Low grade dispute
By Caitlin Tremblay
Why just complain about a bad grade when filing a $1.3
million lawsuit is an option? Student Megan Thode has sued
Lehigh University in Pennsylvania for a C+ she got in a class,
claiming breach of contract. The civil trial began Monday before
Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano, according to The Morning Call.
Thode claims that the C+ ruined her dream of becoming a
state-certified counsel or and was part of an effort to force her
to leave the degree program. The school and its attorneys say
the suit is unfounded.
For Thode to continue to the next course of field work, she
needed a B. Instead, Thode says she earned a C+ because her
professor gave her a zero in classroom participation. She claims
he was unhappy with her after she and three other students
complained about being forced to find other internships halfway
through the semester. She also says her teacher was biased
against her for advocating for LGBT rights.
The school says Thode showed unprofessional behavior in
class, used foul language and had an outburst which ended in her
The school's attorneys said that if the judge changed
Thode's grade, he might be the first court in history to do so.
Giordano's thoughts on the case so far? "I've practiced law for
longer than I'd like to (admit), and I've never seen something
like this," he said.
Right man for the job?
By Anna Louie Sussman
In his quest for bipartisanship, President Barack Obama has
appointed a "puzzling" figure to the voting commission he
announced in his State of the Union address Tuesday night,
writes Ari Berman in the left-leaning magazine The Nation.
Benjamin Ginsberg, a senior Republican lawyer who served as
national counsel for both of the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney
campaigns, as well for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential run, will
co-chair the voting commission with Bob Bauer, a senior attorney
from Obama's campaign.
Berman notes that Ginsberg led the vote recall effort for
George W. Bush in 2000. Four years later, he was forced to
resign from the Bush campaign because of his role advising the
Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, the political group
criticized for misrepresenting the military service of rival
candidate John Kerry. In 2006, Ginsberg was clear about his
party's position on voting rights when he spoke to an audience
at Duke Law School. "Just like really with the Voting Rights
Act, Republicans have some fundamental philosophical
difficulties with the whole notion of Equal Protection," he
"In 2012, (Ginsberg) was counsel to the Romney campaign when
it absurdly claimed that the Obama campaign was trying to
suppress military voters by pushing for early voting for all
Ohioans," Berman writes. "Does that sound like the kind of guy
you want leading a 'non-partisan' voting commission?"
By Anna Louie Sussman
Lying about one's weight on a dating profile won't land
anyone in court, but lies about marital status or having
children can impact divorce or custody cases, the American
Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports.
In a new survey, 59 percent of divorce attorneys report
seeing an increase in online dating profile information being
used as evidence in court. The most common evidentiary item was
"relationship status" and a primary source of some 64 percent of
respondents was Match.com.
"Dating website users can often face temptation to embellish
some personal information on profiles, but this lack of honesty
could prove costly for someone in the middle of a divorce or
child custody case," said Alton Abramowitz, president of the
1600-member academy. "Identifying yourself as single when you
are not, or listing that you have no children when you are
actually a parent, can represent some key pieces of evidence
against you during the divorce process."
By Anna Louie Sussman
Legal jobs might be scarce in many parts of the country, but
rural South Dakota is so hungry for lawyers that state lawmakers
have introduced a bill offering financial incentives to any who
set up practice in certain underserved areas, the Rapid City Journal reports.
The problem seems to be that young lawyers in particular
fear they'll miss out on the salaries and mentorship that come
from practicing in a bigger city. The bill, if passed, would
create a four-year pilot program to reimburse recent law school
grads the cost of tuition and to offer financial incentives for
practicing attorneys who agree to work in rural areas.
The costs of the program would be divided between the state
and the participating counties.
The shortage of lawyers means some counties are wholly
lawyerless and rely on attorneys from other counties, who
commute on a regular basis. In criminal cases with
court-appointed defense, the prohibitive costs and distance of
travel make it hard for lawyers to see their clients before
"We have enough attorneys in this state, but they're all
condensed into basically four counties," South Dakota Supreme
Court Justice David Gilbertson said.
The state's Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-0 to send the
bill to the appropriations committee, although a hearing is not
By Ted Botha
As the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to allow
colleges to take race into account in their admissions policies,
Brazil has made affirmative action the centerpiece of a new
education law, says the Christian Science Monitor.
Brazil's new Law of Social Quotas, which received near
unanimous support from lawmakers in August, states that public
universities must reserve half of their spots for
underprivileged students. The system has been in experimental
stages at some of the country's universities for the past decade
and will be phased in over the next four years.
"With its new law, Brazil has gone the furthest in the
Americas in attempting race-based equality," says the Monitor.
"Not only is the law a state-mandated program, it also attempts
to open up the traditional bastions of the elite to all."
Public universities in Brazil are free and are among the
best schools in the country, but they are often filled with
middle- and upper-class families who could afford tuition at
private elementary and secondary schools that prepare their
children for college, according to the paper. Meanwhile,
students from public high schools usually have to attend
private, often inferior, universities.
The impact of the law will be widest on Afro-Brazilians, who
make up more than half the nation's population.
"Brazil wants its leadership to truly reflect its
constituents," says Tanya Hernandez, a professor at Fordham
University School of Law in New York. "(Brazil believes) the way
to have full democracy is to have everyone included, and
Summary Judgments for February 12
Summary Judgments for February 11
Summary Judgments for February 8
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