An Emerging Legal Trend: Professors Suing Their Students?
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 12:44 PM - By Kashmir Hill
Richard Peltz teaches torts and con law at the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Within Arkansas, he is a well-known expert on freedom of speech, cited by the Arkansas Supreme Court. In 2005, he exercised his freedom of speech while talking about affirmative action during a con law lecture. From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
In that class, Peltz displayed a satirical article about the death of Rosa Parks and made comments about friends who weren’t admitted to law school because of affirmative action, according to a letter students wrote about a year and a half later to law school Dean Chuck Goldner. The students also said Peltz promised to give black students who scored as high as white students an extra point on the final exam.
Apparently, the satirical article was Now We Can Finally Put Civil Rights Behind Us, from the Onion.
Though the issue was resolved in 2005, the allegations of racism reemerged in 2007, during a controversy over there being no black students on the Law Review. (The admissions website says the school has 440 students, and that 30% of the 2007 entering class was "of color.")
From this description, it sounds like there's a race war brewing at the UALR's Law School. And Professor Peltz just put himself in the middle of it, suing his black students and Arkansas's black law association for defamation:
In a nine-page lawsuit filed last week, he complains that the defendants, students Valerie D. Nation of Little Rock and Chrishuana L. Clark of Pine Bluff, who are officers or former officers with the university’s Black Law Student Association, and attorney Eric Spencer Buchanan, president of the W. Harold Flowers Law Society, have been making false accusations against him around the law school and statewide legal community since the fall of 2005. In the lawsuit, he asks for unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.
Ironically, if Peltz's suit is successful, it may limit speech on campus, says Jonathan Knight, director of programs on academic freedom and tenure at the American Association of University Professors in Washington, in the Gazette.
Getting sued by your law professor? Worst. Homework. Ever.http://abovethelaw.com/2008/04/lawsuit_of_the_day_law_prof_su.php