United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
Jennifer B. Campbell, Appellee
District of Columbia, A Municipal Corporation, Appellant Wayne Turnage, In his official capacity as Director, District of Columbia Department of Health Care Finance, Appellee
September 22, 2017
from the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia (No. 1:12-cv-01769)
Holly M. Johnson, Assistant Attorney General, Office
of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, argued
the cause for appellant. With her on the briefs were Karl
A. Racine, Attorney General, Todd S. Kim,
Solicitor General, and Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy
David C. Codell argued the cause for appellee. On
the brief were Alan Lescht and Sara N.
McDonough. Rani V. Rolston and Susan L.
Kruger entered appearances.
Before: Griffith and Pillard, Circuit Judges, and Edwards,
Senior Circuit Judge.
GRIFFITH, CIRCUIT JUDGE
Campbell worked as a healthcare executive for the District of
Columbia until she was fired based on accusations that she
had improperly influenced the bidding process for the
District's healthcare contracts. Campbell sued the
District, alleging it had violated her Fifth Amendment
due-process rights by leaking these accusations to the press
and denying her an opportunity to refute them. A jury
returned a verdict for Campbell on one of her due-process
claims, and the district court refused to set it aside. The
District appeals that decision, but we affirm the judgment of
the district court.
2010, the District's Department of Health Care Finance
("Department") formed the Health Care Reform and
Innovation Administration ("Administration") to
establish the health-insurance exchange the District decided
to create in response to the enactment of the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Administration
divided this project into a planning phase and an
implementation phase. Through a competitive bidding process,
the Administration selected contractors to carry out the work
of each phase. The contract for planning was worth
approximately $1M. The contract for implementing those plans
was worth almost $75M.
2011, Jennifer Campbell became the director of the
Administration, and in 2012, she was promoted to chief
operating officer for the entire Department. She had worked
at the Department since 2008, and prior to that she had held
several high-level positions in the healthcare industry.
2012, the owner of the company that won the contract for the
planning phase, Compass Solutions, contacted a former
Department employee and reported that Campbell was steering
contracts to certain contractors in violation of normal
bidding procedures. This information was relayed to
Department director Wayne Turnage around June 2, though the
record is unclear on the precise date. Turnage spoke with the
owner of Compass Solutions, who offered "a litany of
allegations" against Campbell supported by emails and
text messages. The owner also recommended Turnage speak with
CGI Technologies and Solutions ("CGI"), a company
that had withdrawn from bidding for the implementation
contract. Turnage did and heard from a CGI executive that
Campbell had contacted CGI, unsolicited, and urged the
company to partner its bid with a politically connected
contractor named Darryl Wiggins. The executive said she had
"never been approached that way by a government entity
involved in procurement." After seeking the advice of
its general counsel, CGI decided to "forgo any business
with the District."
3, 2012, Turnage emailed his chief of staff and the
Mayor's office to inform them of the allegations against
Campbell and his plan to investigate. Turnage also told the
director of human resources that he planned to place Campbell
on administrative leave and would most likely fire her. The
following day, the Department's human resources office
put Campbell on administrative leave but refused to answer
her questions about the specific allegations lodged against
her. Later that day, Campbell emailed Turnage's chief of
staff and asked for an "opportunity to defend [her]
professional reputation and more importantly [her]
integrity." But Campbell never received an opportunity
to refute the allegations.
June 7, the Mayor's staff allowed a reporter from the
Washington City Paper to review Turnage's emails
relating to the investigation. When the reporter informed
Turnage a few days later that he had the relevant emails
about Campbell, Turnage sent him several emails to provide
additional background on the investigation.
following morning, the Washington City Paper
published a story under the headline "Health Care
Finance COO Fired over Contract Steering Allegations."
The article described the allegations against Campbell,
relying in large measure on Turnage's emails. Reading the
article was the first time Campbell learned the specific
allegations against her. She was terminated later that day.
Turnage then shared the emails with the Washington