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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Law Prof Who Sued Dean For Assault Loses Round 2

Ohio Northern LogoFollowing up on my previous posts (links below):, Law Prof Who Sued Dean for Assault Loses Round 2:

A law professor at Northern Ohio Petit School of Law who claims he was assaulted in 2012 by the school’s former interim dean has lost his second round in court.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit last week upheld a lower court decision dismissing plaintiff Scott Gerber’s lawsuit against colleague Stephen Veltri.

Gerber claimed that Veltri, who was then interim dean of the Ada, Ohio, law school, grabbed and squeezed his shoulder during a campus encounter five years ago, causing lasting physical damage. He sued Veltri in 2014 alleging assault and battery.

Following a five-day bench trial last August, Federal District Court Judge Jack Zouhary ruled that Veltri did not assault Gerber. Moreover, Zouhary noted that the evidence showed Gerber had long had a tense relationship with fellow faculty members including Veltri, with whom he had previously clashed over teaching assignments and other matters.

Veltri testified in court that he put his hands on Gerber’s shoulder that day in an attempt to guide him into the faculty lounge to discuss an earlier altercation Gerber had with a law librarian, and that he did not intend to harm or scare Gerber.

Gerber appealed the ruling, claiming that Zouhary erred in not granting his request for a continuance after his attorney withdrew from the case. Gerber also claimed that Zouhary should have recused himself from the case due to bias against him, and that the judge’s ruling was in error. The appeals court rejected each of those arguments in its August 17 decision.

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