Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


U. of California to Pay Surgeon $10-Million in Whistle-Blower Case

The University of California has agreed to pay $10-million to a former chairman of orthopedic surgery at the University of California at Los Angeles to settle a case of alleged retaliation against a whistle-blower, the Los Angeles Times reported. The surgeon, Robert Pedowitz, had alleged that UCLA’s medical school allowed doctors to take industry payments that may have compromised patient care.

In a lawsuit that named UCLA, the university system’s regents, and others as defendants, Dr. Pedowitz …


Supreme Court Upholds Michigan’s Ban on Race-Conscious Admissions

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Michigan’s voter-approved ban on racial preferences in college admissions, reversing an appeals court’s 2012 decision that found the ban to be unconstitutional.

Tuesday’s decision in the case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (No. 12-682), concerned a dispute over a ballot measure called Proposal 2, which voters passed in 2006 and which barred the use of race-conscious college admissions by the state’s public colleges.

A divided federal …


Virginia Supreme Court Rules for UVa and Climate Scientist in Records Suit

The Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a conservative group’s attempt to obtain the records of a climate scientist and former professor at the University of Virginia, the Associated Press reported.

The case focused on whether the state’s open-records law exempted a range of documents deemed by the university to be proprietary. The American Tradition Institute, a conservative advocacy group, had sought records of Michael E. Mann, a former Virginia professor who now directs Pennsylvania…


Medical-Device Maker Will Pay Pitt $35-Million to Settle Patent Lawsuit

The medical-device maker Varian Medical Systems Inc. will pay the University of Pittsburgh $35-million to settle a patent-infringement lawsuit that dates to 2007, the company announced on Thursday.

The company said it had previously arranged a settlement with the university that was dependent on a ruling handed down on Thursday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Reuters reported that a jury first awarded the university $37-million, and that amount was later increased to more t…


Arbitrator: Minnesota State-Mankato Should Reinstate Coach It Fired

An arbitrator has ruled that Minnesota State University at Mankato should reinstate the head football coach it fired last May because the university had no grounds for dismissing him, The Free Press, a local newspaper, reported.

The coach, Todd Hoffner, had been removed from coaching duties in August 2012 after videos of his naked children were found on a university-issued cellphone. Prosecutors charged Mr. Hoffner with creating child pornography, but in November 2012 a judge dismissed th…


Penn State Is Ordered Into Lawsuit Over Its $60-Million NCAA Fine

A Pennsylvania court on Wednesday ordered Pennsylvania State University to join a state legislator’s lawsuit over the $60-million fine that the NCAA levied against the university after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, according to The Patriot-News and the Centre Daily Times.

The university had not previously been a party to the lawsuit, which was filed by Sen. Jake Corman, a Republican, who represents State College, Pa., and Robert M. McCord, the state treasurer. They objected to letting the NCAA dec…


Former Employee at U. of Northern Iowa Settles Lawsuit for $125,000

Iowa has agreed to pay $125,000 to a former University of Northern Iowa employee who asserted that treatment in her workplace had caused her severe emotional distress, the Associated Press reported.

Dianne Bascom, a 59-year-old account clerk for the university’s fund-raising arm, last year sued the university and the state, alleging harassment by superiors that caused such distress that she began suffering migraines and mental-health problems, and attempted suicide in November 2010.

The attempt…


Judge Orders University to Promote Professor Who Won Anti-Bias Lawsuit

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to promote Michael S. Adams, an associate professor of criminology who recently won an anti-bias lawsuit against the university over its decision to deny him a promotion to full professor.

Mr. Adams had accused the university of improperly denying him the promotion based on his writings and religious views. A federal appeals court in 2011 overturned a lower court’s decision to dismiss his lawsuit, and a jury ruled …


Va. Community Colleges Suspend Campus Speech Policy After Lawsuit

The Virginia Community College System has agreed to suspend a policy governing campus demonstrations after a student said he was improperly barred from preaching on a campus, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Christian Parks, a student at Thomas Nelson Community College, last month filed a lawsuit alleging that the policy violated his rights to free speech and religious expression. The policy said that only recognized organizations could sponsor demonstrations on designated areas of college property…


Mass. Accuses Corinthian Colleges of Misleading Students to Increase Profits

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts on Thursday sued Corinthian Colleges Inc., accusing the for-profit higher-education company of misrepresenting job-placement rates and using deceptive marketing practices to increase its enrollments and profits, The Boston Globe reported.

“We allege that this for-profit school aggressively recruited and misled students by falsely promising high-quality, successful training programs, and instead left them with exorbitant student-loan debt and without proper tra…