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Messy Professor Loses Appeal In Fifth Circuit

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - A messy room is nothing compared to a messy chemistry lab. The 5th Circuit affirmed dismissal of most of the claims of a tenured professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio who lost his job for refusing to clean up his dangerously disorganized lab.

UTSA officials called Dr. Philip Stotter's lab an "extreme fire hazard" cluttered with paper, trash, boxes and unidentified chemicals. Stotter promised to clean it, but kept putting it off until university officials decided to do it for him.

In his effort to stop them, Stotter "caused such a disturbance that USTA police handcuffed him, took him to his car and advised him to leave the premises," the ruling states. He claimed the university threw out his personal belongings with the trash.

He filed a lawsuit against UTSA the same day he was fired "for good cause." The circuit affirmed dismissal of most of his claims, but said he could pursue his claim that the university provost violated his procedural due process rights by tossing his personal property. See ruling.

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