Thursday, April 20, 2017
Following up on yesterday's post, Whittier Law School To Close, Will Not Admit A 1L Class This Fall: several tenured faculty have filed this lawsuit to enjoin the law school's closing:
Since 1985, the Law School has been fully accredited by the American Bar Association (the "ABA"). In 1996, the College acquired a 14-acre campus in Costa Mesa on which the Law School has operated continuously. Throughout that time, the Law School has remained a highly profitable part of the College. The Law School tuition revenues have covered all of the Law School's operating expenses, including servicing all debt on its 14-acre campus. And the lion's share of all residual Law School tuition revenues has been appropriated each year by the College-purportedly to cover overhead services allegedly provided by the College to the Law School.
Earlier this year, the College completed the sale of the Law School's 14-acre campus for a net profit of nearly $13 million. The College's representatives repeatedly assured the Law School's faculty that the proceeds of the sale would be reinvested in the Law School and used to support its future operations.
Days ago, however, a shocking tum of events took place. Judith Daar-the current Dean of the Law School-was notified that the College's Board of Trustees (the "Board") had voted (by phone) to immediately discontinue the Law School. The Board asked Dean Daar immediately to schedule meetings at the Law School in order for the College to notify the Law School community, including current students and staff. Dean Daar asked the Board to reconsider, or at least slow the process. The Board reaffirmed its decision. A public announcement at the Law School was scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, April 19.
This lawsuit is brought by tenured faculty of the Law School (the "Professors" or "Faculty") against the College and its Board to enjoin the unlawful discontinuance of the Law School, and corresponding termination of all Faculty. As discussed below, the proposed discontinuation of the Law School violates both the substantive and procedural protections of the Faculty's employment contracts with the College. And an injunction is warranted because there is no adequate remedy at law.
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