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

Monday, December 22, 2014

D.C. Circuit Revives Law Prof's Discrimination Claim Over Tenure Denial

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Blog of the Legal Times, D.C. Circuit Revives Ex-UDC Law Prof’s Discrimination Case:

BrownA former professor at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law can proceed with a lawsuit accusing school officials of denying her tenure because of her race and gender, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled on Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit partially revived claims filed by Stephanie Brown, who was fired from the law school in May 2012 after she was denied tenure. Reversing the federal district judge who dismissed Brown’s case, a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel found Brown, who is black, presented enough of a nexus between her race and gender and her nonpromotion to survive at this stage of the litigation. [Brown v. Sessoms, No. 13-7027 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 19, 2014)]

Brown worked for more than two decades at the law school, according to court filings. In 2009, when she was an associate professor of law, she applied for tenure. Broderick expressed concerns that Brown hadn't produced enough legal scholarship, but ultimately approved the application after learning a law journal was about to publish one of Brown’s article. ...

Brown accused the school of discriminating against her based on her race and gender. She argued that the school granted tenure around the time she applied to a white male professor, William McClain, who had a similar scholarship record as she did. ...

“Drawing all inferences in her favor, we believe that Brown’s complaint sufficiently makes out that she and McLain had similar records with regard to teaching and service. Because both also failed to meet the publication requirement, their tenure applications appear, from the complaint, to be on comparable footing. The fact that McLain won tenure and Brown did not allows us ‘to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2014/12/dc-circuit-revives-.html

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