Yale’s Motion to Dismiss the Yale Law School DinnerPartyGate Lawsuit

This is a portion of my November article on the Complaint. It’s not the entire story, but it does give an overview of what I was writing.

[1.] Two Yale Law School deans, along with Yale Law School’s Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, worked together in an attempt to blackball two students of color from job opportunities as retaliation for refusing to lie to support the University’s investigation into a professor of color.

[2.] Gerken, Yale Law School’s Dean, and Cosgrove, the Associate Dean, approached an esteemed law professor and expert in constitutional law, and discouraged the professor—who already employed Jane and John as long-term research assistants—from hiring Jane and John as so-called “Coker Fellows,” prestigious teaching assistant positions that often lead to federal clerkships and other lucrative career opportunities.

[3.] Defendants Gerken and Cosgrove approached the professor as retaliation for Plaintiffs Jane and John’s reporting a harassing and defamatory report (the “Dossier”), which was compiled and circulated by another law student and related to Plaintiffs’ private interactions with a high-profile Yale Law School Professor, Amy Chua ….

[4.]Jane and John became embroiled in a feud over campus politics between Gerkens and Chua because of the Dossier.

[5.]Plaintiffs filed the Dossier at the University. Defendants Cosgrove, Eldik and Jane pressured John and Jane to submit knowingly false and materially misleading statements in a formal complaint.

[6.]Plaintiffs refused to comply, Gerken & Cosgrove then spoke to the professor to tell him that John and Jane were “lacking candor” and that the university should not employ them. This was despite Plaintiffs stubborn refusal to lie for the sake of the University’s cause against Chua.

[7.] Not only did Gerken and Cosgrove harm Plaintiffs by knowingly circulating a document full of lies to Plaintiffs’ employer and professor, but they also violated the University’s Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment (the “Handbook”)—by its own terms a binding contract on all members of Yale’s community—whereby the administration is explicitly prohibited from retaliating against students who report a concern, file a complaint, and/or participate in an investigation….

You can also view the Second Amended Complaint. In the current case, The Motion to Dismiss Stubbs Gerken) has just been filed, so I thought I’d quote its summary of argument—you can of course read the full motion for more:

Yale Anti-Retaliation Policy, upon which Plaintiffs rely for their breach of contract claims [and their promissory estoppel claim] was not yet even in effect when Plaintiffs allege they were retaliated against, and in any event the policy prohibits retaliation based on complaints of discrimination or harassment related to protected characteristics (such as race or gender), not on any conceivable sort of alleged retaliation….

Their tortious interference claim fails because they do not allege any specific business relationships they had with professors or judges—except for their relationship with the Professor, and as to him, they do not allege that he did not extend teaching assistant offers to them.

The defamation claim against Gerken and Cosgrove fails because Plaintiffs allege  statements of opinion, and their defamation claim relating to Bell’s statements likewise relies on opinion statements—and opinions offered by a professor not alleged to have been part of the school’s administration or in any other way acting in furtherance of her employer when she commented as a law professor on a lawsuit.

Because Plaintiffs have failed to allege false light or unreasonable publicity, they are not able to claim that defendants ever made the document public. They admit it attracted substantial public attention.

Finality: The IIED claim falls apart because it is not based on extreme, outrageous conduct that has caused severe emotional distress.