Firm Prevails on Summary Judgment in Defamation Case Against University

On May 16, 2017, the Firm notched a significant win for one of its New Jersey higher education clients. After nearly five years of litigation, and just three weeks before trial, the U.S. District Court granted the university Defendants’ otion for summary judgment in its entirety, dismissing a case brought against the university and a full-time tenured faculty member. The dispute arose after the tenured faculty member learned that Plaintiff, an adjunct faculty member, had misappropriated, in violation of the governing collective bargaining agreement, her intellectual property, specifically a detailed syllabus for a graduate course she had created. The tenured faculty member circulated a few emails to a small group of individuals at the university regarding Plaintiff’s misappropriation that Plaintiff claimed were defamatory. Plaintiff was disciplined for his misappropriation and a grievance and arbitration followed. After settling the grievance, Plaintiff filed suit alleging claims for libel, fraud and equitable fraud, and breach of contract.