nov. 21, a Harris County Court agreed. De Mino was temporarily reassigned to the three spring courses set for him in the July letter from Achenbaum.
But UH successfully filed for removal to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in mid-December, where the appeal for an injunction awaits decision this Friday.
Neither De Mino or Achenbaum were available for immediate comment Tuesday.
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